See it if you love the Renaissance.
Don't see it if violence on stage bothers you.
See it if You appreciate wholly original musicals, or that rarest of shows, a musical based on history. Or if you like Peter Mills's exquisite music.
Don't see it if You want likable characters - they are all either terrible people, or (literally) too stupid to live.
See it if you love great operatic music with a broadway flair, pitch-perfect singing, an ambitious book and terrific actors; like musical drama
Don't see it if you don't like long shows; don't like period pieces; don't like opera-like music
See it if You liked "Passion"
Don't see it if You don't like classical music.
See it if you want to hear a good score, mainly reminiscent of Lucy Simon but borrowing from many places. You like musicals about religion and/or art.
Don't see it if you like musicals about people. Carlo was erratic. Fabrizio was shallow. Older characters are Disney villains. Acting was distractingly weak
See it if you love baroque music. The voices here are wonderful. And the music is rich.
Don't see it if you get bored easily with familiar story lines . . . although there are wonderful aspects of this production, the pieces don't add up.
See it if you like great singing
Don't see it if you hate small theater productions
See it if Beautiful performance in an intimate theater with wonderful score by Peter Mills based on a real historical event.
Don't see it if You are looking for a contemporary musical. The score is rich and classically-inspired.
"It took nerve to write the new musical...But 'Death for Five Voices' is not one of their more successful efforts...Unfortunately, 'Death for Five Voices' has little feel for the period or the personalities. The vocabulary and the psychology are contemporary, the characterizations and plotting shallow. The writers mean to suggest a connection between the disturbing innovation of Gesualdo’s works and the dark cast of his mind, but they haven’t yet found a way to put these ideas in tune."
"Magnetically complex...It's a fascinating blend of music theory and character development...The ensemble members sound beautiful singing choral pieces...While the lyrical cleverness Mills has displayed in past musicals is inappropriate here, his contrast of the way Gesualdo musically expresses himself with that of the world surrounding him is often thrilling...Daring in ambition, exciting in execution, 'Death for Five Voices,' deserves far more exposure than its current limited run."
"We haven't had a real, honest-to-God floperetta in decades, but here comes 'Death for Five Voices,' which manages to be simultaneously stiff and overwrought: The narrative is filled with forbidden passions, acts of violence, and cynical maneuvers by the Catholic Church, and still it manages to be thoroughly dull...Reichel's production, marshalling a vocally gifted, but dramatically at sea, cast, does the material no favors...Overall, this is a sluggish, unconvincing evening."
"Mills's most stirring, shocking, and boundary-pushing compositions...One can't help but wish that all of 'Five Voices' was at this level. But, too often, the narrative strength of the score is not supported by the libretto...This is a musical that is at war with itself. But considering that the best of what's here transcends what you'll find in any other new musical in town, that might just be a war worth waging...Even in this not-there-yet incarnation, it is thrillingly, theatrically alive."
"Because so much interest resides in the bloody conclusion, everything preceding it is bound to be anticlimactic. Even as the affair blooms, the stereotypical characters aren’t interesting enough to keep us in thrall...Moreover, the show’s few laughs don’t compensate for the lack of any humorous characters or songs...'Death for Five Voices' never escapes the specter of musty, nineteenth-century, costume tragedies about Renaissance lovers, like Francesca da Rimini."
"Mills and Reichel have sweetened and sanitized what likely was a cold-blooded honor killing…A solid, if uninspired, production. The seven singing actors handle both the polyphonic choral sections and their solo parts with operatic aplomb…The mystery of this production is why the authors have elected to depict in relatively anemic terms events that, in reality, outstripped in savagery and bloodthirstiness the revenge tragedies written by Gesualdo's contemporaries."
"Even while weaving Gesualdo’s musical idiosyncrasies into his score, Mills has crafted a piece that is rooted in the American musical theater tradition...The music in this score may not be all of a piece, but Mills doesn’t let the stitches show. The cast is excellent...Director Reichel deftly moves the characters around Ann Bartek’s evocative set...Mills’ score is the main event here, and he seldom disappoints."
"Songwriter Peter Mills has long deserved to be far better known than he is...Much of the Mills-Reichel contrivances are quite beautiful...'Death for Five Voices' does go on longer than it needs to while making its macabre point, but without doubt it’s far enough off the beaten musicals track to be recommended."