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?
“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
"Besides being one of the most creatively-told gay coming of age dramas, 'Choir Boy' has one of the best ensembles that have graced a Broadway stage...What makes 'Choir Boy' unique is how McCraney and musical director Jason Michael Webb incorporate acapella song into the drama, borrowing from spirituals, gospel, folk and pop... Director Tripp Cullman does his best work yet." 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
“Poignant, moving, and lovely. A coming-of-age drama...’Choir Boy’ places focus on the personal development of a single gay, black, male character...Scenes are frequently punctuated by choreographed choral arrangements of gospel chestnuts...Some are more sophisticated than others, but the concept works consistently...The supporting characters don't have the depth or nuance of Pharus. They're engaging enough...And anyway, this is Pharus's story." 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
"It is filled to the brim with gorgeous singing, kind and loving humorous and harmonious connection, and painful punches to the gut and to the head...It’s a star making performance by Jeremy Pope...As directed with a strong-arm for conflict and a precise ear for song, Trip Cullman keeps this one-act play moving clearly and lightly, like a fine-tuned orchestra performing a classic piece of Mozart." Full Review
"McCraney's play engages with sexual and racial issues…These are well conveyed by McCraney's dialogue, although its crafting sometimes seems too carefully designed for dramatic effect and not what boys of this age would normally say…What many will take away…are its musical interpolations, sung acapella in exquisite harmonies…Everything is well timed and fluid. On the other hand, there's a theatrical overlay that makes the boys seem more like they're performing than being." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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." Full Review
“The Oscar-winning 'Moonlight' writer transfers his musical to a bigger venue and, while there are missteps, the songs bring the house down...The play works best as a jewel-faceted character study with Pope tenderly inhabiting a young man hungry for love and respect...A play needs a plot and this one is only lightly sketched...The tension between the richness of the characters and the thinness of the story isn’t always held with grace.” Full Review
“While McCraney cannot avoid revisiting coming-of-age themes about youthful angst we’ve seen before...’Choir Boy’ offers a fresh take by making race an essential component of the play. The playwright also provides us with more nuanced characterizations...Despite some flaws, as when the playwright slips into easy (if genuinely funny) jokey punch lines instead of dealing directly with some of the issues, ‘Choir Boy’ is splendidly performed and beautifully directed by Cullman." Full Review
“’Choir Boy’ is laced with music...Pope’s vocals can be more than a little indulgent, which might be the point...’Choir Boy’ ends with one of those gooey emotionally charged moments...It’s patronizing and rings false. Still there’s a real lethal power...McCraney provides an exhilarating ride through the sexually charged atmosphere of locker rooms and dorm rooms...Cullman’s strong direction is emblematic of that strength, driving ‘Choir Boy’ into a fast-moving, testosterone-fueled freight tra... Full Review
"The gifted director Trip Cullman conjures a gorgeous conspiracy of elements – aural, dramatic and visual – in making the strongest possible case for Tarell Alvin McCraney’s affectingly sentimental memory play...How Pharus negotiates the treacherous waters of Drew, sometimes with success and as often in heartbreaking failure, is the subject...The boys in the group, guided by music director Webb, make an angelic sound and are given frequent chances to amaze us." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“Bobby is offended at Pharus’ implied conflation of black and gay oppression and therein is the central conflict of the play: inclusion versus separation...McCraney explores the myriad variations on this theme in a compelling hour and 45 minutes, staged with economy and passion by Trip Cullman, punctuated by stirring gospel numbers featuring Jason Michael Webb’s dynamic arrangements and Camille A. Brown’s exciting movement." Full Review
"While not pursuing an air-tight narrative, impressionistically follows Pharus as he navigates his place in an all-male landscape fraught with landmines, while grappling with ways to express his gayness...McCraney’s writing is crisp—one of the best sections has Pharus explaining the power of spirituals—and Cullman’s kinetic direction gets expert performances out of Pope in the lead role, Cooper as the flustered headmaster, and Pendleton as a well-meaning new teacher." Full Review
“McCraney’s tender coming-of-age drama...McCraney has endowed Pharus with a war chest full of wisecracks, an arsenal of verbal armor to guard against homophobic high school classmates and hypercritical educators...As far as portraits of young gay men coming to terms with their sexuality, McCraney has dug deeper, and to greater effect...The choral music is rich and rousing. And the choreography positively electric.” Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"That is the beauty of the story, which is neither moralizing nor derogatory about societal norms. It just lays out a situation, and allows us to share what is positively achieved by taking one’s own path. The gifted ensemble carries the story beautifully, and casually to a positive outcome...Director Trip Cullman mines the material with sensitivity." Full Review
“Song speaks louder than words in McCraney's Broadway debut...The unsettling, playful, puzzling drama...Pope’s effervescent performance stands out...Cullman, whose lucid, detailed staging lends focus to a script that, while consistently compelling, sometimes gets away from itself...’Choir Boy’ suffers from the early scenes’ premonitions of plotlessness...’Choir Boy’ isn’t a play about inaction, it’s a play about resilience...And that is something worth singing about.” Full Review
“Pharus' life on a psychological tightrope is honestly and fearlessly rendered throughout, for which the director has provided a sleek, fast-moving, generally well-acted production. The playwright has built a number of spirituals into the action, each...rendered in harmonies so beautiful they can bring tears...A certain sketchiness plagues ‘Choir Boy’...The principals could use some fleshing out...Still, McCraney conjures this hothouse world with mordant wit and warmth." Full Review
“A startling play...’Choir Boy’ is packed with short, punchy scenes that often seem rather hurried in Trip Cullman’s interval-less 105-minute staging...Lively renditions of gospel songs between scenes are also slightly marred by some platitudinous choreography, as the students repeatedly stomp about the stage. 'Choir Boy' is nonetheless an often startling and provocative work, which features a remarkably assured and charismatic central performance by Jeremy Pope as Pharus.” Full Review
See it if You want to experience thrilling moments, amazing acting, and truly great singing in service of a powerful emotional story.
Don't see it if You don't care about the lives of young black men, you don't like plays with music, and you're offended by gay storylines.
See it if You want a fresh new show acted by wonderful, young, fresh actors. Beautiful story and storytelling.
Don't see it if You don’t like new plays or trying anything new at all. It’s a wonderful show.
See it if You want a slice of life, of growing up, about race but not, about homosexuality but not, religion but not. This was so well written. Go!
Don't see it if You’re bothered by any of the above, don’t like unpleasant topics, think life is fair, want hero’s and villains—everyone had a story.
See it if You enjoy theatre that centers Black queer experiences and refreshingly, has emotional depth without being tragic.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy musical theatre or rather simplistic plots.
See it if Great, young talent, bravely put forth a story of individuality and the desire to fit in.
Don't see it if Racist, homophobic and hating need not attend...unless you're willing to listen. learn and open up your hearts.
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 you are ready for a sensitive, emotional and well written moving story that deals with serious LGBTQ issues. Talented cast of actors.
Don't see it if are homophobic, uncomfortable with gay issues and do not like drama with music as part of the story line.
See it if You have the chance, it was funny and intense, it'll will keep you guessing all the way to the end. Amazing singer and bonus: nudity.
Don't see it if if you're homophobic or don't like topic/story lines based around gays men. You're later as there is no later seating.
See it if richly written and sharply taut performances by an ensemble cast with believable high school characters coming of age
Don't see it if melodramatic moments are occasionally self-indulgent and it is often hard to hear Mr. Pendelton in the mezzanine
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.
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 It is a nice combination of amazing singing and thought provoking dialogue about relevant topics relating to sexuality. Talented cast!
Don't see it if You are not open minded or need an intermission. It has a gospel like feel with the music and story. Not sure it is for a tourist
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.
See it if You want to see an extremely moving, yet funny, piece. Amazing voices, and stellar acting. Touches on many topics without being heavyhanded
Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with some small cases of nudity, or the subject of race and homosexuality.
See it if For wonderful, entertaining singing by the cast mixed into a good story... at times funny, tender, heartbreaking and real
Don't see it if you are expecting to learn everything about the lives of the characters. It is not a long play but at the end I liked and cared about them.
See it if you like dramas with fabulous music.... Wit and humor brought to serious subject..slight subversion of youth/ gay tropes.
Don't see it if you want straight up musical.
See it if you want a thoroughly engaging beautiful play filled with hope, pain, laughter, & stunning music.
Don't see it if You're looking for a light hearted comedy or you don't like shows about teens.
See it if u admire the writing of McCraney and want to see an early work of his; u identify with being smart and talented but an outsider in school
Don't see it if u have seen too many gay coming of age stories; don't like great singing; are offended by male nudity; can't identify with African Americans
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 3/10/19. 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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