Oo-Bla-Dee NJ Reviews and Tickets

75%
(11 Reviews)
Positive
73%
Mixed
18%
Negative
9%
Members say
Great singing, Entertaining, Great staging, Disappointing, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Two River's new production follows Evelyn Waters and the Diviners, an all-black, all-female jazz band, as they travel from St. Louis to Chicago in order to set up a record deal following the end of World War II.

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Member Reviews (11)

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68
Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Slow, Ambitious

See it if you're interested in black people's perspective of life in the midwest in the 1940s, or if you enjoy seeing new shows that have potential.

Don't see it if you're expecting a full-blown musical or a script with interesting or captivating characters and natural language. Read more

49
Program notes are the only exposition provided, Unengaging score, Unclear of heroine's want, Thin characters, Confusing

See it if don't mind jazz-inflected musical snippets rather than real book musical songs. Left at intermission as nothing had happened in all of Act 1

Don't see it if are annoyed by overly poetic dialogue and stock characters. A fabulous subject (all-female, all-black jazz group in 1940s) is squandered

During previews
75
Needs further development, Good bones, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy a show that has great potential, but needs significant additional work. The production team is talented enough to pull it off

Don't see it if seeing a not quite ready for prime time show is not something you want to see Read more

During previews
74
Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Great singing, Slow, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy jazz music. The "real" band was good and the actors were okay. Disappointed the actors were not playing the instruments.

Don't see it if You want a fast moving story. It was okay but nothing special. Found myself nodding off a bit....

During previews
78
Entertaining, Great staging, Great singing

See it if You enjoy good singing and music in a variety of genres Learning about the history of black women/people in the music business

Don't see it if You don’t think it’s worth traveling to Red Bank NJ You don’t care about hearing soul stirring music

During previews
80
Great staging, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You like jazz music, stories of female empowerment, thought-provoking portrayal of the struggle against prejudice

Don't see it if You want light entertainment or a child-friendly show

During previews
77
Disappointing, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You know more about the story-got a bit lost in the first half-

Don't see it if You do not like somewhat of a historical play Read more

During previews
80
Great singing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You like period pieces (in this case the 1940s) focusing on the African American experience at that time.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals and. multi-character dramas.

Critic Reviews (3)

BroadwayWorld
June 18th, 2019

“ Ruben Santiago-Hudson expertly directs the production. This show is a treasure. Beautifully crafted and presented, it blends music, poetry and storytelling...The cast couldn't be better. They capture the humor and the drama of the story as it unfolds...You'll be very impressed by the music that accompanies ‘Oo-Bla-Dee’ and the musicians that make it happen...An insightful show, a jazz lover's experience, and one that you should put on your summer entertainment schedule.”
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NJ.com
June 26th, 2019

"Under the direction of Santiago-Hudson, this jazz musical hums with tones both celebratory and somber. It is not a piece of work as successful as 'Crowns,' weighed down at times by dialogue that withholds music, but its high points are nonetheless exuberant, and its social commentary poignant and uncompromising...'Oo-Bla-Dee' develops unique and compelling texture to its story...Despite all its rhythm, the play also cultivates a curious stodginess in its non-musical moments."
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NJArts.net
June 27th, 2019

"Has some intriguing elements but lacks a compelling central story to tie it all together. And so it never really coheres into something that’s fully engaging...In one of director Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s best touches, the actors don’t really pretend to be playing, but move gracefully, almost like dancers, as the musicians expertly handle the actual music. We feel like we’re seeing the music, in addition to hearing it."
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