Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Funny, Fluffy, Dated

About the show

Coming to Broadway for the first time ever and directed by three-time Tony Award-nominee Randy Skinner, this is a classic comedic celebration of the golden era of movie musicals.

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Set in the 1930s, the satiric plot follows a struggling chorus girl, Ruby, as she steps off a bus from Utah and into her first Broadway show. But hours before the opening night curtain is to rise, the cast learns their theater is being demolished. Ruby and the cast, with the help of some adoring sailors, set a plan in motion to perform the show on a naval battleship. A tap-happy celebration of the golden era of movie musicals, the show features rollicking tap dancing, love at first sight, joyful music and a boatload of laughs.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"The way the book merrily hopscotches from cliché to cliché can still raise smiles. But 'Dames' ultimately founders on our familiarity, not with the genre it plays with like a cat’s toy, but with the long history, since its creation, of similar simulations of old-school entertainments. Even housed in Broadway’s smallest theater, this miniature musical, with a cast you could fit in a dinghy, seems just a little, well, at sea." Full Review


"The new leading lady of 'Dames at Sea' is no Bernadette Peters. There’s nothing wrong with this revival that Peters, who played the role of Ruby in the original, couldn’t fix. But musical theater stars of her caliber don’t grow on trees, and although newcomer Eloise Kropp is a power tapper par excellence, she hasn’t the saucy charm of a Broadway Baby like Ruby — or the magnetic appeal of a star like Peters." Full Review

Time Out New York

"It lands like a harmless piece of wet fluff. The first 20 minutes of wide-eyed antics are cute; then your mind starts to wander. 'Dames at Sea's' mild pastiche is passable but passé—imagine a revival, half a century from now, of a Fringe show about the ’80s—and it’s presented with tongue so far in cheek that it can’t say much at all." Full Review


"For lovers of the genre, 'Dames at Sea' is a delightful romp that doesn't feel like it's aged a day since 1966...Director and choreographer Randy Skinner brings the material to life as if it exploded out of an old movie...Those who regularly get goosebumps when they hear a tap shoe hit a Masonite floor will be on cloud nine for hours after the curtain comes down." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Instead of sticking close to the presentational style of Busby Berkeley spectaculars, 'Dames' literally belittled itself, making do with a cast of six and an orchestra of three on a stage barely big enough to contain Bernadette Peters. It would seem to be a category error to bring material so conceived to Broadway, and the production that just opened at the Helen Hayes, much as you root for it, fails to argue otherwise." Full Review


"If you enjoy the glitzy, silly movie musicals of Busby Berkley you will see what the creators of 'Dames at Sea' were up to back in 1966 - spoofing backstage classics such as '42nd Street.'...'Dames at Sea' offers a few nostalgic chuckles, but it’s hard to see what it’s doing on Broadway...This cute retro trifle seems a bit at sea." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Skinner directs 'Dames at Sea' as well, but it is his choreography which keeps the show on its toes from beginning to end. He has stacked the deck with an ingratiating cast, including two standout performances. So there is plenty for musical comedy audiences to be happy about, especially at a time when there is nothing else on Broadway in this category." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Randy Skinner's tap-happy production delivers plenty of sly amusement thanks to a ferociously talented sextet of triple threats. If this tiny show occasionally sits a little awkwardly even on a small Broadway stage, it's a small price to pay for the abundant fun on display…It's musical comedy madness accompanied by a cascade of insanely catchy songs…The inclusion of an extended dance break for nearly every number results in a certain predictability that slows down the first act a bit." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"It may not win a shelf full of Tonys or a Pulitzer Prize, but they kept me entertained for their respective two hours’ traffic...The director and cast execute cinema cliches with infectious charm...It’s as light as a soap bubble and just as lasting, sure to burst as soon as you hit the pavement outside the Helen Hayes. But while the hard-working cast keeps the bubble afloat, 'Dames' is a delight." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"Nearly half a century after its Off-Off Broadway debut, the Broadway version isn’t staged with exceptional ingenuity; it doesn’t have to be. The production values are ratcheted up, but not as much as the ticket prices...The biggest change on Broadway is that the show somehow no longer feels like an ironic if loving send-up of a 30’s extravaganza, but something closer to an imitation of one." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"'Dames at Sea' is throwback theatre...It’s got nothing on its mind other than enjoying itself at the expense of a harmless cultural shibboleth. It breaks no new ground, its score is enjoyable but not for the ages, its perpetual tap dancing can seem a bit much, and it may sometimes be too cute for its own good. But, to quote a better-known musical, if you let it entertain you, you’ll have a real good time." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"'Dames at Sea' reinvents one of those big-screen spectacles as a shrunken stage musical — a baby Busby Berkeley if you will — with an appealing cast of six that makes its featherweight pleasures infectious...A sweet candy morsel serving unapologetically empty calories." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"What’s not to like? Nothing whatsoever—but there isn’t enough to love about 'Dames at Sea,' which may have seemed sufficiently witty a half-century ago but has long since been outclassed by the encyclopedically knowing musical-comedy spoofery of 'The Drowsy Chaperone.' Compared with that big-brain homage, 'Dames' isn’t much more clever than a college show, and its parodies steer too close to their models to be other than mildly amusing." Full Review

AM New York

"Staged by director-choreographer Randy Skinner with lots of pep but little personality, the hardworking six-member cast tries to overcome the lackluster material by aggressively playing up the campiness, to the point of relentless irritation. It ultimately comes off like a low-rent, manic production of '42nd Street,' which by comparison had spectacular production values and contained the actual songs that 'Dames' tries so hard to mimic." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Deconstruct a Busby Berkeley movie musical and you have the loose two hours of light-heartedness that is 'Dames at Sea.' In this spoof of old Broadway, a dedicated cast of six top notch hoofers fight the good fight; tapping, belting and mugging their way through a book that ranges from predictable to corny to borderline misogynistic. Tomatoes, here, are not the kind that grow on vines, but there’s a lot of squeezing going on nonetheless." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"'Dames at Sea' may be incredibly limited in its scope and aims, but it does what it does smartly enough that, when it's adeptly helmed by a director and choreographer like this production's Randy Skinner, you don't really care. No, it never registers as much more than what it is...But it jumps into its daffiness with both feet, and splashes you with fun. For a mere two hours, even I can't find a way to argue with its charms." Full Review

New York Daily News

"'Dames at Sea' is a mid-1960s musical trifle that works overtime to be cheeky good fun. Thanks to a cast with twinkle-toes and polished pipes, it succeeds — for a while. Before long, though, monotony sets in and won’t go away. Even top-notch tap-dancing can get repetitive...'Dames' doesn’t make a big splash or sink. It treads water." Full Review


"‘Dames At Sea’ is a lot of fun and a tribute to the city’s inexhaustible pool of inexhaustible talent, if not actual stars…Broadway today is awash in nostalgia in the form of revivals, reboots and parodies, all done on a far larger scale and offering considerably more bang, or tap, for the buck. And good as they are, the dancers never let us forget just how hard they’re working to please us." Full Review


"This well presented but overblown production is misguided and relatively tiresome... By jettisoning the original light production values that delighted critics and audiences at the time this 'Dames at Sea' sinks under the weight of its contemporary trappings." Full Review

The Associated Press

"It's taken almost half a century for 'Dames' to come to Broadway. There really was no rush. This insubstantial musical, which sits awkwardly between celebration and parody, opened like a riff off a long-forgotten joke. 'Dames' is supposed to be a fizzy celebration of Busby Berkeley films but comes across more like a warmed-over, sweaty cabaret act. It's not funny enough to be satire and yet too earnest to be believed." Full Review

The Wrap

"It’s not fun to feel superior to such material; it’s numbing. As for Jim Wise’s score, quick: Hum a tune from this nearly 50-year-old musical. The repetition of the music is in a contest only with the repetition of the Dick jokes...Given a full-scale Broadway set here, we only notice that a couple dozen chorus girls failed to show up." Full Review


"Those who love lots of tap dancing, old-fashioned tunes, and a touch of camp get down to the Helen Hayes Theatre on the double…These three young performers are all fine singers and remarkable dancers – you’ll gasp as they execute director Randy Skinner’s breathtaking (and breathless) choreographers – but they do lack a bit of star power…Lesli Margherita continues to steal scene after scene with her deliberately scenery-chewing and often hilarious antics." Full Review


"The production, directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner, has a hard-tapping, hardworking cast of six and enough varieties of I-love-to-dance smiles to become their own emoticons. What the musical does not have - in addition to a breakout ingénue to elevate the unrelentingly, cheerfully lame nonsense - is charm. This is, to put it gently, a one-joke show. And we get the joke over and over the tap-happy two hours." Full Review


"A very streamlined theatrical experience... Presenting the story as a series of rapid, jokey moments does have its downside...In 'Dames at Sea' there's so little separation between musical routines, they acquire a rote-like quality, especially with the overload of tap-dancing, which is resolutely inserted wherever possible. ‘Dames at Sea’ is a period piece that, in its limited way, still has some life and laughs." Full Review


"A technicolor, tap dance-filled tribute to the movie musicals of the 1930s. It’s delightful, and it doesn’t take itself seriously for a minute...'Dames at Sea' is a small-scale musical, crammed into Broadway’s teensiest theater, but with the gumption of a mighty battleship." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see a happy funny show

Don't see it if you don't like tap dancing.

Also This can be one of the most forgettable show I've ever seen. The probl... Read more Read less

Clever, Silly, Wrong venue, Tap, tap, and more tap, Flat production

See it if you love tap dancing, otherwise skip it. I love DAS, but prodn disappointed. Ruby wasn't strong. Theater was too big. References outdated.

Don't see it if you want a big Bway show. Not worthy of ticket prices. It would've been better OB or OOB. Some strong performances. Clever script/songs.

Also Dames At Sea is a strong parody show (it launched Bernadette P's caree... Read more Read less

Quirky, Dated, Fluffy

See it if Nice dancing.

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

Cliched, Dated, Amusing, Tap-happy

See it if you enjoy repetitive tap routines.

Don't see it if you crave compelling storytelling and varied choreography.

Delightful, Cliched, Entertaining, Great singing, Great dancing

See it if You want to see a cute and predictable musical that will keep you smiling the whole way through.

Don't see it if You are looking for something more unique or with more depth.

Exquisite, Disappointing, Cliched, Dated, Great dancing

See it if you love tapping - great tapping - and don't need much of a story

Don't see it if you want a well crafted story or a profound experience

Delightful, Entertaining, Great dancing

See it if You like old school musicals. You like tap dancing.

Don't see it if The formula of the old school musical does nothing for you.

Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You want a light hearted good show.

Don't see it if You don't like a lot of dancing.

Funny, Disappointing, Cliched, Dated, Great dancing

See it if you like light, fluffy, funny old-fashioned musical theatre.

Don't see it if you like theatre with any substance at all.

Funny, Dated, Pleasant, Good dancing, Revival

See it if You love classic musicals of the 60's.

Don't see it if You don't like tap dancing or silliness.

Quirky, Fluffy

See it if you love tap dancing and/or Lesli Margherita.

Don't see it if you don't like tap dancing. There is a LOT of it.

Funny, Dated, Fluffy, Great dancing, Catchy score

See it if you like this style of music. The pastiche is done well. You want to see a hardworking cast tap their hearts out.

Don't see it if They didn't seem to understand how to really mine the humor from this show. It needed more parody and a different ingenue.

Dated, Cute

See it if you want a fluffy, quick musical, and don't necessarily mind if it doesn't stick with you

Don't see it if you're looking for something with a message

Dated, Great staging, Silly, Spare

See it if You love tap dancing or small-scale, goofy off-Broadway musicals randomly produced on Broadway.

Don't see it if You don't like quirky, old, slight musicals that belong off-Broadway in a smaller house a long time ago.

Funny, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You like light-hearted musicals with a lot of tap.

Don't see it if You require large-cast, big set musicals with or without the fluff.

Delightful, Entertaining, Fun, Fluffy, Great tapping

See it if you enjoy old fashion entertainment with lots of great tap dancing and a show that doesn't try to be more than it is. pure entertainment!

Don't see it if You're looking for something deep and meaningful. This is a Bway confection and that's OK!

Excruciating, Slow

See it if you love to spend money on poorly produced Broadway shows that look like a regional theater production.

Don't see it if You appreciate good theater

Delightful, Refreshing, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy classical musicals and simply want to be entertained. Great tap dance numbers.

Don't see it if You want more than a very simple, predictable story.

Disappointing, Cliched, Dated

See it if If you are into dated old Hollywood musicals.. Tap dancing is same time step over and over

Don't see it if Expecting amazing tap sequences... Kind of a snoozefest

Delightful, Refreshing, Banal, Cliched, Great dancing.

See it if You love tap dancing and old fashioned musicals. The show has lots of pleasant songs and is very lighthearted.

Don't see it if You don't like tap dancing. Don't like simplistic story lines or musicals

Funny, Cliched, Hilarious, Lively, Great dancing

See it if you are impressed by tap dancing. This show was hilarious and the cast gave stellar performances. Flashy and fun.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in dance-heavy shows. This show can be cliche and dated as it was written quite a while ago.

Clever, Delightful, Quirky

See it if You enjoy tap dance and classic showtunes. Hilarious scene stealing from Lesli Margherita. Closed way too soon.

Don't see it if You're looking for something serious or thought provoking.

Great acting, Quirky, Great staging

See it if you love dancing! This is a dance show for any lover of amazing choreography and fun performances from all the actors!

Don't see it if you don't like dance shows. There's not much to the story. It's all in the dancing.

Funny, Delightful, Entertaining, Cute

See it if You love tapping and dance-oriented shows. The show is just cute and fluffy.

Don't see it if You are looking for character development or plot. The show is very cutesy.

Disappointing, Slow, Fluffy, Blah

See it if you want to see a very basic show. If you don't high expectations.

Don't see it if It was missing a little pizzazz

Cast & Creatives (21)