Sarah J

New York City | 25-34
About:  <3 theater, especially musicals. I want to feel something when I watch a show. I appreciate novelty. I consider >70 to be a pretty good score, rarely give >85
Reviews (165)
For a previous production
Upper W Side
Interesting costumes, Lavish, Dark
June 9th, 2022

See it if Erin Morley (Giula)'s beautiful soprano voice effortlessly makes all notes effervescent; you can feel her sweet lovingness. Rigoletto emotes

Don't see it if This is a harsh opera; read the synopsis and decide if it is fare you want to see.

Lots of double entendres, Delightful, Occasionally somewhat problematic, but also recognizes some of the problems, Funny, Fun
June 9th, 2022

See it if you want to watch a cast of people all of whom seem to be having a blast with references to 90s and musical comedy

Don't see it if you're looking for depth, or will be bothered by stereotypical characters (played comedically and lovingly), PG sexual humor.

Midtown W
Built for the black and brown community, including the queer black and brown community, Believable characters, Great acting, Great staging
June 1st, 2022

See it if you want very human portraits of people in terrible situations celebrating their beauty and humanity and offering softness

Don't see it if this show has covered almost all the traumatizing content at some point (most not on-stage, but discussed). Be ready for that.

Also I came at this play from the point of view of a queer white nonbinary ... Read more Read less

Higher quality than premise needed., Fanfic, Hilarious, Fluffy, Delightful
May 19th, 2022

See it if always wanted the sappy happy ending version of R&J; you like the 1960s Brooklyn aesthetic, looking for pure joy, actors having fun.

Don't see it if you don't like very traditional musical comedy. Characters are stereotypical. You know where the plot is going. Man plays woman for laughs.

During previews
Dreaming Zenzile
East Village
Intense, Great acting, Fantastic music, Exquisite
May 18th, 2022

See it if you love jazz music, emotional human portrayals of legendary figures

Don't see it if follow a linear storyline. This is a concert with memories, not always in order or clear when it's slipped away from the concert

Evocative and minimalist, Good sound design, Fantastic music, Mystical
May 18th, 2022

See it if you love sound, for music and for atmosphere, and electric folk music. You like being very close to expressive actresses.

Don't see it if the plot and themes are not necessarily deep

Midtown W
Kind, Joyful given the subject matter, Optimistic, Great singing, especially from ceci
May 16th, 2022

See it if you love latin music and dancing and culture. You like dramas involving loving families and friendships.

Don't see it if stereotypical nerds and gay man, though all characters are portrayed lovingly and there is much more to the gay man than his sexuality.

During previews
Ambitious and epic, Best seen in person, More of a concert than a show, Fantastic performing, Surround sound
March 25th, 2022

See it if using a musical language often reserved for traditional (esp Catholic) religion to describe other holy things appeals to you. Beautiful.

Don't see it if Animal Wisdom had more story. This is pure Experience. People sing and talk over each other to build a feeling. Possibly overwhelming.

Space Dogs
Midtown W
Bittersweet, Earnest, Excellent projections, Energetic, Sweet
March 20th, 2022

See it if you like fun overacting, pop-y rock music, dogs, great blend of high-and-low tech. You love dogs.

Don't see it if the idea of a mostly sweet musical about the cold war offends you, don't like "two people play multiple characters" storytelling shows.

During previews
Either story wants it's own musical, No nuance, Sad, Joyful, Great dancing
March 16th, 2022

See it if you love Irish dance and/or Bill T. Jones (my high exp were met). Enjoy watching empowered marginalized women, somewhat idealized world.

Don't see it if characters and situations don't develop much; a concept will be mentioned and returned to with dances in between. Overstated accents.

On Sugarland
East Village
Epic, Absolutely fantastic acting, Intense, Great staging, Great writing
March 13th, 2022

See it if Masterful. Every actor is 100% on; you feel things because all of them do. At turns tragic, funny, always real, surreal. Great characters.

Don't see it if you need a plot; this is more characterization / feeling. You want things spelled out. Content / trigger warning around war.

Victimhood focused, Preachy, Uneven, Intense, Thought-provoking
February 24th, 2022

See it if Real-feeling family comedy/drama w/ religion politics history and identity. Elodie great body language and kept long mono interesting.

Don't see it if Thesis appears to be: Jews are not safe anywhere but they're at least accepted in Israel. Jews should go there. Disagreeing is ignorant.

Also I feel it is important in this review to mention that I am Jewish, tho... Read more Read less

During previews
Black No More
Midtown W
Fantastic ensemble (also great leads, but the ensemble deserved a special shout out), Not even slightly subtle, Powerful singing, Great music, Excellent choreography
January 27th, 2022

See it if you love jazz, rap, and rock power ballads sung and danced by great talent. Special <3 for Tariq Trotter's winking portrayal of his char.

Don't see it if you like subtlety. Chars a bit static. Every char had ~3 songs with same message about their motivations. Race commentary mostly not new.

Sometimes hard to watch, Great music, Atmospheric
January 15th, 2022

See it if you like Duncan Sheik (this won't disappoint), amoral ghosts having way too much fun, moody historical atmosphere.

Don't see it if it uses racism as a plot point while still mostly centering the white characters, Mr Yasuhiro is depicted warmly, but not focal.

Company (Broadway)
Midtown W
Great staging, Surreal, Resonant, Laugh-out-loud funny
January 15th, 2022

See it if you like artistic license taken with classic shows, Patti Lupone, are in your 30s and unmarried and may relate.

Don't see it if You want Bobbie to sound like Bobby; many men in this role have had clear high voices, Katrina Lenk's is huskier and lower register.

Kimberly Akimbo
Biting, Funny, Heart-wrenching, Adorable
January 8th, 2022

See it if like plays about about family drama and young love. Music is great but it has the beats of a play in terms of where the humor and drama are.

Don't see it if Morality a bit simplistic; while there are reasons to like all characters, Kimberly always had the moral high ground. Chars felt <16yo

Excessively x-rated with content warnings, Neat set and costumes, Full of things to "process", Shattering, Funny (not only in the x-rated bits)
December 21st, 2021

See it if you want to examine how denying how your privilege is worse than merely having it, while sometimes laughing and sometimes wanting to vomit.

Don't see it if you don't want to watch a *lot* of on-stage sex, much of it questionably rape-y. You'll be bothered by bad therapy.

Lots of energy, Excellent costume, Touching, Angry, Funny
December 18th, 2021

See it if you like one-person shows where the actor is reflecting on their lives with a ton of energy, and stories of collective action.

Don't see it if you don't like anti-Trump statements, you don't want to relive 2020, occasional very slightly crass humor will bother you.

Also I watched this on livestream. It was a good livestream, but it wanted ... Read more Read less

During previews
The Visitor
East Village
Heartfelt, Cliched, Preachy, Great staging
October 27th, 2021

See it if You like sweet stories of human connection that feels real in both its saccharine and depressing moments. Great choreography and staging.

Don't see it if it will bother you that this show is preachy and not written by refugees themselves (I think?) that is about refugee trauma.

Also Tarek was being played by an understudy on the night I watched him, an... Read more Read less

Great music, Powerful singing, Intense
October 17th, 2021

See it if you love powerful voices and performances, artistically and not realistically staged. You like nuanced stories.

Don't see it if It's a story about the effects of racism, in particular how well-meaning-ness does not mitigate it, written by a white Jew.

By Heart
Powerful, Beautiful, Funny, Moving, Delightful
October 13th, 2021

See it if you see theater as a way to connect to people and stories, can revel in the beauty of words, will follow a passionate charismatic person.

Don't see it if bored watching people memorize. He teaches them in an entertaining manner, and provides meaning to it, but it does require repetition.

During previews
Sanctuary City
West Village
Relevant, Circular arguments, Heartfelt, Relatable
March 5th, 2020

See it if you connect with having a friend you would do anything for, and are interested in what stretching those bounds looks like.

Don't see it if you're looking for new; if you've been paying attention you know the horrors faced by immigrants. This doesn't go deeper.

Also the dialogue is very naturalistic. It hits a point where people's argu... Read more Read less

Sweet, Funny
February 10th, 2020

See it if You enjoy laughing at an Orthodox Jewish life as discussed by an Orthodox Jew. It's a loving portrait by an insider.

Don't see it if Comedic irreverence towards religion will bother you. If reverence towards religion will bother you - it's clear he loves his religion.

During previews
Sing Street
East Village
Great sibling relationship, Heartfelt, Delightful, Finding joy in a harsh environment
December 6th, 2019

See it if you love 80s music; I don't but found the love for it in the script and costumes and characters infectious.

Don't see it if looking for a very tight story; it tells lots of stories intersecting without enough time for depth given to any given one. Like High School

During previews
November 1st, 2019

See it if you've been at a loss for words over a piece of art, and find beauty in the ephemeral nature of music.

Don't see it if this show is one man telling a story about seeing a concert; it is not always riveting.

Delightful, Funny, Personal, Heartfelt
October 21st, 2019

See it if you enjoy cabaret-style family histories, musing on humanity and where people come from. I left the theater humming.

Don't see it if you're looking for insights into Judaism itself; these are Jewish stories because they're about Jews. Some NSFW content done lovingly.

October 21st, 2019

See it if you like any kind of comedy; there's excellent physical comedy and dry humor both in this show.

Don't see it if you'll be too embarrassed for the characters to enjoy it

Also The meta here is amazing; the Playbill actually contained the informat... Read more Read less

Round Table
Midtown E
The author has actually done her larp research -- the larp humor was actually funny to this larper, Relatable, Funny, Cute
October 17th, 2019

See it if you can empathize with people who can find meaning in taking themselves seriously in a fantasy world; you like rom-coms.

Don't see it if you'll write off roleplaying as "too weird for you" you're bothered by cringe-y romcom humor, or very occasional swearing.

Also I'm a larper. This was one of the most accurate depictions of larping ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absurdist, Slightly preachy, Funny and sad, Memorable characters, Evocative set/costume/sound desgin
October 6th, 2019

See it if you'd like an absurdist play about how and why to keep living when everything seems awful. Reminded me of The Children

Don't see it if you won't laugh at humor in a bleak world; you need a through-line story with resolution

Ludwig and Bertie
East Village
Impressively on-point makeup/costume, Informative, Good acting
October 5th, 2019

See it if you love Bertrand Russel, Ludwig Wittgenstein or philosphy/logic. I delighted in seeing them come to life. I enjoyed Ludwig's development.

Don't see it if your idea of entertainment does not include surface level discussions of European male philosophical ideas. This play isn't more.

Beautiful, Spiritual, Romantic, Personal
October 4th, 2019

See it if you'd like to see a beautiful story about finding light in love, and finding and living and sharing your truth when we're all afraid.

Don't see it if you need high production values (don't sit in the back row); won't sit through 2 1/2 (connection b/w plays non-obvious awhile)

Raunchy humor, Excellently atmospheric set, Evocative movement
October 3rd, 2019

See it if you want to spend a night watching sexy dancers in moulin rouge attire in a red-lit bar space. It's a show that loves showmanship.

Don't see it if you're looking for story or much characterization. Things don't develop as much as evoke feelings.

Low budget, Fun shakespeare twist, Fun costumes
September 11th, 2019

See it if see what Marc Antony's "Friends Romans Countrymen" speech would sound like in an 80s Sci Fi Dystopia, or what Cleopatra would wear.

Don't see it if You're looking for a polished production; this theater is good for taking a chance on new writers with low budgets.

During previews
runboyrun & IN OLD AGE
East Village
Powerful, Phenomenal acting, I almost cried at run boy run., In old age drags sometimes, and is stronger if you know more of abasiama's story, Please keep in mind these are 2 plays in a 9-play cycle about the same family.
September 5th, 2019

See it if <3 RunBoyRun. Felt Mom's fear, anger & love, the sister's love, the boy & Disciple's pain. It's beautiful. In Old Age tells a powerful story

Don't see it if you don't have patience. Both shows are slow to start, especially if you don't have the context of her other plays about the same family.

Costumes telling of characters, Great acting, Minimalist, Powerful
August 12th, 2019

See it if You like actors' shows: even the minor characters (like Motl's Mother) have recognizable characterizations. Minimalist set lets chorus shine

Don't see it if you'll be bothered by a very binary understanding of gender - it is a show about a tradition

Also This Tevye is excellent; he feels more vulnerable than previous Tevye'... Read more Read less

Midsummer: A Banquet
Greenwich V
Hilarious, Magical atmosphere, Delicious food, Entertaining, Delightful
August 11th, 2019

See it if you like atmosphere. The smells and sights and sounds of this production were great. Pyramus and Thisbe is hilarious, actors were having fun

Don't see it if lacking some sight lines will bother you; there are columns throughout the center of the area being used as a stage.

Road Show
Midtown W
Confusing, Great acting
August 1st, 2019

See it if you want to see Raul Esparza charm sleazily, but happily, Jin Ha steal your heart, and Brandon Urowitz act his heart out. The actors had fun

Don't see it if you're looking for a deep show. This one doesn't quite know what it wants to be. It re-hashes a lot of its sound from older Sondheim shows.

During previews
Exquisite, Resonant, Great staging, Excellent music
April 3rd, 2019

See it if You love folk music. If you saw it at NYTW, the new version has more character depth and neat choreography and is worth re-seeing.

Don't see it if you're looking for something naturalistic; this is over the top in the tradition of greek theater.

During previews
The Mortality Machine
Lower E Side
Unique, Immersive, Thought-provoking, Intense
January 13th, 2019

See it if you want more interactivity than Sleep No More. You are given your own character to play and experience the world through.

Don't see it if You have to know exactly what is going on. Even at the end, I was not fully clear on all implications until talking to designer afterwards.

Also At the door, you're told you should "be brave" and "vulnerable" can "F... Read more Read less

During previews
Banal, Disappointing, Interesting idea, Good $5 beer
April 24th, 2018

See it if you like awkward comedy that plays on people's insecurities, overstated. You like the platonic ideal of bar conversations.

Don't see it if you'd like the conversation to be particularly interesting or deep. Actor-improved spontaneous group conversation sounds great. This isn't.

Midtown W
Ambitious, Cerebral, Wordy, Farcical
April 24th, 2018

See it if you want a cerebral discussion on the importance of art &anti-art in the face of political realities, but certainly not taken too seriously

Don't see it if you don't want to listen to LOTS of words; I almost think this play is better read than seen. The women are not as interesting as the men.

Dark, Entertaining, Great music, Raunchy
March 18th, 2018

See it if You like shows led by strong personalities and great music. You like raunchy humor (a whole section is devoted to double-entendre).

Don't see it if you don't want a relentlessly depressing story, are looking for something romantic (this couple only barely works as a couple)

Disconcerting, Ambitious, Great direction, Vivid characterization
March 18th, 2018

See it if you want to see an excellent production of a hard show by a small theater. They make use of their space well.

Don't see it if you'll be bothered by guns pointing directly at the audience, lack of props. Usual "this is about killing presidents" apply.

During previews
The Stone Witch
Midtown W
Great set, Enchanting, Disconnected, Cliched, Heartfelt
March 15th, 2018

See it if you like stories of art/commerce and age. The magic of children's stories is a great backdrop, but not focused enough for the main draw

Don't see it if you need a tight script. Points about living through the war were not fully explored, but were also not really the point.

Folk Wandering
Midtown W
Heartfelt, Cute
March 8th, 2018

See it if you like vignettes of Americana set to good music.

Don't see it if the vignettes are not quite long enough to go deep with any one of them, thus making the characters feel a tad stock.

During previews
An Ordinary Muslim
East Village
Relevant, Too long
February 9th, 2018

See it if you like family drama plays and want to understand the Muslim experience better. Takes place in Britain, but has a lot to say about US.

Don't see it if you're looking for a tight play (does not need all 2 hrs 40 mins of runtime), you'll be offended by frank tear downs of white liberalism

Earnestly acted, Some good songs, Loving, community theater feel, Storyline kind of all over the place, Long
February 2nd, 2018

See it if you like songs that tell stories and give character, you want to support community theater.

Don't see it if you like your stories crisp. This is a bit disjointed. It's hard to like the main character for most of the show. Lots of talk of death

The Children
Midtown W
Funny, Brooding, Slow burn, Relatable, Pervaded by a sense of doom and dread
February 1st, 2018

See it if You'd like a play about the past having consequences, musing on age, love, responsibility, some natural and some absurdity

Don't see it if you're uninterested in the problems of old people, need a show full of action, want to leave the theater hopeful and happy.

Delightful, Life-affirming, Great staging, Heartwarming
January 27th, 2018

See it if you want to rejoice at humanity. This is a show about the joys of human connection.

Don't see it if you have a problem with simplifying stories. While the show doesn't shy away from Islamophobia, entirely, it's mostly telling kind stories

During previews
Jimmy Titanic
Funny, Great characterization, Wildly varying tone
January 24th, 2018

See it if you'd like funny vignettes of an irreverent Christian heaven mixed with poignant vignettes about the Titanic.

Don't see it if you'll be offended by an irreverent portrayal of the afterlife. Despite enjoying the portrayals, I'm not sure this made sense done one-man