Already closed | 2h 30m | Midtown W

(A)loft Modulation

From 49 member  reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Slow

About the show

Inspired by true events at 821 6th Ave between 1957 – 1965, this world premiere play with jazz traces the turbulent, roiling obsessions of artists and loiterers in their pursuit of purpose. More…

From the show:

A gritty, dilapidated five-floor walk-up in Manhattan’s seedy flower district is an after-hours haunt of musicians, artists, junkies and prostitutes. The fuse of American culture burns below the surface. It’s the last explosive heyday of jazz and the inhabitants of the building jam night after night, while a compulsive photographer documents everything with round-the-clock reel-to-reel recordings and photographs.

Inspired by true events at 821 6th Ave between 1957 – 1965, (A)loft Modulation traces the turbulent, roiling obsessions of artists and loiterers in their pursuit of purpose, while social chaos seeks to overthrow American culture. It’s angst vs. contentment, selfishness vs. benevolence, artist vs. layman – a struggle that plays out through the fractured lens of unlabeled reel-to-reel tapes which are stumbled upon 60-years after they were recorded.

Member Reviews (49)


Ambitious, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Slow
Avg Score

Edgy, Indulgent, Slow, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if Docu-drama about early '60's jazz scene scores highest w/ live jazz combo providing vibrant underscoring Sosko & Hudson - good work as leads

Don't see it if Play seems to be designed as a jazz riff - improvised, elongated, repeatedly staccato Fails as a dramatic motif causing muddled confusion

Complex format, Edgy, Resonant, Intense, Ambitious

See it if for the unusual simultaneous 3 part plot structure, marvelous live jazz & fascinating story of fame, obsession and failure.

Don't see it if you dislike complex experimental performance in which the sounds overlap sometimes causing important words to be lost.

Quirky, Intense, Edgy, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if If you have an interest in Jazz and enjoy a good combo playing live music . The story is based on an actual location mid 50’thru mid 60’s.

Don't see it if If you want an easy to follow light drama.

Too long by (appropriately) at least a fifth, Great music and combo, Intelligent, verbose, Great set, lights, sound and projections, Ambitious

See it if You’re a jazz and/or jazz history fan; into a terrific live jazz combo, great visuals and a fine cast and performances.

Don't see it if You can’t deal with a long, layered and dense two and a half hours of dissertation and music that in the end don't really go anywhere.

Also “Passion is…necessary to all creative endeavors,” said photographer W.... Read more Read less

Confusing, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if if you want a well staged ecological kind of take on an interesting spot in music/photography history with some interesting moments.

Don't see it if Mind a play that can be confusing and too long. don't like jazz, as quiet a bit of it is played.

Also Play should be praised for its staging which is quiet ambitious and we... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Slow, Indulgent, Confusing, Absorbing

See it if The live jazz is great (I raised my score 5 points because of it), the set is well-designed, and the story is interesting.

Don't see it if It's also confusing, all over the place, longer than needed, & left unresolved. I liked it, but it's eminently skippable unless you <3 jazz.

Intense, Intelligent, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in NYC history and/or jazz history. are patient and can allow an intelligent sweeping recreation to unfold. cool jazz too

Don't see it if you are not interested in the above -- and you need a polished, trimmed, theatrical endeavor. perhaps it could have been tightened.

Great staging, Banal, Disappointing, Quirky, Slow

See it if you want a interesting concept, good acting but overly long play

Don't see it if confusing, pointless play

Thought-provoking, Slow, Live jazz, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if Fictionalized story of 'The Jazz Loft' 821 6th Avenue, where photographer W. Eugene Smith maniacally photographed & taped thousand of hours

Don't see it if Script way too long, and not as interesting as it could be.

Also of jazz artists performing & getting stoned in the loft from 1957- 196... Read more Read less

Banal, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if You feel like spending your time trying to figure out if this is a musical a satire a throw back commentary not quite sure what

Don't see it if You prefer a well constructed piece

Great staging, Slow, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if If you want to be challenged by a jazz & photography inspired piece that makes us examine the institutionalized we live in.

Don't see it if You don't like Jazz and need a tidy, tight narrative as this piece rambles a bit and is somewhat long.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Resonant, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if you love jazz from the 60s & verisimilitude, a kind of real akin to Anna Deveare Smith's work crossed w/the Wooster Group, composition-wow!

Don't see it if you want straight forward narrative, female agency, plot or entertainment - this is brilliant art about questions of art and life to ponder.

Jazz music, Epic, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy Jazz and historic documentation, great performances and excellent staging. It reflects obsessions and the resulting affects.

Don't see it if you can't sit for too long, its long and absorbing, but there is an intermission.

Chaotic, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like jazz, gritty NYC life, and/or know the great photojournalist W. Eugene Smith.

Don't see it if Chaotic tales, and not particularly pretty ones, jangle you.

Excruciating, Ambitious, Disappointing

See it if You have patience with a work in progress. The acting and music was good. Cut down and crystallized it might work.

Don't see it if You like traditional plays with a linear plot or iif you like a fast pace.

Masterful, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you like jazz music, inventive set design, and an absorbing story with lots of little twists.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy jazz music, you need to have a linear plot, you don't like stories about junkies, vagrants, and prostitutes.

Intelligent, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a play staged as jazz. There’s so much going on! Not for the casual theatergoer. Highly recommended.

Don't see it if You can’t handle a 2-hr play, complex staging, black and white photos, and jazz.

Also Thank you, Jaymes Jorsling!!!!

Great music, Great staging, Intense

See it if You are a fan of jazz - the music is outstanding.

Don't see it if The narrative device where it goes back and forth in time, and the tapes stuff was confusing.

Slow, Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you don't want to understand the actors (audibility,diction,clarity), do want to go on a kind of free-form bebop elegiac unintelligible trip

Don't see it if you want a discernible plot, understandable characters, emotional involvement or meaningful staging.

Entertaining, Clever

See it if you like modern jazz (no melody or coherence) and quasi-coherent noisy story telling.

Don't see it if You dislike modern jazz and scenes from two time periods performed simultaneously punctuated with vulgar jokes..

Also Good acting, wonderful musicians performing incoherent music. I really... Read more Read less

Relevant, Refreshing, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if You have a passion for Jazz and enjoy theatre based on unique historical story-lines.

Don't see it if If you don’t have patience for lengthy material and dislike Jazz.

Good music, Chaotic in a good way, Must see, Intense, Absorbing

See it if You like jazz music, photography, or questions of life.

Don't see it if you are super young (16+) or are not a fan of jazz

Also It is really cool to find visuals that feel the same way it does to li... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great singing, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if You're looking for a thought provoking piece of theatre with fascinating ideas, helmed by a great director with great music.

Don't see it if You can't handle a play thats more than 2 hours. This play is sometimes uneven. But the good certainly outweighs anything less meaningful.

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if A very import, mostly unknown part of New York Jazz history.It's a complex play: beautiful multi-media staging with live band. .

Don't see it if Play is over 90 minutes. Plot points not obviously sign posted - if you don't have advance Loft knowledge you may struggle with the story

Also After seeing (a) Loft Modulation I want to learn more about this fasci... Read more Read less

During previews
Satisfying, Meandering, Ambitious, Slow, Confusing

See it if You like jazz. This show, like jazz, is a bit all over the place at once yet ultimately leaves you feeling satisfied with a tied up ending.

Don't see it if You’re not willing to sit through two and a half hours of sometimes near excruciating dialogue that is seemingly going nowhere, & live jazz.

Also There were moments I thought I would crawl out of my skin during this ... Read more Read less

October 3rd, 2019
"A Jazzy Fusion of Fact and Fiction in '(A)loft Modulation': Jaymes Jorsling's new play makes its world premiere, presented by the American Vicarious."
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October 3rd, 2019
"New York ghosts consider the meaning of life and art in the jazz-fueled '(A)LOFT MODULATION' at A.R.T./NY Theatres"
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October 4th, 2019
"…underneath the tumult -- the jazz riffs, verbal smackdowns, steamy sex, drug taking, blaring radios, scrolling images of contact sheets, and much more -- it's hard to detect much of a dramatic beat. Or maybe there's too much of one: '(A)loft Modulation' teems with so many plot lines that they c...
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October 4th, 2019
2/5 Stars "'Obsessive Behavior and All That Jazz': A bluesy atmosphere and musical performances enhance an awfully talky new drama"
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Cast & Creatives (3)