Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Delightful, Funny, Great singing

About the show

The York Theatre Company presents a foot-stompin’, knee-slappin’ new musical set in the Old West that's inspired by Shakespeare's 'Measure for Measure.'

... Read more

In 1890 Johnny Blood, a hot-tempered young cowboy, is sentenced to hang for killing a man in a bar fight. His sister, a novice nun in a nearby mission, pleads with a corrupt governor to spare her brother’s life. The governor promises to pardon Johnny if the sister will 'do his bidding' for the night. Adding to the humorous complications are a hard-bitten sheriff, a voluptuous saloon girl, and a priest who reads Nietzsche.

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through 12/31
BOX49 Go


Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 7pm and Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm
$49.50 Orchestra


Valid thru 12/31/17. Use code BOX49 for $49.50 discount tickets to Tues 7pm, Wed 7pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm performances, regularly $72.50. Use code BOX55 for $55 discount tickets to Thur 2:30pm, Sat 2:30pm, Sun 2:30pm, regularly $79.50. Service charges may apply. Tickets are subject to availability.

through 12/31
TM49 Go


Use code TM49 for $49.50 discount tickets to performances thru 12/31/17. Tickets are regularly priced at $72.50 - $79.50. Service charges may apply. Tickets are subject to availability.
through 12/31
BOX55 Go


Thursday, Saturday and Sundays at 2:30pm
$55 Orchestra


Valid thru 12/31/17. Use code BOX49 for $49.50 discount tickets to Tues 7pm, Wed 7pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm performances, regularly $72.50. Use code BOX55 for $55 discount tickets to Thur 2:30pm, Sat 2:30pm, Sun 2:30pm, regularly $79.50. Service charges may apply. Tickets are subject to availability.

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"A full-on reclamation of the musical comedy Western...Friedman has crafted a score that harks back to the old days, filled with cheerful melodies that will very likely get stuck in your head...Kellogg provides clever, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a script that is written almost entirely in iambic pentameter...Castellino keeps his production barreling at a fast clip...'Desperate Measures' doesn't reinvent the wheel, but all told, it is a production of infinite jest and most excellent fancy." Full Review

The New York Times

"'Desperate Measures,' a bad-joke travesty of a problem play, is such a hoot...The songs are enthusiastically ordinary, except for the opening number, which is worse...The book is in rhyming couplets. The gags are hoary. Under Castellino’s direction, somehow it’s a delight. There’s less than an ounce of Shakespeare in it, but that probably won’t have the swan of Stratford rolling...That’s the spirit of the terrible, wonderful 'Desperate Measures': Have iamb, will travel." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Under Bill Castellino's direction, everyone strikes exactly the right note of spoof melodrama...Once in a while, the sheer high spirits are allowed to slip out of control...But 'Desperate Measures' is mostly a fast, funny, tuneful entertainment that shines in direct proportion to the disrespect it shows for its source material." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"A happy surprise of a show filled with enjoyable songs, a talented cast and enough energy to let you overlook its natural desire to give everyone a turn in the spotlight...Director and choreographer Castellino does strong work...keeping the show buoyant...The cast has fun but they’re not too broad...A few bits go on too long...A solid production and a clutch of songs I’m eager to hear again. By any measure, that’s a happy ending." Full Review

Broadway Blog

“'Desperate Measures' is a far cry from 'Measure for Measure,' of course, Shakespeare's problem play having been transformed into a musical farce that takes the implausibilities of the original to comic extremes, including mining ironic laughter from the plot's ethical dilemmas…None of the talented singing and dancing thespians lets you down…If you're desperate for some easy-to-swallow musical theatre hard stuff I suggest galloping over to the York for a swig of 'Desperate Measures.'” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Whether or not familiar with the tuner’s predecessor, audiences will quickly realize they’re at a truly entertaining show brimming with a good score, with a strong six-person cast...They’ll fast take to the overall package wrapped and tied with a bow by director-choreographer Bill Castellino...The action gallops along through two acts with the actors happily mugging their way in full-throated splendor...'Desperate Measures' is too much of an enjoyable time to pick at it for minor infractions." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Adorable, witty, tuneful...The book and lyrics by Kellogg, done in iambic pentameter, are clever, hilarious, and unexpected. The music by Friedman is melodic and gets under your skin...Director and choreographer Bill Castellino keeps the energy flowing, the quips flying, and makes the two-hour show seem effortless...'Desperate Measures' makes us feel good to be alive. This is a must-see show for anyone who loves musicals, wants to laugh and likes well-crafted theatre." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"It’s a smart and creative reimagining that works wonders on the plot points...A smartly directed and choreographed good time by Castellino, the musical giddily gallops forward, taking a convoluted Shakespearean text and improving on it. I never thought I’d say that, but 'Measure for Measure' mixed with Mel Brooks and a melodic musical score create one great time at the dance hall." Full Review


"A lighthearted, easy-on-the-ear musical...Castellino smoothly steers the six-member ensemble...All the performers rate an A+ for their acting and singing...The actors milk their broadly drawn characters for maximum humor and beautifully render Friedman's catchy score and Kellogg's very smart lyrics. Emma Degerstedt brings a gorgeous voice and lots of charm to the show's heroine, as does Lauren Molina as the less demure saloon singer Bella." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"The 'guts' of 'Measure for Measure' with the charm and appeal of a traditional Broadway musical. Peter Kellogg and David Friedman are to be commended for achieving this feat and bringing this clever retelling to the stage...This is a pleasant musical that celebrates the enduring themes of love, commitment, and 'being alive.' The cast is uniformly engaging – all triple threats with vocal, acting, and movement skills." Full Review


“While not all musicals from Shakespeare have worked and updates are particularly risky, ‘Desperate Measures’ avoids all of the pitfalls and is a refreshing and satisfying work in its own right. The catchy score has superb songs in the vein of the best of the Broadway Western musical. It is hoped the show has a long life beyond this production, like its young hero, in years to come.” Full Review

Woman Around Town

"This rambunctious musical is a blend of dialogue in clever, conversational verse, articulate lyrics, irrepressible comedy, infectious tunes, and characters who are rarely as simple as they seem. GO...Kellogg’s libretto is accomplished...Friedman’s mixture of Broadway-like numbers and hoedowns work together seamlessly...The production is festooned with priceless comic freeze frames, captivating stage business, and general high spirits without becoming a cartoon." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Shakespeare’s plot has been stripped down and stretched out in Kellogg’s clever book...The score, by Kellogg and Friedman, is an airy array of show tunes with country flourishes. But Although Castellino and his cast of six bring bountiful vigor and comedic élan to the production, the characters are mere devices on which to hang songs and jokes. The quest for justice and mercy that burns throughout Shakespeare’s original—and so many Westerns—lies beyond this show’s range." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"If you are looking for a good time at an Off-Broadway show, I guarantee that you’ll find it in 'Desperate Measures'...All of the scheming and romantic attractions are advanced by the charming score and the excellent voices of the cast members...The musical zips along merrily with fine integration of action and song, and by the end, when all has been colorfully worked out, one can applaud gratefully for all of the fun packed into this compact all-around display of talent." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"A rollicking good time for those who enjoy shows that haven’t much on their minds other than to tickle your ribs and serve comfort food to your ears. For the music by Friedman, with a book and lyrics by Kellogg, is spirited, and sprinkled with wit...The songs come fast and loose, so many of them that they tend to blend into one...A cast of six experienced comic actors each has a chance to land with a piece of special material...A friendly smile-maker of a musical." Full Review

City Cabaret

"A spirited musical...Lyricist Peter Kellogg’s slick book features rhyming couplets and a score of 18 David Friedman catchy tunes...An appropriately brisk pace keeps the plot nimble for the six bang-up actors to chew up the scenery...'Desperate Measures' is the little musical that comes off big on all levels. With shadows of Shakespeare, it is witty and lively and the York Theatre delivers a captivating New York premiere production." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Most of 'Desperate Measures' is a hoot...The jokes are so constant, and director-choreographer Castellino's touch so deft, that the atmosphere becomes supercharged with hilarity, and even the lesser gags land...There's nothing innovative about 'Desperate Measures,' which, every note and every word, sounds like it could have been written in 1962. But hey, that wasn't a bad era for musical comedy. This one's as escapist as escapist can be." Full Review


"The funniest, most tuneful, non-stop, slam-bang best musical of our four-month-old season...If Shakespeare were alive today, he might smack his head for not thinking of a romantic entanglement that Kellogg did...Kellogg’s jokes get laughs that are substantially longer than the theatrical average. Subtle gags abound, too...Castellino sets a tone where a tongue isn’t firmly planted in cheek, but rubs against it a little." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"One of the hottest tickets for Off-Broadway that gives you the same star power and emotional thrills as The Great White Way...The whole show is filled with powerful voices and a few humbling lessons...'Desperate Measures' is a brisk, good time filled with numbers that is rich in arrangements and powerful ballads...More importantly, the lyrics and even fleeting phrases have sincere, societal commentary." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"An uproarious reimagining of Shakespeare's 'Measure for Measure,' complete with a cast of vivacious characters and a host of incredibly memorable songs...Every element of 'Desperate Measures' seems to have been devised with both wit and love. This is also true of the wonderful cast, all of whom turn out both cracking and endearing performances...A musical with a script this lovely AND songs that could stand alone is a relatively rare phenomenon...Not to be missed." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"A toe-tapping unforgettable score of fifteen hummable tunes and precise expressive lyrics...A brilliant book without an extra syllable in it...strewn with low jinx bawdy enough to amuse the baseborn and observations astute enough to impress the scholarly, yet capable of making both of the above mutually burst into billowing roars of laughter...An unspoiled, impeccable, picture perfect catch of performers...Every person in the audience walked out laughing." Full Review

Off Off Online

"Manages to transcend its corny potential and genuinely entertain. Though the rhyming can be slightly tiresome at moments, and the show’s overt humor doesn’t always land, the show is smartly structured, balancing its exaggerated shenanigans with enough subtle, tender moments to add nuance and keep its characters from being mere clichés...Its success is largely owed to its cast of six, who ensure that the musical’s over-the-top nature comes across with a balance of humor and humanity." Full Review

Edge New York

“Cute but predictable and unfortunately not as funny as it tries to be. And that's just it–‘Desperate Measures’ tries desperately hard, but you can feel that strain from some of the forced gags and physical humor…That isn't to say there's nothing in the show for fans of Shakespeare or musicals or farces that take place in the Old West; the seams show and the jokes sometimes land flat, but even when it pushes too hard, it's still endearing, rhymes and knee-slaps be damned.” Full Review


"This kind of musical spoof on a Shakespearean work has been done before, and a more skillfully might I add . Nevertheless, there’s a spark to the tuneful score that, at its best, ably captures the spirit of classic musical comedy. More problematic is the book, which is written in sometimes painfully obvious rhyming couplets. Shakespeare, or even David Ives, this is certainly not. Despite the problematic book, Castellino’s production is resourceful and playful and the cast happily game." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy campy musical fun set in the old west (you don't need to know Shakespeare to enjoy it).

Don't see it if you don't enjoy winking, campy shows.

Funny, Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining, Wonderful music

See it if You want to see a totally original musical comedy with terrific performances and a clever book- really clever, fun and most enjoyable.

Don't see it if You only like musicals from the heyday and Golden Age - this is not a Great Musical in that sense but a wonderful night out of new material.

Also Enjoyed this far more than I had anticipated. You can forget the fact ... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Great singing

See it if Enjoy original musicals.

Don't see it if Adapting “the greats” annoys you.

Also There are some wonderful voices here and the score is solid. That’s al... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if Outstanding singing and very funny, very entertaining, the time flew by so fast. The music was good and the story good too.

Don't see it if You want fancy staging, and up scale theater and fancy costumes. but if you want a great show to enjoy this is it.

Delightful, Great singing, Fluffy, Corny, Very funny

See it if you'd like a funny, lighthearted evening without depth or lessons, but lots of fun. The audience was smiling and singing after

Don't see it if you're expecting Shakespeare (this ain't it), want something deep or meaningful, you're not in the mood for good-hearted silliness

Also I wouldn't bring kids under the age of "I know what sex is and I under... Read more Read less

Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want to laugh

Don't see it if If you are expecting Shakespeare

Also Very entertaining and well acted. If you want to have a fun night and ... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Great writing, Hilarious, Broadway worthy

See it if you enjoy great musical comedy at its finest. Fun and entertaining from start to end. Don't be surprised if this goes to Broadway.

Don't see it if you don't like music or humor.

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a good spirited musical that works

Don't see it if You dislike musicals which don’t sound as great as Oklahoma

Also It’s an off-beat story which actually touches the heart. Well done

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Catchy

See it if A fast-paced delight that is sure to put a huge smile on your face. Shakespeare-inspired yet highly approachable

Don't see it if Small theater with non-flashy staging. A rather western-themed romantic comedy with a hint of political and religious satire.

Also I kept thinking, wow, he (Conor Ryan) is such a great singer. Intimate... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Wonderful performances, Great casting

See it if like plays that have excellent acting, singing, score, funny "tongue in cheek" humor, clever lyrics and are relevant to present day society.

Don't see it if you dislike farces, musicals, purposeful stereotypes that are silly and "light."

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to be thoroughly entertained for 21/2 hours by talented actors in a wonderful production.

Don't see it if you dislike musicals. Actually I dislike most musicals, and I'm tired of Shakespeare and Westerns, but I loved this show.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to have a fun time. The book and music are a hoot. The cast was great.

Don't see it if you only like serious theater

Absorbing, Delightful, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if If you like a fun show. Great cast fabulous songs, terrifically entertaining, totally absorbing and enjoyable show. Don't miss it

Don't see it if sorry I can't think of any reason to miss seeing this show-

Funny, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You're up for a fun show. Nothing too weighty here, but a clever Shakespeare parody, very competently mounted and acted.

Don't see it if You don't like or don't understand parodies.

Clever, Delightful, Hilarious, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Loved the show. Lots of tongue in cheek dialogue and clever lyrics. Lots of fun.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals or Western.

Delightful, Enchanting, Must see, Hilarious, Great singing

See it if you want your faith in musical theater restored.

Don't see it if No imaginable reason not to see it.

Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Fluffy

See it if you want to see a creative take on iambic pentameter... or is it verse? Creative use of modern rhyming language.

Don't see it if you want something seriously. This is the most opposite of serious you could get.

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if If you like fun theater, see it, see it, see it. it’s closing Dec 31, so run don’t walk to the York theater

Don't see it if Don’t miss it even if you don’t like musicals.

Funny, Cliched, Entertaining, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if Over the top, campy country western send up of Measure for Measure Over-all goofy good will hard to beat Catchy music & lyrics add to fun

Don't see it if Loses momentum in 2nd Act; could easily be 100 mins w/o intermission & not be harmed Still, a silly shoot-em-up entertaining evening

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if its still playing. It had everything from great stage, to actors to songs. The writing was very well done and the show is funny. Loved it!

Don't see it if you are scrooge, and don't like great musicals. Once again have to say, see it this show while you can!

Also I don't usually trust reviews where they are so high, but there really... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if If you like a show like the Fantastiks , you will love this show, funny, absorbing, light, good hearted comedy. Nick Wyman is outstanding.

Don't see it if Jim Morgan's pre show speech was brutal! He stood up on stage for 10 minutes, it was a run on sentence.

Funny, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want a fun musical very reminiscent of the giddy shows that really want to entertain you. See it and have a good time.

Don't see it if your looking for a Sondheim type of musical.

Funny, Clever, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if fast-paced western musical comedy with funny, clever rhyming lines and music; strong cast with great voices & great rapport; a fun evening

Don't see it if you want a traditional version of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure - about the only thing remaining is the bed trick with the nun

Funny, Quirky, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if you enjoy campy, silly, fun shows, like Toxic Avenger, Bat Boy, etc... but with a Shakespearean twist. The show knows what it is, & leans in

Don't see it if you are a Shakespeare snob, purist, or can't take a joke.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you enjoy musical theatre, well performed

Don't see it if you hate "country-themed" music or you believe Shakespeare is sacred.

Also Loosely based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, and moved to pre-s... Read more Read less