Already closed | 1h 40m | Midtown W

Broadbend, Arkansas

From 96 member  reviews
Members say: Great singing, Slow, Ambitious, Relevant, Disappointing

About the show

In Transport Group’s world premiere musical, an African-American family grapples with decades of inequality, violence, and suppression in the South. More…

From the show:

Benny, an orderly at a nursing home, delicately balances his role as a caregiver to an ornery white resident who shares a contentious past with his white boss while at the same time caring for his own family as the fight for equality grips the nation in the midst of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Thirty years later, his daughter, Ruby, struggles to understand an incident of police brutality against her 15-year-old son. This unique musical, spanning nearly half a century and three generations, asks us to contemplate the cycle of violence in this country and how we will find hope and create change against the backdrop of hate that plagues America.

PLEASE NOTE: Please arrive early as there will be no late seating during the first act. Late patrons will be asked to wait until intermission to sit. 

1h 40m | Already closed | The Duke on 42nd Street (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (96)


Great singing, Slow, Ambitious, Relevant, Disappointing
Avg Score

Unadorned, Unfulfilling, Slow, Great singing, Ambitious

See it if u want to hear two spectacular singers perform a chamber musical parable about the multi-generational effects of the Civil Rights movement.

Don't see it if you expect a concise story, a taut narrative, profundity or splashy staging.

Also With some tightening of the narrative and the character motivation (es... Read more Read less

Great lighting design, Great sound design, Disappointing, Great singing, Great acting

See it if you really love great voices. Justin Cunningham can make you swoon.

Don't see it if you want a show with a strong book and consistently strong score and lyrics

Also The first few scenes of this show got better and better and then that ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Great writing, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if Two beautifully-written interrelated one-act solo operettas. One family's involvement in the Civil Rights movement and its repercussions.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy thoughtful, intimate musicals

1st act confusing, Resonant, Slow, Great singing

See it if See it for the singing and the end of the second act.

Don't see it if you want a perfect book and don't like weird staging decisions, like actors moving to different parts of the stage seemingly randomly.

Also After the first act, I would have given it a 70 or 71. The singer was ... Read more Read less

Funny, Disappointing, Dated

See it if You want to see any production of it because you've never seen it. It wasn't bad,there was some very good acting.I think the story itself is

Don't see it if You don't want to see a long show with 2 intermissions.

Profound, Great singing, Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if The music was wonderful and well thought out. Bare budget production that pushed boundaries and rendered an emotional hook.

Don't see it if You want to simply be entertained and do not want to walk out of the theater with a challenge to the way you see the world.

Slow, Great singing, Disappointing

See it if Civil Rights is a topic of particular importance or interest to you.

Don't see it if You don't like one-person shows. This is in many ways two one-act, one-person musicals in one evening (with connected characters/ideas).

Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Clever, Not really my thing but very polished and interesting

See it if You are ok with slow moving stories and with music and singing that creates a solemn mood

Don't see it if You are looking for a fun upbeat musical or if you don't enjoy serious or racially themed shows

During previews
Confusing, Relevant, Great singing, Slow, Ambitious

See it if you want to experience cruelty of racial injustice fr inside. Ea act is one very talented performer. Gr. musicians/singers. Moving subject.

Don't see it if you want fully coherent, insightful lyrics. Music is lush, but repetitive. 1st story of 2 wh women disconnected thematically. Slow in parts.

During previews
Disappointing, Absorbing, Slow, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You want to experience some spectacular singing as a way to tell an unfortunately all too familiar story of how far we still need to grow.

Don't see it if You don’t want to see a story about the civil rights movement and be reminded why we need things like Black Lives Matter today.

Also Phenomenal singing and an interesting way to tell this story but it ju... Read more Read less

During previews
Fluffy, Disappointing, Dated, Confusing, Banal

See it if You dont care if a show is consistent plot wise. A stronger second act.

Don't see it if If you want consistency and a well written plot. The show wavers back and forth. The first act was very weak.

During previews
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if An emotionally potent chamber musical on generational civil rights & a legacy of a father/daughter's responsibility to it Beautifully sung

Don't see it if Both one-act librettos for the piece are poorly structured; causing confusion & frustrations (esp in 1st act) Once cleared, emotions erupt

During previews
Quirky, Well played & sung, Political, Historical, Intermittently powerful

See it if you’d like to experience a quirky, personal take on a vital political moment in our country’s civil rights history.

Don't see it if you demand complete clarity in your musicals, or prefer them traditional.

Also “Broadbend, Arkansas” is uneven. I’m rating it as high as I do for 2 r... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Slow, Intense, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if Two wonderful singers. Great historical recap re integration in the South. Great band.

Don't see it if Mostly two solo performances, We need the interaction Confusing re: Act 1 relationships,

During previews
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you enjoy good chamber music and wonderful voices in two stories wonderfully told and sung. Important look at time in recent history.

Don't see it if you want a full musical production: bare stage, basically two solo performances, hearing voices over orchestra, stage lights blind front row

During previews
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if I was very impressed by the skills of the actors. They had amazing singing voices and were very intense and perfect in their roles

Don't see it if However, as a play it didn’t exactly work for me. It would have been better as monologues. Story was compelling but music was not.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Intense, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you enjoy a masterful and powerful play performed by two wonderful actors. Very simple set but this drama depends on dialogue.

Don't see it if you don't like discussions about racial injustice and violence or you want a light drama.

Also The second half with the actress was a bravura performance. I wish the... Read more Read less

During previews
A melancholy chamber musical, Excellent musicians, Talented cast, Slow, but absorbing.

See it if Two solo acts that’s mostly sung monolog. Must lean and focus on the related stories of racial injustice told 27 yrs apart. 2nd act stronger

Don't see it if Need sets or elaborate staging. Don’t like solo shows or want a “musical” to be traditional. This is a fresh, contemp style of storytelling.

During previews
Very creative and well done chamber musical.

See it if You appreciate small chamber musicals that are about something.

Don't see it if You don't like chamber musicals.

During previews
Beautiful music, Enchanting, Relevant, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if you enjoy musicals which are different in both form & format. The orchestra was exceptional, the music and singing hauntingly beautiful.

Don't see it if you only like large format, splashy musicals with lots of costumes and little content.

During previews
Relevant, Resonant, Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy great voices singing through the story of a difficult part of our history.

Don't see it if Your liking for a chorus line musical.

During previews
Great orchestration, singing & acting, Slowly revealed puzzle, Requires rapt attention, Resonantly relevant, Innovative

See it if Hybrid form 2 person musicals with 7 piece orchestra and elliptical story-telling R 4 U, 1960s storyline of Freedom Riders piques interest

Don't see it if Not intrigued by subject matter, small cast & large visible upstage orchestra that often drowns out the miked singers

During previews
Thought-provoking, Touching, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you like shows that make you think, that challenge your viewpoint, that entertain, and that inspire.This is a gem.Brilliant history lesson.

Don't see it if you want sunshine and chipmunks or you are looking for a big, Bway musical show.This is a small show with a huge message and a big heart

During previews
Top form, Profound, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Poignant, bittersweet musicalized monologues honoring resolute endurance in the face of a hostile majority. Superb actor-singers.

Don't see it if Hard pill to swallow. You’re discouraged by reminders that every small & large thing has to be rancorously wrested from those who'd harm.

Also Not exactly a toe-tapping musical, but moving. Cunningham’s polished a... Read more Read less

During previews
Ethereal musical of family in civil rights struggle

See it if A jewel of a chamber musical. Beautiful score played by unusual combo and sung by two talented actors. The story is dark, but uplifting.

Don't see it if Justin Cunningham and Danyel Fulton are terrific. Touching reminiscence of races existing together in the small-town South despite violence

November 13th, 2019
"‘Broadbend, Arkansas,’ Tangled in Its Own Tale: This meandering jazz-infused drama, told across generations of a black family, strains to pull its focus from white women."
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November 10th, 2019
"A Musical Theater Philanthropist Turns Composer in Wishy-Washy 'Broadbend, Arkansas': Two musical one-acts are presented by Transport Group."
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November 18th, 2019
"Beautifully Realized Chamber Musical 'BROADBEND, ARKANSAS' Examines A Family's Legacy From The 60s Civil Rights Movement"
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November 12th, 2019
"Shen's music, which manages to be both jazzy and contemplative, employs a kind of enhanced recitative approach, being tailored seamlessly to the text's progression of thought and providing brief, but powerful, bursts of melody for moments of emotional outpouring."
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