See it if If you want a documentary type show with decent music.
Don't see it if The Story of mining accent was weak.
See it if A serious drama about a tragedy in coal region of West Virginia and the impact to many families. Powerful direction, acting with music.
Don't see it if You want a light evening of music & dancing, this is not your kind of play.
See it if Come From Away-ish accounts from miners' surviving loved ones about the big explosion. Corporate greed over workers' lives.
Don't see it if Retelling of experiences rather than major plot, anecdotes with a few songs in between, not a musical. 1 hour 45 mins; no intermission. Read more
See it if You want to see wonderful performances. Great ensemble. A great retelling of a real event.
Don't see it if you are expecting a traditional musical. It has country music between scenes greatly slowing the show. Read more
See it if An authentic play featuring music from SteveEarle is abt theWVmine explosion of 2010,told by miners who survived&fam members o thosewhodidnt
Don't see it if you expect a musical although Earle's mesmerizing songs-like most of the Appalachian tradition-underline the plays themes of exploitation* Read more
See it if you want to see Steve Earle perform his music and accompany others. I enjoyed that. Cast was effective, script was predictable but moving.
Don't see it if you aren't interested in Earle's music, if you don't like "direct address" plays. I thought the way this was presented was rather clunky.
See it if You like to be informed through theater - about real-life coal mining issues/tragedies; safety/corporate greed and the affected families.
Don't see it if You want a fun musical; this is a dramatic play with music. You don't like your theater to be about actual events.
See it if It's a play with music (not a musical). Every word is verbatim from real people, and it is utterly heartbreaking - but important.
Don't see it if The subject matter is hard to take and the show pulls no punches. Read more
"4/5 stars...The laughs in 'Coal Country' are sparse, but like in stand-up, the performers tell true stories directly to the audience and create a strong connection. You may not feel uplifted after hearing the performers' stories...but after we've all experienced collective grief amid the pandemic, you'll feel seen, making the show even more affecting than during its first (abbreviated) run in March 2020...The performances are uniformly excellent."
"A much-deserved remounting off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre (a cozy and rustic house even better suited to the show's content than the Public)...Earle sings several refrains of 'Union, God, and Country' — the holy trinity of West Virginia — and invites his Yankee spectators to do the same...This sing-along is one of the most stupefying things I've ever seen rouse a crowd of theater liberals, but if that isn't proof of the power of story, I don't know what is."
Audible, Inc. has given Coal Country a second chance. Its first run at The Public Theater aborted by the Pandemic, this heartbreaking tale of corporate malfeasance in America’s heartland still deserves to be seen. Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen have taken the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in West Virginia twelve years ago—on April 5th to be exact—and have spun it into a play with music that delves into the human toll of that tragic event
"The riveting, masterful work written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen with original music by Steve Earle in a fabulous encore presentation by Audible and the Public Theater seems more impactful each time it is presented. We can never get enough of this exceptionally performed, shining work...With minimalist but trenchant symbolic scenic design (Richard Hoover), effective lighting design (David Lander), sound design (Darron L West) and costume design (Jessica Jahn), 'Coal Country' is an amazing revival. It is profound and memorable in scope and power. Don’t miss it this time around."
Like a classic folk ballad, full of understated outrage and exquisite down-home music… The pandemic cut short the original run of “Coal Country” at the Public Theater in March 2020. (It was subsequently released as an audio play by Audible…) The play is reopening…at what is arguably an especially opportune moment – when the world’s focus is on the deadly politics of energy. This gives extra heft to an underlying message
"This bone-chilling exposé will infuriate anyone with an aligned moral compass. But it is the humanity of the survivors of Raleigh County, portrayed with nuance and vulnerability by a cast of 11, that brings theatricality to the inevitable outcome...The words are the real star here. Confessionals of compassion and fury ring similarly true."
Coal Country’s excellent ensemble hits the motherlode over and over, mining it for its every ounce of unbearable grief, labor unity, and moral outrage. How deeply you’re affected by it, though, now that—as Tom says in The Glass Menagerie—the world is again “lit by lightning,” and your worries are pulled hither and yon, is something you’ll have to determine for yourself.
CRITIC’S PICK. "Songs and Stories in a Disaster’s Aftermath: Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s show at the Public Theater, with live music by Steve Earle, is based on a real-life West Virginia mining tragedy."