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All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

From 14 critic and 99 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Absorbing, Resonant, Intelligent, Profound

About the show

Through new arrangements of European carols and war-songs, "All Is Calm" recalls the remarkable World War I truce between Allied Forces and German soldiers in No Man's Land on Christmas, 1914. More…

The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing "Stille Nacht." Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace. A remarkable true story, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it.

Stage Left

“A beautifully moving epistolary oratorio about the remarkable true story of British, French, and German soldiers emerging from their trenches and ceasing conflict on Christmas Eve 1914 to celebrate together. Gorgeously sung by an ensemble of ten men, and keenly structured and staged with gripping immediacy and emotion, this tribute to an unheralded moment in an increasingly forgotten war provides a glimpse of our common humanity at its greatest.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“’All Is Calm’ is the kind of work that makes you want to shout its greatness from the rooftops...It’s the studied minimalism of ‘All Is Calm’ that gives it its power, driving an emotional tempest that won’t soon be forgotten...As the story unfolds Rothstein reveals a work of visual poetry...The cast comprise a singular, well-oiled machine, their acting versatile and compelling. But it is their vocal prowess that’s electrifying. Every voice is a musical instrument.” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"One of the most special of the well over 200 shows I've covered this year…The company gives remarkably harmonious voice to song after song, with Lichte and Takach's exquisite arrangements...They also deliver their spoken lines with truth and theatrical force…The set is merely an arrangement of wooden boxes, allowing Rothstein to move his ensemble about in gorgeously arranged tableaux, given exceptionally beautiful chiaroscuro lighting by Marcus Dillard." Full Review


“Hands down, the most emotionally moving Christmas show I've ever seen...Lichte and Takach's gorgeous a cappella arrangements of popular songs...underscore testimonies in multipart harmony, making the play feel like a live Ken Burns documentary...Rothstein stages it all with cinematic fluidity...A true ensemble piece...It's hard not to get choked up with performances as honest and unvarnished as these.” Full Review

Tim Teeman

"On a simple and stark black stage, with occasional jets of theatrical smoke to evoke the battlefield, the play intersperses popular songs sung by soldiers of the time with actors reading the memories and letters home of real soldiers and famous poets of the era...This fantastic company of actors sing beautifully in harmony and a capella...The superb 'All Is Calm' leaves us mulling the terrible futility and cost of war, while crystallizing a moment of beautiful humanity." Full Review


"In this deeply moving production, the actors give voice to the real-life words of a variety of soldiers who took part in the unorthodox celebration. After a character speaks his piece, he identifies himself by name, stating the division in which he served. It's a little like the tags in the narration of letters and diaries in a Ken Burns documentary. But these speeches are only a part of the soundscape. The production is suffused with music-all of it a cappella vocalizing by the cast. " Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“An extraordinary moment in twentieth-century history is the subject of this carefully wrought, deeply moving piece...That it is likely to be a familiar tale matters not at all: From the moment that the company of eleven emerges from the darkness - this story feels freshly imagined and deeply felt...Music is the thread that holds the evening together, providing an emotional bridge that crucially supports a story made up of a collage of anecdotes.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“A touching musical tribute to that brief time when peace on Earth reigned over desolate battlefields...A sincerely affecting music-theater work that resonates with beautiful singing, 'All Is Calm' suggests how essential humanity can triumph—even if only briefly, as here—over the most horrible of circumstances...The actors confidently perform...and they make extremely handsome music together...An unusually inspiring musical event for the holiday season.” Full Review

The New York Times

"The arc of 'All is Calm' coolly predictable, urging the men from enlistment to deployment to battle to détente to battle again, and the choice of song and excerpt aren’t so surprising either...More extraordinary is the beauty of the songs...The plangent tenors, lush baritones and rumbling basses are in excellent voice, and when they come together, the sensation is tremendous and the musical chill effect engulfing...A staunchly apolitical and warily genteel work." Full Review

New York Theater

"The production is certainly polished and occasionally poignant. But 'All is Calm' strikes me as not quite the staged version of a Ken Burns-like 'docudrama' that its creators claim for it; it’s best appreciated as a beautifully sung, intelligent Christmas concert...There is no question that some of what they say hits home...For all the dramatically-lit haze and stoic faces, the 10 performers speaking the words of 39 men have little time to develop characters or create scenes." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "Beautifully rendered, heartbreaking...It remains an achingly beautiful choral work and an articulate plea for peace among all nations and peoples...'All Is Calm' portrays this amazing story using songs from the era and actual words of the men involved...The cast of twelve singer-actors do both the dramatization and choral parts, every one of them singing gloriously and reciting with conviction. The spoken and singing parts glide into one another seamlessly." Full Review

Star Tribune

for a previous production "In atmosphere, integration of story and song, mood and dynamics, the story burrows even deeper into the heart with the power of myth, were it not so sadly true...This beautiful jewel has been made brighter, more precious in the best sense of the word. What is unchanged is its quiet power to illustrate peace on Earth." Full Review


for a previous production "Peter Rothstein, a Minneapolis theater guru and music master who has created a part concert, part narrative and masterful merging of the two to tell the tale...This interspersing of narrative and musical delivery sometimes has an overlay of music behind the spoken word. The effect is quite imposing...Director Charlie Flynn-McIver has overseen all the details with élan." Full Review


for a previous production "Rothstein’s telling of the tale accurately captures the nave giddiness with which these young men went to war in the autumn and the gut-churning reality that set in when it became clear that they would not, as promised, be home by Christmas Day...The real-life telling gets depth, texture and additional historical context from the songs, which are masterfully delivered by Cantus...A powerful and lovely story about an ugly time in human history." Full Review

Absorbing, Great singing, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if Great, little known story about Christmas truce of 1914 in WWI. A capella singing was mesmerizing and the story was well depicted!

Don't see it if Go and see it, you won’t be disappointed.

Enchanting, Great singing, Must see, Wonderful!

See it if you want a wonderful experience.

Don't see it if there is no reason not to see it. Unless, maybe you don't like a cappella.

Also This is a most wonderful, uplifting show based on a true happening dur... Read more Read less

Epic, Great singing, Great staging, Great vocal arrangements, Hypnotic

See it if you want to be transported by a moving (true) story and exceptional singing.

Don't see it if you'd rather miss out on a limited engagement of a powerful, heartwarming theater piece.

Also It takes a congregation of century-old ghosts of Christmas past materi... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Masterful, Absorbing, Moving, Sensational a cappella singing

See it if you like shows about historical events (Christmas Truce 1914) or a cappella singing: this one is very moving and the singing is sensational.

Don't see it if you don't like a cappella singing of an all-men's choir with some angelic voices or don't care for musicals about historic events.

Great singing, Resonant, Great writing, Great staging, Must see

See it if Exceptional singing, amazingly crafted, personal stories from WW1 beautifully told. Overwhelming emotion. Perfect for the holidays.

Don't see it if You want a WW1 story told through today’s music and filters. Others could learn from the honesty of the actual voices from the past.

Great singing, Great staging, Great writing, Relevant, Profound

See it if You love a cappella, are interested in the Christmas Truce, want to see a Ken Burns-type show drawn from period music and letters.

Don't see it if You dislike Christmas music.

Also Loved this show! Am not related to anyone involved with the production... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great singing, Intelligent

See it if you like stories told in song. The story is captivating even though you may know what happened.

Don't see it if you're expecting more dialog than songs.

Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Masterful, Profound

See it if You enjoy wonderful harmonies in a musical production with something to say about the waste of war.

Don't see it if You like plays that have happy endings with feel-good themes.

Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Masterful, Relevant

See it if you interested in seeing dramatically and musically onstage the real-life truce between German and Allied soldiers one Christmas day in WWI.

Don't see it if you are not interested in WWI patriotic tunes, trench songs, medieval ballads, and Christmas carols along with letter excerpts and poetry.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great singing, Must see, Profound

See it if You love great singing, or if you are interested in some history.

Don't see it if You have kiddos that might get squirrely.

Also This was really moving without being preachy at all. They used texts t... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if you love amazing singing and a moving story; and Silent Night :)

Don't see it if See it!

Heavenly voices

See it if If you want to see heavenly singing (mostly of Christmas and patriotic songs, British and German alike), and learn of a true event in 1914.

Don't see it if You want a true drama (this more choal piece than play) and would rather not hear well-worn Christmas and other tunes.

Soulful, beautiful singing.

See it if Want to hear men singing in voices the old, good songs from Europe- bringing back the memories of war and friendship among the nations.

Don't see it if It takes some maturity to hear and watch it.

Great singing, Must see

See it if you like non-campy musical theater.

Don't see it if just see it!

Also This show was absolutely wonderful. A true piece of history unfolded i... Read more Read less

Great singing, Must see, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You want to be deeply moved by real events dec 1914 and hear excellent a cappella singing and to see actors who look like real people

Don't see it if You get annoyed with heavy accents which makes it difficult to understand the spoken words

Entertaining, Great staging, Relevant, Great singing, Great acting

See it if you want to hear great acapella singing, with beautiful voices telling a heartbreaking story about war.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy acapella singing and would prefer more interaction between the actors.

Also When the actors first came on stage and one actor started to sing, I t... Read more Read less

Great singing, Intelligent, Masterful, Relevant, Resonant

See it if If you want an historical, uplifting take on humanity and war. Without gimmicks it tells a poignant story. You will think about then and now

Don't see it if You are looking for glitz, glamour and plot.

Great singing, Resonant, Riveting, Must see

See it if Great voices, staging, emotional, a wonderful gift at the holidays. Had a tear and goose bumps.

Don't see it if You don't like men singing in beautiful harmony, simple yet powerful staging. Need a big Broadway Disney musical.

Absorbing, Great singing, Profound, Riveting

See it if You like historical pieces told in a unique and beautiful way.

Don't see it if You want a show with elaborate sets and costumes.

Absorbing, Great singing, Profound

See it if You like male voice choir like vocals telling a poignant 1914 tale of how songs can bring us all together, even in war.

Don't see it if You don't like singing or if you have no heart.

Great singing, Great staging, Absorbing, Resonant, Touching

See it if A Capella singing by a great ensemble of 10 men who play different roles, how singing led to a brief truce between soldiers on diff. sides

Don't see it if Simple dark staging that reflects the darkness of war; due to accents may be hard to understand brief spoken bits between songs*

Also *the spoken words include poems, reflections, letters and are for the ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great singing, Thought-provoking

See it if wonderful harmony, a real Christmas miracle re-telling, thoughtful, sad, uplifting....

Don't see it if acapella singing, war stories,

Great singing, Great staging, Masterful, Must see, Profound

See it if you enjoy a touching story with glorious singing

Don't see it if if you must have a big, flashy musical

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Masterful, Relevant

See it if you love a capella singing. you love hearing stories of military men, you love inspirational stories, you are anti-war

Don't see it if you want a story line, you want action,you don't like singing

Magnificent, Amazing singing, Absorbing, Must see, It gave me chills

See it if You want to see if this show really lives up to all the raves you've heard. It does!

Don't see it if Stories about war don't appeal to you.

Also This simply staged exploration of the Christmas truce of 1914 is sung ... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (15)