Sarah J

Somerville | 25-34
About:  <3 theater, especially musicals. I want to feel something when I watch a show.
Reviews (128)
90
During previews
Exquisite, Resonant, Great staging, Excellent music

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.

45
During previews
Banal, Disappointing, Interesting idea, Good $5 beer

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.

74
Dark, Entertaining, Great music, Raunchy

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)

76
During previews
Great set, Enchanting, Disconnected, Cliched, Heartfelt

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.

65
During previews
Relevant, Too long

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

73
Funny, Brooding, Slow burn, Relatable, Pervaded by a sense of doom and dread

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.

71
During previews
Funny, Great characterization, Wildly varying tone

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

85
During previews
Great acting, Great staging, Theatrical - they do a lot with little, Long

See it if you like musing on truth and history with excellent actors bringing over the top characters to life

Don't see it if you like more naturalistic theater. The courtroom drama gives interesting characters, framing and staging, but is very theater-not-real

90
Great acting, Frighteningly relevant, Relatable, Adorable, Moving

See it if you'd like to see a loving, empathetic portrayal of a man who stood up for his beliefs against racism. Excellent performance and direction.

Don't see it if you're looking for something unique, or need more than one voice. Great execution, but nothing stood out to me as breaking new ground.

95
During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Resonant, Actually immersive

See it if you want a unique theatrical experience that actually gives you the feeling of being a protester. It draws you in.

Don't see it if you need a linear storyline. It is an experience, not a play. It's not sympathetic to the other side. In Ukrainian, but understandable.

Also The real question is: do you want to be a revolutionary? If yes, "see"... Read more Read less

99
Beautiful music, Beautiful lighting, Moving, Almost-concert, Must see

See it if you love southern folk and rock, characterizations, raw personal storytelling, unique theater.

Don't see it if bothered by part new-age part Christian spiritual talking to ghosts. The experience still works if you don't "buy" her metaphor however.

75
During previews
Enchanting

See it if you're interested in a discussion on art and money. You love Stravinsky or Disney or both. You like sparse shows.

Don't see it if just enough real history to not have quite a satisfying story. I know Fantasia 2000 exists and they have a beautifully animated Firebird.

90
Funny, Intelligent, Tear-jerking, Great writing, Beautiful

See it if You want to laugh. You want to cry. You have to want to do both those things, though the crying didn't hit me until the very end.

Don't see it if You don't want to hear about death and meaning (or lack thereof) in life and in grief in a comedy. It's 90 minutes of mostly 2 guys talking.

93
Creepy, Sexy, Immersive, Intense, Great dancing

See it if you love atmosphere, especially of the noir and jazz variety. You enjoy evocative theatrical movement.

Don't see it if you will be bothered by strangers in the dark accidentally bumping into you as they navigate poorly lit areas with running actors.

85
Hilarious, Great writing, Intelligent, Raunchy, Delightful

See it if you love math or poetry. You love plotting where every line counts. This is my favorite play.

Don't see it if you don't like very wordy plays, you won't enjoy connecting who in the present is wrong about what in the past.

66
During previews
Charming, Relevant

See it if you want to celebrate the Jewish experience with alternating fun and touching performances.

Don't see it if you'd like characters. This is a concert about Jewish immigration than a story. Immigration itself is more a main character than the names.

69
Entertaining, Adorable, Funny, Informative

See it if you're interested in neuroscience explained well and interspersed with comedy and freestyle. I learned a lot. Love between leads is adorable

Don't see it if you don't like: white guy rap, dark basements, self-deprecating humor relying in part on competent woman less competent man tropes.

96
Gorgeous singing, Hilarious, Great staging, Jump-scare terrifying, Clever

See it if you like immersive theater. Actors make the parts their own. Judge+Sweeney duets gorgeous. Timing is perfect. Sitting at tables worth it.

Don't see it if don't like audience interaction. Sweeney would yell directly at audience members which was scary... but also made horrifying scenes funny

80
Great music, Thought-provoking, Sparse

See it if you want a quiet history composed by Sondheim. Stripped down, it becomes more about Kayama, and the actor does a great job with that.

Don't see it if you don't like things stripped down, without linear plot. it's a white composer, librettist, and director telling a Japanese story.

86
During previews
Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want intimate, real-feeling family experience with Nigerian Americans at the forefront written by one. Every prop has a story.

Don't see it if you don't like family dramas that take place largely in real time in one room.

90
During previews
Riveting, Hilarious, Great writing, Human, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy watching diplomacy, but with characters that feel like people. 3 hours discussing a piece of paper. I was riveted the whole tim

Don't see it if you can't take the 3 hours. I also think it was somewhat more flattering to Palestinians than Israelis? It wasn't trying to be.

83
Intentional pressure-cooking slow build-up, Intense, Absorbing, Uneven, Relevant

See it if you like stories about humanity, inhumanity, and the effects of trauma; you love chess (it's fun to watch games and listen to chess talk).

Don't see it if you won't enjoy a script that at turns punches you in the gut with pure humanity but at other times pushes plausibility

90
During previews
Exquisite, Intimate, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Mesmerizing

See it if you love personal stories, especially of female empowerment, culture, art, and Japanese internment camps. You love quiet puppetry art.

Don't see it if you can't be patient with single-voiced narration. You need a thread to move with plot, rather than feelings and thoughts.

89
Great set and costumes, Dizzying, Great singing, Lively, Unique

See it if you like spectacle. The whole theater becomes a stage. There's a lot of energy, and I haven't seen something on-Broadway like it.

Don't see it if You're looking for plot, will be overwhelmed overly-stimulating staging and lots of strobe lights

85
Great acting, Great set, Entertaining, Slice-of-life

See it if It would be a shame to miss John Douglas Thompson's beautiful portrayal. The last scene of Act 1 left me breathless.

Don't see it if you don't want to work through the accents; you want a play that is more about plot than watching a few days in the lives of some characters

72
During previews
Unique, Immersive, Thought-provoking, Intense

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

70
Ambitious, Cerebral, Wordy, Farcical

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 to seriously

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

85
Disconcerting, Ambitious, Great direction, Vivid characterization

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.

76
Heartfelt, Cute

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.

68
Earnestly acted, Some good songs, Loving, community theater feel, Storyline kind of all over the place, Long

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

91
Delightful, Life-affirming, Great staging, Heartwarming

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

71
During previews
Interesting staging, Takes on way too much, Great performances by billie jean king's lovers, Frenetic, Long

See it if you're interested in several different neat ways to stage tennis, and a lecture on feminism and Billie Jean King.

Don't see it if you'll be bothered by the surface level discussion of ALL THINGS GENDER. The fact that Caitlyn Jenner isn't a man is used as a joke once.

73
Nostalgic, Entertaining

See it if you like characterization; each of these girls is a fully fleshed out human just in the conversations before a soccer game.

Don't see it if bouncing between talking about the Khmer Rouge, periods, soccer and more all at the same time with same significance will bother you

73
During previews
Great singing, Emotionally raw music, Indulgent

See it if you want to be transported by music. Sound design makes this well worth seeing live. The performers are great. Muse on love, time, and fear.

Don't see it if you can't empathize with the protagonist for whom love comes with terror based on past trauma and a dream

77
During previews
Beautiful music, Understated, Funny, Quiet, Passionate

See it if you revel in music, especially Arabic and Jewish music. You like quiet slices of life. See it to watch Katrina Lenk's fantastic performance.

Don't see it if you like plot or spectacle, you're not good with accents

63
Earnest, Amusing, Fluffy

See it if you like old-school musicals with simplistic love plots punctuated by pretty songs and amusing over-the-top performances. Good live music.

Don't see it if you're looking for good writing; I think maybe the bookwriter was trying to translate Chinese directly? Some points overly belabored.

80
High energy, Hummable tunes, Optimistic, Kid friendly, Kindhearted

See it if you'd like to support a show where kids with disabilities are represented, with a great cast that empathizes with the children they play.

Don't see it if You don't have 3-8 year olds. It's a simplistic storyline about overcoming anxieties due to kindness and friendship.

Also I am very happy there is representation and it is definitely coming fr... Read more Read less

70
Absurd, Weird, Neat staging

See it if you like neat ways to stage stories, movement-based silent stories, the absurd

Don't see it if you're looking for storylines you can follow, you don't see the absurd or beautiful in the tragic

73
Resonant, Ambitious, Symbolic, Personal, Passionate

See it if you enjoy compassionate minimalist movement-based storytelling of truth-based military stories from women. Some staging was gorgeous.

Don't see it if it's about celebrating women in combat not questioning the war. Some tripping over lines, some hard-to-follow symbolic bits, sound issues.

79
Clever, Great acting, Intense, Funny

See it if you love Sondheim, are interested in US history, like the performers.

Don't see it if subject matter bothers you; you don't like concert productions where they're still figuring out sound and aren't off-book.

80
During previews
Intimate, Passionate, Historic

See it if You like period soap operas. You are interested in a story written by a nineteenth century woman told by a production team of women.

Don't see it if you're looking for an empowering piece. This is focused on the suffocating environment of the 1800s and relationships.

Also If you sit on the far side next to the pole characters will block each... Read more Read less

75
Quirky, Ambitious, Thrilling

See it if you like escape rooms with production values. The actors are totally in their roles. Hints are therefore ore interesting.

Don't see it if you're looking for challenging escape room with very clever puzzles. The storyline is not entirely coherent.

67
Political, Uneven, Funny

See it if you like modern re-stagings, great use of extras.

Don't see it if you can't get over Trump-as-Caesar. The metaphor didn't really work for me.

85
During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like the intimate made grand-scale dramatic. You want the background on Her Portmanteau. You want to watch an immigrant experience.

Don't see it if you like the intimacy of Her Portmanteau.

61
Ambitious, Funny, Disconnected

See it if you'll have fun with the occasional bidding, you'll enjoy laughing at the art world's absurdities.

Don't see it if you're looking for plot, or depth. There are lots of disconnected scenes, many are done well, but no time for develpment.

58
Quirky

See it if you'll like looking at antique puppets and hearing a story with adult (mostly political) humor told the way one would a child.

Don't see it if you can't let yourself run with absurd childlike stories with no depth (this was lacking even fairy tale depth).

65
Entertaining, Great music, Great acting, Raunchy, Quirky

See it if you like David Malloy music; dramatic rock/folk stuff. You like charismatic actors obviously having a good time.

Don't see it if half the show is dance sex; if you will be bored of dance sex, give this a pass.`

92
During previews
Delightful, Funny, Poignant, Entertaining, Meditative

See it if you like quiet, intimate magic/clowning/storytelling shows.

Don't see it if you're looking for plot, or a lot of depth. You don't like any audience participation.

83
For a previous production
Excellent music, Great singing, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if you want a beautiful meditation on art, connection, choices. This is my favorite musical of all time.

Don't see it if you only want to see Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin in these roles. Current actors are great, but they have a very different take.

99
Great staging, Great writing, Full of energy, Riveting

See it if you revel in words, history, choreography, and human understanding. It's worth the hype.

Don't see it if you only want to hear the original cast