Danny And the Deep Blue Sea (2023 – 2024) – Play Review and Summary

Danny And the Deep Blue Sea Starring Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott

Aubrey Plaza’s brand of bizarre comes to New York City, and like the majority of her roles, there is complexity beyond the madness.

General Information

This section includes information about the production, cast, staff, venue, and crew.

Director(s) Jeff Ward
Writer(s) John Patrick Shanley
Organizer(s) Lucille Lortel Theatre
Language English
Attendance Type In Person
Event Status On Schedule
Venue or Network (Lucille Lortel Theatre) 121 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014
Performance Date October 31, 2013
First Performance At This Venue October 30, 2023
Opening Night Performance October 30, 2023
Last Performance At This Venue January 7, 2024
Venue URL https://www.dannyandthedeepbluesea.com/
Tickets Starting At $107.00
Genre(s) Play



Duration 1 hour 20 minutes
Noted Performers
Roberta Aubrey Plaza
Dammy Christopher Abbott
Scene/ Set Design Scott Pask
Costume Design Arianne Phillips
Lighting Design John Torres
Sound Design Kate Marvin
Choreography Bobbi Jene Smith, Or Schraiber


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Both Danny and Roberta have some intense trauma. You could even say they likely have arrested Development because of what they have gone through. But, in an empty bar, they find one another.

Danny, who fights so much that his nickname at work is “The Beast,” can’t help himself. If he is looked at funny, he has to lash out, and he is so volatile you wonder if he has bipolar disorder, anxiety, or another one of many psychological disorders. As for Roberta? She isn’t necessarily all there, either. Decisions make her feel like she should be punished, yet she also wants salvation.

So, with Danny, even if for one night, she aims for them both, despite their mixed-up heads and all the issues they have, to experience something normal. A night that is more than a hookup, but having someone talk nice to them, stick by them despite having an episode, and truly love them as it seems most aren’t willing or capable of.

Content Information

  • Dialog: Cursing throughout and use of derogatory terms against homosexuals
  • Violence: choking and smacking
  • Sexual Content: sexual situations with simulated sex and partial nudity from Plaza when she changes clothes
  • Miscellaneous: smoking and drinking

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.


31, divorced, unemployed, a mother to a 13-year-old son, and miserable, Roberta is at the end of her rope. She feels screwed up, undesirable, and angry at the world.


29, potentially bipolar, and always ready to fight, it isn’t 100% clear what is wrong with Danny. There is no mention of the usual triggers, like abuse or something like that, but it is clear the path Danny is on will lead to him either going to prison or death.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Sanctuary.”


Our Rating: Positive (See Live)

Notable Performances or Moments

It’s So Awkward And Bizarre It Feels Authentic

Danny and Roberta are next-level toxic. They have mental issues due to things they’ve done or that happened to them. They both aren’t the best at interacting with people since they have a penchant for pushing people away when emotions get intense, out of their control, or they aren’t feeling an almost manic bliss.

We see that when Roberta pushes Danny to open up the wound, and he responds by choking her. Just as much as Roberta lashes out, she uses Danny’s vulnerability to twist the knife when challenged.

Undeniably, together, these two are toxic, but they are also on each other’s level and understand and accept the other person’s trauma. With that, you see two people, him 29 and her 31, who are stunted. Both clearly want a redo of life, starting from their childhood, and want someone to say nice things to them, touch them with some form of gentleness, and love them in a way that can have them unlearn the notion they are hard to love.

Truly, as hot and cold as they are to one another, there is a beauty in the madness.


An Equal Pairing

Admittedly, I paid to see Plaza as a fan of her work, especially after Yhara Zayd broke down her career, up until “The White Lotus.”

However, I’d submit, like most actors, Plaza is only as good as her partner, and if they are game, they enhance and help her rein in the madness. In the case of Abbott, playing this wild, violent, and broken puppy, you can see, even if in the terrible mezzanine seats, this trust that he is willing to go there, and she doesn’t have to hold back. With that, it makes moments when she slaps him, and he chokes her, as notable as when they share a moment when she asks to hear nice things about herself, or he wants the same high the morning after, as she begins to rescind everything she said.

It’s the kind of tug-of-war you’d want and desire from a two-person play. The kind where neither party is carrying the other but, like the dance sequence mentioned below, there is almost an unfathomable lean on one another that sometimes seems unnatural, but because there is trust, the unfathomable and unnatural becomes delicate, beautiful, and even desirable.


Lack Of Sound Insolation In Theater

With the play taking place in the Bronx and the theater on a very active part of Christopher Street, it was hard to say if the conversations, sirens, and other noises heard throughout were part of the show or were from something happening next door or outside. At times, it was distracting and took away from the performances, yet one could submit the same distractions Danny and Roberta were experiencing is what any New Yorker would. So, maybe it was just a means of “making New York a character” versus a theater that needs to be updated to handle the chaos of its neighbors and community.

On The Fence

The Awkward Dance Sequences

Considering how intense things get, I can only fathom that’s why we get one well-choreographed dance sequence and another odd, quiet moment from Plaza as she looks in the mirror.

Now, one could submit the dance was the push and pull of their energies, their desire and willingness to trust, and even if before they truly open up to each other in meaningful ways, it summarizes the play as a whole.

Then, with Plaza’s boudoir scene, maybe that was her taking a real look at herself. She got her fantasy and is now facing her reality and wrestling with it in the mirror? Both moments are open for interpretation, and either can be weird cool-down periods after intense and emotional conversations or utter strangeness.

Who Is This For?

Those who love seeing weird and intense people fall in love and deal with their trauma through allowing themselves to be seen and cared for and even allow someone to understand them.


If you like this, we recommend:

  1. Malcolm & Marie

Check out our Live Performance page for our latest reviews and recommendations.

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Danny And the Deep Blue Sea (2023 - 2024) – Overview


Call me a certified Aubrey Plaza fan. Yes, she has this strange persona that oozes into characters, but I’d submit she is a pedestal-worthy actress, likely to be compared for generations.

  • It's So Awkward And Bizarre It Feels Authentic - 88%
  • An Equal Pairing - 86%
  • Lack Of Sound Insolation In Theater - 66%
  • The Awkward Dance Sequences - 79%
User Review
0 (0 votes)


  • An Equal Pairing
  • It’s So Awkward And Bizarre It Feels Authentic


  • The Awkward Dance Sequences
  • Lack Of Sound Insolation In Theater

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