New York | 1h 45m | Already closed

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (NYC)

From 49 critic and 524 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Disappointing, Great staging

About the show

After an extended run in La Jolla, the new musical about the 70s disco queen hits Broadway with a score featuring more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “Love to Love You, Baby,” “Bad Girls,” and “Hot Stuff." More…

She was a girl from Boston with a voice from heaven, who shot through the stars from gospel choir to dance floor diva. But what the world didn’t know was how Donna Summer risked it all to break through barriers, becoming the icon of an era, and the supreme queen for every diva who followed. Directed by Tony Winner Des McAnuff ("Jersey Boys").

1h 45m | Already closed | Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (Midtown W)


"You won't want to miss any of the sizzling vocals and terpsichorean joyfulness lighting up the Lunt-Fontanne. This is the smartest, slickest, most entertaining jukebox bio-musical to hit town since 'Jersey Boys'...The bulk of the singing and dancing responsibility goes to DeBose, who scorches the stage with her dynamic presence as Disco Donna...'Summer' is decidedly not an in-depth biography, but rather offers peeks of the artist's private life while focusing on performances of hits." Full Review

Front Row Center

"What 'Summer' does brilliantly is remind us why LaDonna Adrian Gaines was the Disco Queen...It may not have the most scintillating book, but that's not why anybody bought tickets...Nothing feels dated. Costumes are cheeky and fun...Choreography is fresh and exciting...Not only are the production values au courant, but the issues and themes are very relevant as well...LaChanze is simply unmatched vocally...DeBose was superb." Full Review

Labor Press

"Three actresses share the role of Summer...The chemistry of the three is so strong that folks in the aisles jumped up, and stomped their feet, and clapped their hands throughout the performance...It captivates and entertains the audience...The talented trio of LaChanze, DeBose, and Lever invigorates the audience through their stellar performances...If you want an entertaining, toe-tapping musical...there is no doubt this is one for you and the whole family. Go see 'Summer.'" Full Review

The Culture Mom

"Brought me to my feet...I was riveted by the music, the story, the performances, and memories of disco...The three actresses get that exactly right, each holding her own as they go song by song, through her spectacular recordings...I say go see it. Everyone around me was clapping, singing, and you could feel the energy from everyone who wanted to jump up in the room to start dancing." Full Review


"The joyful disco extravaganza shakes up the recipe just enough to remind us that there's more than one way to get flavor out of the Broadway biomusical. Having women as phenomenally talented as the three sharing the title role spices things up as well...The entire chorus of 'Summer' is composed of women...It's a clever theatrical move that cuts the self-seriousness with a little light-hearted camp." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"'Summer' has so many reasons for its success. First, its book plays as an aspirational musical...DeBose as 'Disco Donna', LaChanze as 'Diva Donna,' and Lever as 'Duckling Donna' give the legend such a warm hopefulness that their varying looks become one in their singular, 'Summer' personality...The second reason for the show's success as a musical, is, of course, the music...A sappy, starry musical." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Thanks to the swift, smart construction of 'Summer,' which neither overburdens its material nor overstays its welcome, it’s a pretty damn good time. 'Summer’s' book is sometimes predictable, sometimes sentimental, and every so often pushes unsubtly on its central image. But it’s also uptempo, fluently interwoven with the show’s songs, and often genuinely funny...Has its dips...All in all, though, 'Summer' does well at moving us through both the bright and dark spots in its hero’s life." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“Full of the classic superstar struggles including loneliness, drug dependency and PR gaffes but the dark side is so coyly and politely tackled that this portrait remains resolutely superficial. Yet for all its narrative shortfalls, it’s a joyous, thrilling night out with excellent leads and an energetic ensemble cast, that will make you yearn to dance like no one is looking...The main complaint as the audience headed out was that not enough of her famous hits were included.” Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"Delivers the seasonal sunshine. It just doesn’t also bring a whole lotta depth...Of course, the music is terrific; Donna Summer isn’t the undisputed Queen of Disco for nothing. But this production lives or dies on the shoulders of its three Donnas — and they are incredible...Toe-tappingly familiar songs, stellar performances, shiny costumes, and a reminder of the impact of its subject on the music industry at large. It’s also a little thin on story." Full Review


"Much more than a memorable medley of dance tunes. At least for some of us, LaChanze’s covers especially are going to trigger some fairly intense flashbacks...I can also testify that I was one of hundreds experiencing a giddy delirium when blinded by a hailstorm of silver sequins during a particularly intoxicating rendition of 'Hot Stuff.' Summer is nothing if not communal. For those unfamiliar with Summer’s own story, this show offers a family-friendly run-down." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“A determinedly energetic, if clichéd and formulaic, 100-minute tribute to the life of Donna Summer…Three faultless, exceptional performers play Donna Summer…Offers little that's new to the biographical juke box format…Not destined to be a classic, nor is it even in the class of something similar, like 'Jersey Boys'...Donna Summer's music may never have been intended for Broadway but, if you like her songs you're going to have a good time.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

"You’ll forgive librettists Colman Domingo, Robert Cary and director Des McAnuff for their lamer lines and more awkward transitions, and be sucked into the sheer joy generated by a woman who still doesn’t get enough credit for repeatedly defying expectations, boundaries, and stereotypes...If there’s some hokum here, McAnuff smartly avoids getting mired in the darker aspects of Summer’s story; that approach wouldn’t suit the form." Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

"The hot stuff comes toward the end of 'Summer,' but, on the way, there’s some impressive vocal talent delivering 23 catchy dance faves...'Summer' disappoints with a clumsy skim-through book...Performing her story are three fine singers...Unfortunately, the story has glamour and religion, but no emotion. Choreography by Sergio Trujillo is vigorous, but not exceptional...The high point is the ebullient finale of 'Hot Stuff' and 'Last Dance,' with Howell Binkley’s pulsating strobe lights." Full Review

Melinda's Malarky

"Has all the winning ingredients to be a mega-Broadway hit but it melts into a sticky icing flowing goo...There wasn't enough spark. The three incredible lead performers were sensational...The biopic musical...didn't work hard enough to move an audience to get up and dance except for the show-stopping finale...The show has a niche audience who'll come to hear their favorites heard on the radio and relive their glory days." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"A valedictory experience, not an honest story, only tolerable for die-hard fans...Summer’s music is perfect for this treatment by Des McAnuff: her voice came with perfect pitch and a driving, irony-free intensity that was, in its disco moment, peerless...It is a cliche for critics to announce about musicals with less-than-distinguished books, and this is one such show with an especially egregious hole in Act 2, that the audience didn’t care...The audience did not just respond to the music, i... Full Review


"Little more than a glorified concert...The timeline, from early days in recording studios, to abusive husbands and ministers, to bouts of depression and grave illness, is hard to follow, bouncing illogically over the years...What saves all this, of course, is the celebration of the music...Never mind that these songs sometimes show up without moving the story along...There are moments of pure emotion in the show." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"The performances are frequently electric, and the songs sound spectactular, but any attempt to learn something about Summer’s life, to understand what drove her, to gain a deeper era understanding of the disco era, comes and goes as quickly and lightly...Each episode is given equal weight...and thus nearly no weight at all...What’s oddest is that the musical is trying to tell a story or make a point at all. It clearly wants to be nothing more than a concert, and that’s when it’s at its best." Full Review

Fordham Observer

"You must resign yourself to the fact that this is a musical with little plot and no substance and when you inevitably must learn to sit giddily in the delusional comforts of a musical made for Donna’s sake and Donna’s sake only...It may look like a perfect installation of the vacancies and cringe-worthy clichés that plague jukebox musicals. Its design may seem to hinge on a few painfully repetitive gags...Yet, somehow by the end of the musical, I was on my feet, silly with laughter." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"It works on a certain Times Square tourist attraction level, but as theatre, even as a jukebox musical, it fails to rise above the material. That being said, it is great to hear some of these golden songs again...LaChanze was absolutely the best and most exciting thing in this quick 100 minute musical, lazily directed by Des McAnuff...The book does little to flesh out the story of this young singer’s rise to fame beyond the obvious. It feels as generic as a Wikipedia read or an after school ... Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"If you are after an in-depth look at the life of Donna Summer, you won’t get that in the sketchy book...But if you just want to hear a reprise of Donna Summer’s hits, you’ll get that big time via the superb voices of the three performers who play the disco star...The account of Summer’s turbulent life is shallow, with representative scenes dutifully interspersed...Perhaps the juke box musical genre isn’t the platform for deep exploration...It is the singing that counts." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"A comic book set to top-40 tunes...So vacuous that I was reduced to helpless giggling almost before I got settled...On the other hand, the band is hot, the sets are slick, Trujillo’s dances are super-smooth, and you get to spend pretty much the whole evening listening to and looking at LaChanze to which there is no downside. Best of all, 'Summer' runs for an hour and 40 minutes with no intermission, meaning that you’ll be out the door almost before you lose your patience—but not quite." Full Review


“There's no shortage of vocal talent and that's the best thing I can say about the jukebox musical…The story of how the famed Queen of Disco ended up at the top of the charts is poorly told. But, fortunately, the music's the thing here, and on that front the show does not disappoint…The tunes that shot her to stardom in the '70s are thrillingly performed by a phenomenal trio of actresses…I would have loved to love this one, but despite some hot performances, ‘Summer’ was just lukewarm.” Full Review

Broadway Blog

"The men (how ironic) tasked with bringing your life to the stage have mostly missed the mark on curating the impactful touchpoints of your incredible journey, instead, including nearly every passing moment in a vertigo-inducing array of vignettes that overlap versions of yourself...While the creative team may have been stacked with men, they smartly cast a kick-ass ensemble of women who play men in an exciting twist of gender-bending. If only the musical’s book was as innovative. " Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“A relatively respectable attempt to pay tribute to the music. This is achieved by the consummate performances of Lever, DeBose, and LaChanze...Singularly or together, they fuse their vocal virtuosity, conjure up the spirit and presence of the legendary songstress...Although McAnuff has put together a slick production, the streamlined biography that is provided by the inept book...reduces the proceedings to the level of an extravagant Las Vegas lounge act." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"It’s probably inaccurate to say that most theatergoers would be disappointed by 'Summer: The Donna Summer Musical'; – because few would expect much in the first place from yet another commercial bio drama jukebox musical. That it falls short of its potential is only surprising because of the creative team behind it...'Summer' touches on any of this (if at all) — along with almost everything else about her life — as if checking off biographical nuggets culled from a Wikipedia entry." Full Review

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Clever, Exquisite

See it if You grew up in the 1970's on disco music and enjoy the music of Donna Summer. The storyline was good and the cast had great voices.

Don't see it if If you don't like Donna Summer music or disco music. You are not into juke box musicals

Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Must see

See it if You are a fan of Ms. Summer and the genre of disco. The theater is transformed into a discotheque by the end. Actors are superb!

Don't see it if You expect to see Donna Summer reincarnated, visually and vocally. If you truly love the music of DS this will not disappoint.

Also The actors "play" to the audience, making them a part of the experienc... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Masterful, Must see, Resonant

See it if you like true stories and like disco!

Don't see it if you don’t want to know sensitive details of a celebrity or you’d rather a totally light hearted show

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing, Clever, Profound

See it if you can name 1 Donna Summer song! Wonderful female cast, costumes & storytelling. Can't believe it took me so long to see it. I was SO moved

Don't see it if you dislike biographical musicals? Though it moves quick, it's a bit sentimental.

Also I love that most of the cast & orchestra were women!!! Finally!!! It's... Read more Read less

Great singing, Great acting, Delightful, Great writing, Must see

See it if you love Donna Summers and her music. Gave a great insight to her life story. Very insightful. Did not realize what a brave strong woman she

Don't see it if you don't know her music

Delightful, Great singing, Great staging, Riveting

See it if If you enjoyed the Disco era, then this show is for you.

Don't see it if If you are looking for great theater, this isn't it. If you are looking for a wonderfully fun experience, then this IS IT!

Delightful, Entertaining, Great staging, Great singing, Must see

See it if Unique way of telling the story with 3 women interacting as a girl, a young woman and a mature woman. All set to spectacular music. must see

Don't see it if If you don’t like musicals

Entertaining, Great staging, Great singing, Must see, Relevant

See it if if you love the 80's and Donna Summer

Don't see it if you were not a fan of 80's music

Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Riveting

See it if you loved Donna Summers and want to see a beautifully sung/danced and staged musical about her life. Just go!

Don't see it if Don't like musical biopics or disco.

Great singing, Must see, Riveting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if Everything about this show was amazing... the actors, the singing, the storyline and the music takes you back to your younger days

Don't see it if Everyone would like this show

Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if Get singing, gorgeous costumes, interesting story woven back and forth in time.

Don't see it if If you don't like disco music.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you loved the 1980s and the disco era

Don't see it if you don't like disco and glitzy performances

Delightful, Must see, Great singing

See it if You want a front stage introduction to the life of Donna Summer. Amust see for disco and pop fans of the 70's and 80's.

Don't see it if If you don't like to dance.,

Great singing, Great staging, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if If you like Donna Summer

Don't see it if If u don’t like Donna Summer

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Delightful

See it if If you like Donna Summer songs. Audience gets pulled in2 story very easily. If you r 2 young to remember disco & want to try something new

Don't see it if Do not like disco music. P.S. on see it if- Christina, Lachanze's understudy, is very good.

Also The critics who came down hard on Summers' reviews are closed minded. ... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great singing, Great acting

See it if you like Donna Summers music and great actors portraying her

Don't see it if if you do not like Donna Summer

Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy wonderful biographical musicals.

Don't see it if you always look for something bad, because everything is great.

Entertaining, Absorbing, Exquisite, Delightful, Upbeat

See it if You enjoy musical theatre with fantastic music and lyrics. You appreciate celebrating the extraordinary Woman-Donna Summer-amazing story

Don't see it if you don’t like music

Also The cast was excellent. Singing and dancing joyful and nostalgic for a... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Must see, Great music

See it if you are a Donna Summers fan, her music and life story. This show is entertaining, the music is fantastic & the story line is touching.

Don't see it if you do not like 70s style disco music.

Entertaining, Great singing, Must see

See it if You grew up in the 70's and enjoyed the Disco era. The singing was terrific and the storyline interesting.

Don't see it if You do not like a show about a celebrity's life and do not appreciate the music of the 70's then you probably won't like this musical.

Great singing, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if Like her music and like bios.

Don't see it if You don't like stories of abuse or feel that her apology on gays wasn't good enough.

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You love the music of Donna Summer. The acting and singing were fantastic. I actually learned a lot about her life that I didn't know.

Don't see it if You don't like bio's. It's literally about her life story. Or if you don't like her music.

Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Must see, If u like donna summer music, this show is for u. it was a theatrical experience, with the audience on their feet, at the end.

See it if You love Donna Summer music and are interested in a real "fun" time.

Don't see it if You don't care for disco music, lavish costumes, and hi energy.

Entertaining, Great singing, Must see, Well presented, Innovatively told

See it if You enjoy fun, music, biographically based shows. Summer puts a spin on the jukebox musical by telling a story in a new way.

Don't see it if You don't like the jukebox type show, or if you don't like the music of Donna Summer.

Clever, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if If you love her music. Her story will move you more.

Don't see it if If you need an intermission

Cast & Creatives (34)