Bella: An American Tall Tale
Closed 2h 30m
Bella: An American Tall Tale

Bella: An American Tall Tale NYC Reviews and Tickets

(246 Ratings)
Members say
Great singing, Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Quirky

About the Show

Playwrights Horizons presents the New York premiere of this musical adventure about a wanted woman of mythic proportions who looks to begin life anew in the Wild West.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (246)

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75 Reviews | 40 Followers
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You love great singing.

Don't see it if You have no sense of humor.

85 Reviews | 23 Followers
Delightful, Great acting, Funny, Great singing, Must see

See it if You want to see something charming, lighthearted, and incredibly entertaining - that still has its meaningful, poignant moments.

Don't see it if You're racist/will whine about the (accurate) historical portrayal of white people mistreating people of color. Read more

68 Reviews | 10 Followers
Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Masterful

See it if You love great singing and character acting and an ingenious story. Great costumes and imaginary and creative set.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy magnificent theatre.

62 Reviews | 11 Followers
Absorbing, Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Clever

See it if you are a lover of history and comedy. As a history fan, I was so thrilled by the writing and performance.

Don't see it if you don't like history, and you are offended by references to racism and slavery in America

91 Reviews | 16 Followers
Clever, Entertaining, Hilarious, Great writing, Great singing

See it if you want to see a talented cast perform a clever funny show. Some awesome voices!!!!

Don't see it if you don't like raunchy humor Read more

52 Reviews | 45 Followers
Ambitious, Enchanting, Epic

See it if You love amazing new musical theatre!

Don't see it if you think Ben Brantley's opinion of anything matters.

80 Reviews | 51 Followers
Clever, Funny, Great singing, Hilarious, Great writing

See it if You want A hilarious funny show with great singing, acting & a fantastic fun troop of talented people including a fabulous lighting director

Don't see it if Your looking for a comedy musical. Read more

443 Reviews | 55 Followers
Delightful, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if Blindsided by something joyous. Subtlety in the delicious lack of subtlety. Entertaining and smart.

Don't see it if No reason not to see

Critic Reviews (28)

The New York Times
June 12th, 2017

"Sprawls in so many directions—with changes in tone to match (or mismatch)—that it collapses into inertia...The idea of a woman who leads unabashedly with her rear has both comic and heroic appeal. The conceit never quite lands. What should be an anarchic life force often feels more like an anchor...The score lacks a steady musical signature to reconcile the abrupt shifts in tone. And as staged by Mr. O’Hara, this story of action-packed adventures feels strangely static."
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Time Out New York
June 12th, 2017

"The show is such a hoot that it never feels didactic. That’s not to say that it isn’t ungainly. The episodic nature of the first act grows tedious, and the musical’s heavier-handed second ambitious for a show so campy it features an 11-o'clock number sung by the spirit of Bella's rump. But for the most part it bounces along buoyantly, thanks to Robert O’Hara's smooth direction and go-for-broke actors who also reveal the humanity in their over-the-top characters."
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June 13th, 2017

“Kirsten Childs’ high spirits are infectious. ‘Bella’ is her irresistible invitation to kick up your heels…Although our heroine’s picaresque adventures are the heart and soul of the show, Childs doesn’t neglect the other characters…The fun of the show would seem to depend on the wild tales that Bella spins out of her fertile imagination. But when her journey finally comes to an end, Bella has made a great discovery about herself.”
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June 12th, 2017

"In its most coherent moments, 'Bella' looks and sounds like a dubiously dramaturged educational musical for kids. This is disappointing because Childs sets her story in a time of rich dramatic potential...At least the cast works hard to sell this muddled material...Director Robert O'Hara does little through staging and design to clarify Childs's winding script...Rather than feeling inspired, challenged, or even amused, audiences are most likely to leave 'Bella' feeling baffled."
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June 24th, 2017

"Childs' joyfully old-fashioned, but sneakily subversive new musical...O'Hara's jaunty production, choreographed with lively period flavor, resembles a kind of saloon entertainment played out with picture postcard visuals...Kelley is an irresistible, moxie-filled charmer in the title role...‘Bella’ embraces the physical side of sexual attraction with a big, brash bear hug and playfully places the iconic African female physique on the pedestal where it belongs."
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Lighting & Sound America
June 14th, 2017

“For most of the first act, it's barely a tale at all, so crammed is it with numbers that go nowhere and characters who quickly vanish from the narrative…There is a very good point wandering around inside ‘Bella,’ but it is obscured by an excess of silliness and vulgarity…Under the fast-paced and often inventive direction of Robert O'Hara, an appealing cast works hard to maintain an engaging mood, even during the more embarrassing episodes."
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Talkin' Broadway
June 12th, 2017

"Childs leaves loose ends flapping all over the place, and you'll stop counting the number of times the narrative just halts dead in its tracks to make room for another diversion. But those diversions are, let's admit, frequently diverting, and even as we're shaking our heads at the looseness of Childs's conception and the illogic of what little story there is, we're entertained...The cast is splendid...Fun and celebratory as much of it is, 'Bella' is one sloppy American tall tale."
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June 12th, 2017

"It's not without strong assets, but takes its time, pretty much the entire first act, to get beyond a mish-mash of songs and characters piled on top of each other...Despite the excellent designers and energetic cast, the storytelling and musical numbers lack the polish of the big Broadway-ish musical this aims to be. The good news is that everything and everyone gets better after the intermission."
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