Featuring a different guest star every night — Gloria Steinem was the opening night celebrity — the performance is billed as Moore’s attempt to “bring down” U.S. President Donald Trump. Running for 12 weeks at New York City’s Belasco Theatre, Moore’s aim is to get under Trump’s “very thin skin.”
In another dig at Trump, Moore is saving the presidential box at the Belasco for him every single night of the show’s run, in the hopes that he might eventually take in a performance.
“It will sit empty until he sits there,” joked Moore, 63. “I hope he comes to see it, or his family. Or Mike Pence. We won’t boo him!” (Moore is referencing vice-president Mike Pence, who took in a performance of hit musical Hamilton, only to be roundly booed by the audience.
Unfortunately for Moore, nearly all critics who saw the show had a negative takeaway, and that’s putting it lightly. One reviewer called it a “well-meaning misfire,” and another said it’s like “a live version of my Facebook feed.” Here’s a collection of some of the latest reviews.
From The New York Times:
“You don’t have to disagree with Mr. Moore’s politics to find that his shtick has become disagreeable with age. The Terms of My Surrender is a bit like being stuck at Thanksgiving dinner with a garrulous, self-regarding, time-sucking uncle. Gotta love him — but maybe let’s turn on the television.”
“The Terms of My Surrender is heartfelt and represents the thinking and ideology of a crucial voice of dissent and opposition at a time direly in need of such voices. But it’s a lazy show that severely underestimates its audience. Preaching to the choir is one thing; pandering to it is of a somewhat lower order.”
From Los Angeles Times:
“The Terms of My Surrender makes vain gestures in the direction of a variety show… but Moore isn’t the secret vaudevillian no one ever suspected him of being. His comedy (he does a bit on the outlandish items the TSA forbids in carry-on luggage) is as galumphing as his cursory musical interludes.”
“Moore promises ‘for 87 minutes, you’re going to experience something you’re not expecting’ (the show runs 110 minutes, by the way), but my feelings upon leaving the Belasco Theatre can best be summed up with a long sigh. If I had had to make a guess as to what a Michael Moore Broadway show would feel like, this would have been pretty much it. The Terms of My Surrender feels like a live version of my Facebook feed: a few good stories and a boatload of preaching to the choir (add requisite helpings of self-congratulation and liberal-on-liberal shaming for full effect).”
From The Washington Post:
“Offering up as a model his history as a provocateur, Moore implores us to get off our duffs and drive Trump nuts. ‘We have to be a swarm of bees around his head,’ he declares at one point. Besides showing us an app that can automatically dial your representatives in Congress for you, The Terms of My Surrender doesn’t have much of a game plan. That goes as much for its theatrical goals as its political ones.”