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Candide

Members say: Entertaining, Great singing, Delightful, Great staging, Funny
79
Critics
73
16 reviews
Members
82
33 reviews
 

New York City Opera presents a new production of Leonard Bernstein's iconic musical, directed by Tony winner Harold Prince and featuring Tony winner Linda Lavin.... Read more

In this musical adaptation of Voltaire's satirical novel, the naïve Candide is separated from his beloved Cunegonde. He journeys around the world to find her, retaining his teacher Pangloss' belief that "this is the best of all possible worlds" in the face of ever-increasing catastrophes.

 


Reviews (49)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
73
Avg Score

85
BroadwayWorld

"A rollicking production…Wheeler's much-improved book, tight as a drum for the first half, is retained...The storytelling tends to drag during the second...But happily the text is never less than witty and engaging. The terrific cast is composed of performers who not only do justice to the music, but who also get the cleverness of the lyrics and dialogue…If this sparkling mounting is any indication, New York City Opera is set to start achieving fuller grandness in 2017." Full Review

45
Theatermania

"This particular mounting, using designs and staging that date back more than 30 years, feels more like an ‘old warhorse’ than a piece that's truly alive…This iteration feels as though the director wasn't heavily involved. The laughs rarely land, the physical production looked shopworn, and the ensemble just looked tired. Throughout, it resembles a Broadway show in the middle of a long run, desperate for freshening up after being in the hands of associates for several months." Full Review

60
Talkin' Broadway

"The rift between what you feel (too little) and what you hear (too much) rapidly becomes a bug rather than a feature, with its various components waging a kind of bewildering civil war...Even so, the largely spectacular cast ensures it goes down easily...Alas, even when everything is right...a pervasive wrongness still makes its presence unavoidably felt. Prince has...done all he can to wrangle this beast, and his success at achieving that goal is obvious, even if the point of doing so isn't." Full Review

60
AM New York

"The score is extraordinary, but the multiple rewrites have demonstrated the difficulty of balancing the score with an episodic structure, satirical edge and political commentary...Prince's production is overstuffed and overcrowded but often entertaining. At my performance last weekend, the cast still seemed to be finding its way and much of the humor failed to land." Full Review

90
Deadline

"Is it opera? Musical theater? Call it what you will, 'Candide' taps gleefully into each of those disparate worlds, offering an effervescent tonic in trying times. It all but fizzes before your eyes...The production is deftly anchored by Broadway veteran Edelman...The revelation is Picerno...Choreographer Birch contributes to the elegant segues in a challenging onslaught of crowded scene changes; and Charles Prince conducts with ear and baton finely attuned to the complicated goings-on." Full Review

85
Woman Around Town

"The lavish staging of ‘Candide’ by the estimable Harold Prince is, but for a few casting glitches, glorious…The overture sounds like an old friend, filling one with happy anticipation…The veteran director never once loses awareness of aesthetics on another large, somewhat complicated set…Excepting those of Edleman and Lavin, Prince handles flamboyant character turns with eyebrow raised finesse." Full Review

65
TheaterScene.net

"The actors try valiantly to fend for themselves with expressions ranging from mournful to bemused to goofy. Couldn't Prince or Patricia Birch on the dances have found something for them to do other than just stand there?" Full Review

75
Theatre Reviews by John Clum

"More a recreation than a rethinking...It has mainly been cast by Broadway performers...Meghan Picerno sings 'Glitter and Be Gay' brilliantly and is a charming Cunegonde. Broadway veteran Gregg Edelman is funny in all the comic roles without being too hammy...The rest of the cast is fine, the chorus superb, and the orchestral playing good...It's a lovely looking production, though every bit as empty headed as its title character. Still, the score is gorgeous and the company does it justice." Full Review

75
ZEALnyc

"Such glorious music! Such a ridiculous, silly plot! Such a mixed bag of performances! Such clumsy gags and dated caricatures! The production has its ups and downs...It seemed like the company could have used a few more days of rehearsal...The real beauty of the evening was Meghan Picerno, clear of voice and crisp of diction, who managed the challenging 'Glitter and be Gay' with aplomb...Although it isn’t merited by the absurd and ignorable story, the finale actually brought a tear to my eye." Full Review

90
Theater Pizzazz

"This pepped-up production has much to recommend it as a serious comedic enterprise and a solid endgame of splendid entertainment…Prince’s instinct to have fun with it strikes gold; his bits of business, sight gags and cleverness play brilliantly from the libretto, aided by a talented cast of actors, singers and dancers…The remarkable cast is made up of opera singers who can seriously act, and Broadway actors who can seriously sing. As an aggregate, they glitter with gaiety and glee." Full Review

85
Drama Queen NYC

"It’s not the unimpeachable masterpiece that Lenny’s West Side Story is–the book is famously problematic–but it is still enough of a joy that as long as you nail that sublime Bernstein score, it’ll be a grand night out. Nail it this company does, and the results are glorious...The sprightly, brilliant score is one of the best things Bernstein ever wrote...While the staging is showing some signs of age, Prince has refurbished many moments for an overall better flow...Recommended." Full Review

80
Village Voice

"Despite vocally uneven results, the show radiates a high level of quality that recalls the now bygone Broadway of Prince’s past, before all the Disney and jukebox musicals moved in...Under the baton of Prince’s son, the conductor Charles Prince, the City Opera Orchestra interprets Leonard Bernstein’s score with richness, verve, and only a few missteps...The chorus soared to superb heights, particularly in finale." Full Review

70
Operavore

"Delivers lively, enveloping entertainment, great for a date night with its score showing Bernstein at his best in a circus-cum-vaudeville style production...The cast features operatic voices where needed and big Broadway personalities when not...It's like high-budget garage theater — this is a compliment — with actors donning a variety of wigs in plain sight in a broad acting style. Maybe too broad. The humanity of the characters is especially lost in the first half hour." Full Review

65
The Wall Street Journal

"The numbers still speed along, and pauses for reflection go by too fast to touch the heart…Cast with a mix of opera and musical-theater performers, all amplified. For the most part, the opera singers had the edge…Prince led the orchestra in a workmanlike, rather stolid performance…The score, as always, is a masterpiece...There have been numerous rethinkings of 'Candide' in the past 35 years and this might have been an opportunity to look ahead, rather than indulge in nostalgia." Full Review

75
The New York Times

"With Mr. Prince’s inventive, reworked staging, some tweaks and trims and other changes, not to mention a winning cast drawn from both theater and opera, this 'Candide' represents an encouraging forward step for the reconstituted company...No production, including this one, manages completely to resolve the stylistic tensions built into 'Candide'...But Mr. Prince keeps the storytelling focused and the stage action animated, especially during some wonderfully intricate ensemble scenes." Full Review

80
New York Classical Review

"Friday’s opener of Bernstein’s 'Candide,' though wanting a little polish, was a superb entertainment, a light evening of shameless comedy and bubbling music, highlighted with several strong performances...Edelman led a cast of singers and actors drawn mostly from the New York theater circuit, a casting strategy that led to some mixed results...Prince manages to give a lavish feel while working on a budget, and does so by creating atmosphere more than pure spectacle." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
82
Avg Score

90
Funny, Ambitious, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if City Opera came back on a high note with this slightly edited "Opera Version" of the much maligned CANDIDE. What a great cast giving all!

Don't see it if you wanted to see a simply "la la" show. Or HAMILTON.

79
Flat, Ambitious, Delightful, Disappointing, Entertaining

See it if You've never seen it & can sit up front for full sound & effect. Picerno is amazing, Wright affecting & Lavin Lavin but the whole never gels

Don't see it if You've high expectations or dislike broad farce. For Prince, a surprisingly flat & flatly staged production that never matches the score.

Also A good attempt to breathe life into NYCO, this Candide never catches u... Read more Read less

79
Good, if somewhat underpowered musically

See it if Ends Today. I'm so glad I got to see this CANDIDE, one of the great B'way musical scores. Linda Lavin is fantastic as the Old Lady. Really..

Don't see it if everybody is working so hard running around, up & down stairs. Gregg Edelman and all the cast are +++. City Opera should be happy & proud.

85
Entertaining, Great singing, Great score, fine cast

See it if you want to hear a beautifully sung production of the great Bernstein score. If not the best of all possible Candides, still very satisfying

Don't see it if you are not a fan of Bernstein's music. I am.

81
Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Harold Prince once again shows his extraordinary gift for creating a charming an outstanding piece!

Don't see it if If great Bernstein music and a relevant theme are not your thing.

82
Funny, Delightful, Dizzying, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You love a big, classic, rarely-produced musical comedy with a phenomenal score, performed by a huge, top-notch cast and orchestra.

Don't see it if You don't like whimsical, epically tall tales or shows that are quasi-operettas. This show doesn't have the most logical of storylines.

76
Ambitious, Quirky, Confusing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you're a Broadway completest and have never seen the show

Don't see it if you need a surefooted plot and don't like pieces that meander

85
Funny, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if want an entertaining operetta (it's really more like a B'Way Show) with excellent signing and great performances. The score is a classic

Don't see it if Don't like operatic-type of singing

86
Hal prince makes candide sparkle

See it if Best Candide yet. Prince seems to have tamed the sprawling book. Jay Armstrong Johnson is charming as Candide. The operatic leads are great.

Don't see it if Sets and costumes are splendid. The score is pure Bernstein gold, but the orchestra sounded a bit thin. Ashmaskas and Zien are hilarious.

73
Cliched, Dated, Entertaining, Great staging, Fluffy

See it if If you like older musicals with a phenomenal cast and creative team.

Don't see it if If you prefer a deep plot and well written book. It's an incredibly fluffy and under-thought piece.

Also The cast and creative team is amazing however. They alone make it wort... Read more Read less

90
Enchanting, Great singing, Great staging, Great score

See it if Have never seen Candide and even if you have. Mr. Prince gets this one right with the exception of miscast Ms. Lavin. She drags it down.

Don't see it if Don't like whimsy or silliness used to as a vehicle for profundity.

Also Saw 3'rd performance. Other scorer's sound and understanding lyrics pr... Read more Read less

85
Funny, Ambitious, Great singing, Great staging, Fast-paced

See it if This is a top-notch production. Cand is notoriously hard to get right. Hal P is still a genius at staging. Lots of good singers/actors.

Don't see it if you tire of broad humor. Or you want all voices to be stellar (Lavin's in not). Or you want big dance numbers. Lyrics are hard to hear.

Also The staging reminded me a bit of Prince's Sweeney Todd, using lots of ... Read more Read less

75
Beautiful, Ambitious

See it if you love wry opera-type shows with beautiful harmonies

Don't see it if you're hard of hearing/are unfamiliar with the story going in. There are some sound issues.

88
Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great staging, Fluffy

See it if you enjoy terrific staging and great music, the kind no one writes for the theater anymore, and you appreciate a mix of satire and silliness

Don't see it if operettas are not to your liking.

90
Funny, Clever, Dated, Great singing

See it if You like the source material, Bernstein, or musical operettas (Gilbert & Sullivan, Sweeney Todd).

Don't see it if You dislike farce, pastiche, sopranos, religious criticism (albeit from an 18th century Enlightenment perspective), or orchestras.

Also Just as random, salacious, scathing, and entertaining as Voltaire's so... Read more Read less

83
Funny, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like funny and weird

Don't see it if you're easily offended or don't like work based on dated or weird material

78
Dizzying, Great singing, Fluffy, Silly

See it if you want to see the wonderful Linda Lavin and an all around good cast. Beautiful singing and some amusing comic performances.

Don't see it if you have a hard time suspending disbelief. This is a silly, over the top show that should be more fun. It didn't live up to it's potential.

95
Funny, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if . If you are familiar with "Candide" then you will enjoy this traditional mounting of the show. Jay Armstrong Johnson is awesome.

Don't see it if You want to see something deep or edgy

Also Having worked on "Candide" in college, it is a show with which I am ex... Read more Read less

100
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you love opera. This one is a CLASSIC.

Don't see it if you don't like modern opera adaptations ,and are stuck in the 17th century.

78
Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Terrific costumes, Tuneful orchestra

See it if you enjoy Leonard Bernstein music. See it if you want to see Linda Lavin steal the show. She was just terrific.

Don't see it if you need to be entertained every minute of the show as there are a few slow spots. Do not see it if you want the book to make total sense.

65
Disappointing, Mediocre, Weak principals, Pushed to hard

See it if you have never seen a great production of this masterpiece -- this one isn't. Revival of NYCO original without the operatic quality.

Don't see it if expect an opera company to have uniformly qualified singers singing. Why do Candide without a singer capable of singing the title role?

Also Candide is a satire, but this production pushes the humor way too hard... Read more Read less

69
Funny, Confusing, Underwhelming, Silly, Classic bernstein score

See it if you know and like the score and have never seen the show.

Don't see it if you've seen it before or your expectations are high.

85
Funny, Ambitious, Exquisite, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you want to see the historic Hal Prince production live, love the meeting of the opera and musical theater world, and want to escape!

Don't see it if you don't like opera. Don't like gorgeous sets. Don't like silliness.

85
Funny, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You are an opera/musical theatre fan. This show mixes the best of Broadway with opera. Beautiful music by Leonard Bernstein.

Don't see it if You like straight forward musicals.

73
Refreshing, Slow, Dated, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if This was a rare chance to see Bernstein's masterful score performed in a full production.

Don't see it if I now understand why the show is not staged. I doesn't really work on stage.