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Big River

From 114 member  reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting, Dated

About the show

Encores! presents a concert version of the 1985 Tony Award-winning musical based on 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.' More…

A musical retelling of Mark Twain’s classic novel about friendship, freedom, and the untamed Mississippi, 'Big River' was an underdog as scrappy and restless as Huckleberry Finn himself. The show was created in the age of British spectacles by a quintessentially American artist—the beloved country and western singer Roger Miller—and his Tony-winning score is a blend of bluegrass, gospel, and honky-tonk. More than 30 years later, 'Big River' remains an affecting journey through 1840s America in all its beauty and savagery.

Member Reviews (114)


Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting, Dated

Odd pacing, Great singing

See it if you are very passionate about the story of Huckleberry Finn

Don't see it if you need a well-paced plot. I feel like this rushed through major plot points and dragged at times when not much was happening on stage.

Great singing, Cute, Slow, Too much grimacing

See it if you want to hear 4 great numbers (2 duets and 2 gospels). Good collaboration of Huck and Jim actors. Cute little country ensemble.

Don't see it if you don't like grimacing on stage - it took half of the time! Huck/Jim scenes were good. The music is very simple and the numbers too short.

Disappointing, Slow, Dated, Uninteresting, Passe

See it if you like period pieces.

Don't see it if you need a song or a melody to remember. I am in the minority as I read the reviews from the papers and they are mostly positive.

Also I didn't even stay for the second act which is not like me as I never ... Read more Read less

Great singing, Funny, Entertaining, Dated, Indulgent

See it if You've already got a soft spot for the musical and just want to hear the music sung well.

Don't see it if You think having heavy handed diverse ensemble casting choices in a show already about race is counterproductive

Superficial, Whitewashed, Overrated

See it if Have never seen the show, as hard to imagine any other productions (save Deaf West) would be able to rescue the material either

Don't see it if Looking for intelligent adaptation of Twain, or even a well constructed show on its own merits, expect MT songs to go somewhere

Dated, Disappointing, Great singing, Relevant

See it if you want to see some amazing singers do a phenomenal job with below-average content

Don't see it if you dislike shows that revolve around race/if you get offended easily. It is not for the fainthearted... do not take children

Slow, Great singing, Dated, Entertaining, Bare bones production

See it if Nick Barasch (Huck) & Kyle Scatliffe (Jim) were outstanding. 18 yr old Barasch is a major talent & drove the show. Their duets soared.

Don't see it if It won 1985 Best Musical Tony but its slow & stodgy & the book relegates Jim to a smaller role. Minimal staging. Music is very country.

February 9th, 2017
"If you are looking for a Huckleberry of irresistible sweetness and rambunctious naïveté, then Lear deBessonet’s buoyant Encores! production is the place to find him...Yet it can’t mask the feeling of anachronism that dogs this show...'Big River' feels like an awkward fit for this moment...It is ...
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February 9th, 2017
"You will not be able to watch 'Big River' without squirming...Other than Jim...the black characters are entirely undifferentiated and unattached to the plot...The authors treat Jim exactly as Huck and the others do: That is, they mostly ignore him...I’m not saying that a story about white people...
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February 10th, 2017
"An all-too-limited engagement justifies its existence with its winning exuberance, terrific performances, and the top-flight musicianship...Landesman has provided a streamlined concert adaptation of Hauptman’s book that keeps the episodic story line flowing as smoothly as the Mississippi River. ...
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February 9th, 2017
"The Encores! production of 'Big River' is, in a word, perfect. And, in a few other words, moving, powerful and exhilarating...This superb staged by Lear deBessonet, who has done miraculous work at the Public Theatre. It’s spirited and lively and the cast couldn’t be better: up-and-c...
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