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. More…
For half a century, the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men. One talented student has been waiting for years to take his rightful place as the leader of the legendary gospel choir. But can he make his way through the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?
“Ferociously entertaining...’A deep, multifaceted role, and Pope's work here is monumental...In the half-decade since MTC premiered ‘Choir Boy’...McCraney has continued to finesse the already smart and satisfying piece...McCraney has made some exceptional revisions...‘Choir Boy’ feels less rushed, now, especially when it comes to the breathtaking gospel numbers...If ‘Choir Boy’ were that alone, it would be enough, but this great play, like its main character, contains multitudes.” Full Review
"'Choir Boy,' grabs your heart and your soul with the exquisite performance by Jeremy Pope...It is the play's quiet moments, such as when Pharus calls his mom or A.J. comforts Pharus, that the show breaks your heart. The cast is extremely effective and wonderfully talented. We know who each of these people are, but it is the charismatic Pope, in his star-making role of Pharus, that steals the stage and our hearts...So far the best play of the year and the best performance by an actor." Full Review
“Vibrant and beautifully conceived...While both Cooper and Pendleton have been cast as stereotypes, they are needed to propel the play forward and both...can make even stereotypes feel fresh...The most remarkable and original aspect of ‘Choir Boy’ is...the actual acapella singing...Another in a long list of boarding school plays...But McCraney’s outstanding writing skills and the clever use of that chorus make ‘Choir Boy’ a most welcome and original addition to Broadway." Full Review
"A big-hearted, gimlet-eyed portrait of young African Americans navigating class and sexual differences in private school...The result is worth a loud and proud hallelujah...Jeremy Pope’s lead performance is a whirling, glittering thing of beauty...All the actors deserve high praise for seamlessly meshing on the many musical interludes based on hymns and spirituals, which are expertly woven into the naturalism of the rest of the show by ace director Trip Cullman." Full Review
“An engrossing production...Scattered throughout the play are gloriously harmonized, aggressively choreographed choral sequences...I seriously hope the production receives a cast album...Some of the plot twists are outright bizarre, and other moments are left decidedly murky, which adds to the play’s sense of mystery...In any event, ‘Choir Boy’ makes for highly engrossing, personal and poignant theater. It is a smashing start to the new year on Broadway.” Full Review
“A knockout tale of music, homophobia, and racism told in rousing and entertaining manner...With an expanded production, a strengthened script, and the return of three of the central actors, McCraney’s play is even more powerful now...Spirituals, sung by the choir, are woven through the drama...What is most significant about these spirituals is that they are so exceptionally performed...Pope is remarkable as the self-assured singer who refuses to back down.” Full Review
"Had McCraney limited his play simply to Pharus' journey, even told as compellingly and bravely as it is, the work would be stirring. But it's more than that because McCraney adds so many layers to his tale, including the boys' various relationships to their parents, an exploration of the realities of wealth in the African-American community, and even a much-needed outside perspective to the longtime issue of race relations." Full Review
“Cullman’s clear-eyed direction makes excellent use of music and movement to evoke the students’ surging emotions...Each of the performances ring oh so true...It’s hard to imagine anyone but Pope as Pharus...It is his impassioned performance that makes the play truly sing...McCraney’s soulful writing brings to mind the great August Wilson. With ‘Choir Boy’ he establishes himself as a major new voice in the theatre.” Full Review
"A soul-stirring Broadway debut...Flowing with the unsurpassed eloquence and empathy that define the award-winning playwright’s exquisite style, the coming-of-age play with music is once again directed by Trip Cullman, with an engrossing balance of vibrancy and poignancy, humor and heartbreak...The stellar cast’s compelling portrayals are enriched with soaring a cappella vocals and animated movement that express the characters’ deeply felt emotions...Don’t miss it." Full Review
“A new play...that allows young Black men the rich, messy humanity of any other character, rather casting them as unseen statistics...‘Choir Boy’ is nothing short of a rapture...McCraney unfurls an ensemble coming-of-age story that’s insightful and generous with every boy in the choir...In their intimately observed stories, and through soulful, rousing music interludes, McCraney illustrates the specific cultural forces that shape the conventions of Black masculinity." Full Review
“The experience of seeing the Broadway premiere of “Choir Boy” is transcendent. . The play itself, its structure and devices, is hardly revolutionary...Finely acted and beautifully told...Its red-hot simmering story and soaring music offer a nice complement to the deep freeze of winter...The very presence of this play on Broadway about a black, queer teenage boy navigating private, Christian Prep school life is seismic, and Pope offers a memorable debut in this timely and important work.” Full Review
"Addressing issues of class, privilege, and homophobia within this community of colour, the play combines humour with pathos...Cullman’s production balances playfulness with an increasing sense of tension...Music and movement are central to the production...Traditional black spirituals provide cultural context and connect these boys to their history. These interludes also permit the characters to express themselves in ways that are not verbal – to move beyond words.” Full Review
"Director Cullman combines all the elements of writing, acting, and design to create a play that is equally powerful and emotionally moving. The pacing is perfect and poignant ...Playwright McCraney often uses music in the way a musical does, to heighten emotion and express the feeling of a scene, but even more haunting is the Cullman’s strategic use of silence: he makes us sit in the uncomfortable and the painful in ways that are remarkably evocative." Full Review
"A layered and muscular one-act with music, drama, comedy and a loaded title...If one of the performed numbers, Boys to Men by New Edition, is a little too on the nose, nearly every other moment of this unique play, first staged off Broadway in 2013, buzzes with tension or glides into joy...Pope handles these transitions effortlessly, creating a vivid, capable and graceful character. His cast mates are equally skilled, and aided in no small amount by the clever direction of Trip Cullman." Full Review
"Sweet, sad, substantive play. With nimble direction by Trip Cullman and a lively cast mostly of Broadway newcomers performing some soulful music, it doubles as a glorious entertainment...Each of these characters arguably illustrates for us what it means to become a black man in America, giving a freshness to what is in broad outline a familiar boarding school coming-of-age story." Full Review
"While the play takes place in contemporary times, McCraney and Cullman’s warmly affectionate tone gives it the kind of nostalgic feel that's familiar to the genre. And the issues that arise in the piece do have a touch of familiarity. What isn't familiar, though, is placing a young gay man of color - one who feels he has nothing to hide - at the center of it all, considerably raising the significance of placing a play like ‘Choir Boy’ in front of Broadway audiences.” Full Review
“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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
“In this revival of McCraney’s spirited and heart warming drama you’ll many times feel you’ve been warmly wrapped in the arms of the spirituals sung in gorgeous harmonies...You’ll hear some glorious spirituals, peppered with many insightful performances, in this coming of age story directed by Cullman who keeps a sharp eye on the fun stuff, with...well thought out scenic and costume designs, lighting...and notably strong choreography.” Full Review
“A stirringly acted drama about desire, masculinity, and identity...The songs are beautiful, and beautifully sung, if sometimes puzzlingly placed...Pharus' refusal to obviously define himself, or for the play to define him, is key to the play and yet dramatically it is also a flaw...The play unloads key pieces of information and lets them sit unelaborated upon. These oddities do not undermine Pope and Clay's excellent performances, or the power of a story about the cost of coming out." Full Review
“Set in an elite prep school — hardly earthshaking for this kind of coming-of-age drama — the play is centered on the institution’s renowned gospel choir and its incoming leader...It's tempting to throw in the towel on the overdose of teenage angst we've seen on and off Broadway in recent years. Fortunately, this show redeems itself with magnificent a cappella vocals and spot-on performances from the uniformly strong cast." Full Review
"Jeremy Pope is magnificent as Pharus. How you’ll wish you could have had his backbone when you were in school dealing with your teachers. Under Trip Cullman’s beautifully restrained direction, Pope makes Pharus only semi-flamboyant and Anthony, his straight roommate, not overly butch...Some of the best musical moments currently on Broadway. It’s a very good play, if not a great one." Full Review
“The preternaturally gifted Jeremy Pope plays the title role...McCraney writes heightened, lyrical dramatic language....His characters are rich in human complexity and as a result we care deeply about what happens to them...The script seems to be on the point of ending multiple times, but ultimately resolves in a satisfying coda...Cullman is in complete command here, guiding his actors toward characterizations that are explicit and chiseled." Full Review
“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. " Full Review
“The hype is real...’Choir Boy’ is exactly what Broadway, and the greater world, needs...At its core, ‘Choir Boy’ is a response to the Great White Way and how Black characters... are often rendered...While the acting isn’t as lived-in as I’d like and the pacing isn’t as smooth as I’m sure it’s intended...’Choir Boy’ soars...when the ensemble comes together...’Choir Boy’ is something unique. It’s Black, queer, and uncompromising about it all.” Full Review
See it if You appreciate good theater. It’s the modern Take Me Out/History Boys/etc. Utter perfection from start to finish. But not for everyone...
Don't see it if Your first comment will be ‘i didn’t think shows should have so few people. They should be cheaper if they do’ like the people behind me 🤷�
See it if you like Tarell Alvin McCraney's writings (Moonlight), great acting esp J. Quinton Johnson, Chuck Cooper, and Jeremy Pope and great music
Don't see it if don't like LGBT+ themes, don't like LGBT or racial slurs, or nudity
See it if you're open-minded to witness a play that tackles homophobic struggles, while still telling a great story with engaging acting/singing
Don't see it if you don't care to see the struggle the gay youth face, specifically in the African-American community -
See it if if you enjoy being drawn into earnest yearning high-school drama that pulses with current as well as timeless themes - & plentiful music
Don't see it if if you don't like a little too much contrived dancing - the only glaring fault in this production.
See it if Highly pleasurable show. Funny but not idiotic; weighty but not tortured & tearful. You like plays about characters swimming upstream.
Don't see it if want a teen fairy tale where they win nationals, pair off into complementary couples, correct the errors of their ways without consequence.
See it if you're a fan of tour-de-force performances, great gospel singing, and appreciate Tarell McCraney's evocative writing
Don't see it if you would have a problem rooting for a flamboyantly gay main character, or have a problem with nudity
See it if You want to see a master playwright at work with a fabulous cast. Jeremy Pope is a star in the making
Don't see it if You can't deal with gay issues or don't want to see singing.
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
See it if you like plays that also have musical numbers (I wouldn't call this one a musical), you liked Moonlight
Don't see it if you don't like racial or gay themes, you are expecting to see a musical (the singing is great though)
See it if You enjoy ensemble pieces and seeing breakthrough talent. It features some excellent singing and dancing as well.
Don't see it if You are looking for a full blown musical. This is a drama with music. At times it feels slow, but the takeaway is strong.
See it if sociologically precise depiction of dynamics w/i school; first rate a capella singing & rhythmic dancing; strong affecting cast
Don't see it if no special insight into issues w gay behavior w/i black culture; some scenes flat, flow of scenes not organic; by end play just petered out
See it if Well-executed coming of age gay/black/prep school story with excellent a capella music, Jeremy Pope is very good, capturing his character’s
Don't see it if confident/tortured combo perfectly. The play itself, however, lacks dramatic tension and doesn’t really say anything new.
See it if You enjoy a capella singing and insights into the life of a gay teenager in an all-male boarding school
Don't see it if You dislike caricatures rather than characters or if you mind not knowing whether an introduced character will matter or not.
Show-Score is the only site that makes it easy for you to compare prices and discounts! See as list
Tuesdays - Thursdays & Sunday Evenings
$109 Front Orchestra & Mezzanine AA - BB
$99 Rear Orchestra & Front Mezzanine A - B
Friday Evenings - Sunday Matinees
$119 Front Orchestra & Mezzanine AA - BB
$99 Rear Orchestra & Front Mezzanine A - B
Offer valid on select seating for all performances through 2/17/19. Additional blackout dates may apply. Regular price for $59 tickets is $79; regular price for $79 tickets is $99; regular price for $89-$99 tickets is $149. Prices subject to change. All prices include a $2 facility fee. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Limit of 6 tickets per order. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. All sales are final – no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Cast subject to change.
Discount good for all performances 12/12-2/17 except 1/8. Additional blackout dates may apply. Limit 6 tickets per order. Prices subject to change. All prices include a $2 facility fee. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. All sales are final – no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Cast subject to change.
Tuesday-Thursday eves, Wednesday matinees and Sunday eves
Front orchestra/Mezzanine rows AA-BB: $109 (reg. $159)
Rear orchestra/front mezz rows A-B: $99 (reg. $119)
Friday eve, Saturday matinee and eve and Sunday matinee
Front orchestra/Mezzanine rows AA-BB: $119 (reg. $169)
Rear orchestra/front mezz rows A-B: $99 (reg. $129)
Limit 6 tickets per order. Prices subject to change. All prices include a $2 facility fee. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. All sales are final – no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Cast subject to change.
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