Choir Boy (Broadway)
Choir Boy (Broadway)
84

Choir Boy (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

84%
(428 Reviews)
Positive
93%
Mixed
6%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great singing, Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Entertaining

About the Show

After staging its US debut in 2015, Manhattan Theater Club brings Oscar-winning writer Tarell Alvin McCraney's ('Moonlight') music-filled drama, about a gifted member of a school's gospel choir, to Broadway.

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Member Reviews (428)

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912 Reviews | 378 Followers
91
Relevant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing, Resonant

See it if You want to expand your heart understanding of just some of the challenges that young gay black men face. Beautifully written/acted/sung.

Don't see it if You’re homophobic or racist. You should, but don’t bother, you won’t get it.

739 Reviews | 208 Followers
82
Relevant, Absorbing, Great singing, Great staging, Entertaining

See it if you'd enjoy a good story of fitting in by young men with different backgrounds trying to make it in school and in the choir.

Don't see it if you have no interest in real life challenges and struggles or do not like brilliant pauses in the action that make you dwell on issues.

699 Reviews | 214 Followers
85
Absorbing, Poignant, Disturbing, Sexual coming-of-age, Great singing

See it if Wrenching boarding school coming-of-age story. A flamboyantly gay student makes life hard for the others. Spiritual, moving acapella songs.

Don't see it if You aren’t up for confused, angry teenage characters dealing w/ school pressures & sexual discomfort. Frequent rear male nudity.

670 Reviews | 149 Followers
87
Ambitious, Clever, Great singing, Thought-provoking, Warm-hearted

See it if you enjoy coming of age stories, problems gay guys encounter in a black private school, great a capella choir routines, resilient heroes

Don't see it if you're not a fan of gay stories set in high school milieu or into male choir singing, somewhat predictable plot line, bullying plot lines

687 Reviews | 113 Followers
82
Absorbing, Cliched, Great acting, Great singing, Relevant

See it if McCraney's gay youth in homophobic world succeeds more in style, atmosphere & sharp writing than any new insights Pope's fierce lead shines

Don't see it if Dazzling musical interludes can take us out of dramatic action to its detriment Some characters cliched but well played Rises/falls on Pope

605 Reviews | 267 Followers
79
Dramatic confrontation in black boys' prep school of gay behavior vs. schoolboy prejudices & institutional rules; combined w joyful singing and dancing

See it if sociologically precise depiction of dynamics in school; extraordinary a cappella singing & rhythmic dancing; strong affecting cast

Don't see it if no special insight into issues w gay behavior w/i black culture; cliche ridden; by end play just peters out

470 Reviews | 713 Followers
90
Great singing, Great writing, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you’re interested in shows that explore what it means to be the “other,” LGBTQ themes, school dramas, or great a capella singing.

Don't see it if you’re in the mood for something cheerful and uplifting.

532 Reviews | 488 Followers
90
Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Compelling

See it if you want to see an incredibly powerful, moving show about the lessons we, on purpose and inadvertently, teach kids who are "different."

Don't see it if n/a. Everyone should see this. It's exceptional.

Critic Reviews (57)

The New York Times
January 8th, 2019

"When ‘Choir Boy’ sticks to that idea, focusing on Pharus’s discovery, through exuberant music, of the brawn inside his perceived weakness, it is captivating and fresh. The portrait of his adversaries — choral and otherwise — is less so...A production, that is far more powerful than its flaws might indicate. It is especially successful in suggesting how a victim of prejudice, blamed as the source of the problem instead of those who victimize him, may eventually come to see himself that way."
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Time Out New York
January 8th, 2019

“In McCraney’s absorbing drama...the superb Pope plays Pharus...For Pharus, music is both an escape route and a destination unto itself, and ‘Choir Boy’ is suffused with it...The choir performs gorgeous musical numbers...Most are traditional Negro spirituals, and they feel transcendent...The rest of ‘Choir Boy’ is not always up to their level...The ending has been revised...But many of the changes are not improvements...At its best, the play is specific, lyrical and touching."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
January 8th, 2019

“Cullman has a buoyant feel for the play’s comedy and...gives ‘Choir Boy’s’ songs the front-and-center treatment they deserve. The play is an undercover, and gorgeous, a cappella musical, kept aloft by the extraordinary vocal talents of its cast...McCraney’s scenes don’t always boil with the same urgency...But if the play sometimes wobbles a bit in its forward motion, it never loses its sense of lift, of reaching upward. Its performers and its music keep it flying.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
January 8th, 2019

"The specificity of a black middle-class milieu, plus the writer's sharp ear for dialogue and his observations on class, race and sexuality, give McCraney's play distinctive qualities that outweigh its more conventional aspects...Cullman guides the production with a brisk, assured hand...but the distended length points up some ambling stretches in which the play's thrust loses force...The frequent detours into song can be relied upon to keep recapturing the emotional intensity."
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Entertainment Weekly
January 8th, 2019

“Played by the strikingly talented, fresh-faced Pope, Pharus, a young gay black teen, struggles to exist at the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys...Each member of the cast offers something nuanced to complement the struggles...But these strong performances also diminish the ending. The characters don’t evolve much from where they begin the story...Nothing changes. Perhaps that’s the point. The music, meanwhile, does. "
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Variety
January 8th, 2019

“Sweetly exuberant...The play transfers nicely, under the surefooted direction of Trip Cullman...The new venue also gives the show’s sensational young lead, Jeremy Pope, more room to spread his wings and soar...Pharus is a strange and wonderful character with the courage to be his own exceptional self...The music is joyous...The songs follow an arc from familiar hymns sung in strict choral harmony to less formal, but meaningful solos. Everyone gets his moment."
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The Wall Street Journal
January 17th, 2019

"Mr. McCraney’s characterizations are as lazy as his plot is familiar...To the extent that 'Choir Boy' is worth seeing, it’s mainly because of Trip Cullman’s staging—every dramatic gesture hits its target with preternatural precision—and his marvelous ensemble cast...For all the delights of Mr. Cullman’s production, 'Choir Boy' is what it is and no more, a slick, unchallenging show that is going over big at the box office because it tells us what we want to hear."
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Deadline
January 8th, 2019

“This is a play that, like its unstoppable main character, never quits reaching for the high note, even when perfection is beyond its grasp...Memorably performed, its frequent choir songs beautifully sung by the entire cast, the production is another fine addition to Cullman’s resume...Its wonderful cast does well...Narrative issues notwithstanding, ‘Choir Boy’ is often thrilling, especially when its young ensemble gathers for the a capella spirituals sprinkled throughout.”
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