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

About the show

After a hit run at the York Theatre, this madcap, wild musical, set in the Old West and inspired by Shakespeare's 'Measure for Measure,' re-opens at New World Stages for an open-ended run.

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When the dangerously handsome Johnny Blood’s life is on the line after a saloon brawl, he must put his fate into the hands of a colorful cast of characters including a mysterious sheriff, an eccentric priest, a sleazy governor, a saloon girl gone good, and a nun out of the habit. Before the sun sets, will they pull off the greatest caper yet? Will justice prevail or will Johnny be left hanging? 'Desperate Measures' won the 2018 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Off-Broadway Musical, and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Lyrics.

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through 9/09


$45 (reg. $59) Orchestra Sides and Back Row
$55 (reg. $89) Orchestra Center


Extra fees are up to $8 per ticket and $2.75 per order, but these are standard on all tickets. Book by Sept. 9. Restrictions may apply.
$49 - $59
through 9/09


$59 Front Orchestra
$49 Side & Rear Orchestra


Offer valid for performances through 9/9/18. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount and is not applicable to previously purchased tickets. Limit 10 tickets per order. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and includes a $2.00 facility fee. Normal phone and Internet service charges apply. Not all seats are discounted. Cast and schedule subject to change. Blackout dates may apply. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time without notice.

Playbill Club
$49 - $59
through 9/09


$49 (reg. $59) Orchestra Sides and Rear

$59 (reg. $89) Front Orchestra


Offer valid for performances through 9/9/18. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount and is not applicable to previously purchased tickets. Limit 10 tickets per order. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and includes a $2.00 facility fee. Normal phone and Internet service charges apply. Not all seats are discounted. Cast and schedule subject to change. Blackout dates may apply. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time without notice.

$49 - $59
through 9/09


Offer valid for performances through 9/9/18. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount and is not applicable to previously purchased tickets.  Limit 10 tickets per order. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and includes a $2.00 facility fee. Normal phone and Internet service charges apply. Not all seats are discounted. Cast and schedule subject to change. Blackout dates may apply. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time without notice.

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Show Showdown

"Sometimes an old-fashioned, well-done, energetic, deeply silly musical is the perfect way to spend an evening…Shows of this sort live and die by the direction and performances, and both are swell. Castellino paces the show perfectly, and the cast throw themselves whole-heartedly into the crazy goings-on…Beside their comic talents, they all sing beautifully…As a woman in the lobby after the show summed up, 'You may get here grumpy, but you won't leave grumpy'." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Last October, I strongly recommended 'Desperate Measures,' the delightful musical farce loosely based on…'Measure for Measure,' which it sets in the Wild West, turning…Angelo into a Trump-like tyrant. 'Desperate Measures' has now returned for a commercial run with the only cast change being Sarah Parnicky in the role of Sister Mary Jo...Despite a drop in intimacy, and a running time…that's a little longer than it need be, 'Desperate Measures' continues to ride high in the saddle." Full Review


"This clever and tuneful little show is better than ever on the larger stage...This cast is a wow! All inhabit their characters with impeccable comic timing and have vocal chops that do full justice to the ear-hugging songs and witty rhymed lyrics...Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who found 'Measure for Measure' to be the 'single exception to the delightfulness of Shakespeare's plays' would certainly find plenty to be delighted with in 'Desperate Measures.'" Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"Delightful, slightly bawdy show…The entire cast are excellent…The music by David Friedman is consistently hummable and occasionally more than that. The book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg are very clever...Director/choreographer Bill Castellino is quite comfortable with the material and works in several bits of hilarious physical humor.…If you are looking for old-fashioned light summer entertainment, this will fill the bill nicely." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"In addition to the cast's sterling performances under Bill Castellino's simple yet lively direction, and James Morgan's easy moveable sets, what makes the musical work so well is Kellogg's facility with rhyming dialogue (natural and rarely forced) and one of the most tuneful scores of recent vintage." Full Review


"Shakespearean spoofs are almost as old as Shakespeare himself, dating back to at least the Restoration period. Although the vast majority has faded into history, there are still some real standouts like the classic musical 'Kiss Me, Kate,' which thanks largely to Cole Porter is arguably even more enjoyable than its source material, a rare feat that the relatively new musical 'Desperate Measures,' now in its second off-Broadway run, also accomplishes." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"Deft direction and a snappy book and score delivered by a comically-gifted cast, this evening is the perfect compliment to these #metoo times…Highest comic marks go Ryan and Molina as secondary love interests Johnny and Bella… Although on the surface, the evening is played for laughs, Castellino subversively works in some of the Bard’s deeper themes of heartless unyielding law enforcement and sexual harassment—both alive and well four centuries later in Trump’s America." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“Hilariously silly but fun new musical...Opens with a surprisingly smart and funny bang...With solid music direction and orchestrations by David Hancock Turner and a smartly directed and choreographed good time by Bill Castellino the musical production giddily gallops forward, taking a convoluted Shakespearian 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 creates one great time at the dance hall.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"After a slowish start that sets up the situation, 'Desperate Measures' expertly mixes high and low comedy...Surely the direction of Castellino played a key role in the light touch maintained throughout...The show's hallmark is its good taste. By taking the premise at face value and playing it for all it's worth -- but without belaboring it in the slightest -- everyone involved has achieved exactly the kind of breezy, beguiling entertainment that should be on tap at all times." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"A constant smile-inducer of a musical...A tuneful, amusing, constantly surprising score...There’s virtually no end of encomia that can be poured on the cast members’ heads…Ryan has a strong voice—who doesn’t in this ensemble?—but he also is physically adept, constantly using his body for clownish punctuation…More off-hand with Susanna’s commitment to faith than Isabella is in the Shakespeare original, but that hardly matters when so much good clean fun is on tap." Full Review

Front Row Center

"'Desperate Measures' relies on cliche and spoof to carry the evening. That said, this show has enough feel-good reserve that, by the time it wraps up, the audience is clapping to the band’s hoedown rhythms as the cast takes curtain calls...Kellogg makes the rhyming device fun without beating you over the head with it…The singing voices and the harmonies sound pure...In the market for a small, sweet, feel-good musical? 'Desperate Measures' should do the trick." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“As bodacious and bawdy as ever...Has the ‘guts’ of ‘Measure for Measure’ with the charm and appeal of a traditional Broadway musical...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. They stay true to their characters and deliver authentic and believable performances.” Full Review


“A delightful musical...It’s all pretty ridiculous, but those doings (and the repercussions) are presented in a spirited fashion, and with a lovely (and sometimes funny) score, as well as dialogue amazingly pulled off in rhyming couplets à la the bard himself...The cast is game...The villain is a piggish male who is presented as a despicable buffoon. The women are part of a plan to outsmart him, which they nimbly do, using all their wiles. It all works out.” Full Review

Stage Left

“Abandons any pretense of wrestling with Shakespeare’s grander, weightier statements...but plays out like the early musicals of the 1930s...While it could be punchier and more socially relevant, I am hard pressed to think of another new musical as fun and, well, charming—a guilty pleasure that kept me smiling from start to finish...The score is abundantly smart and surprising, despite its subtlety, Kellogg’s book and lyrics are well-crafted and humorous." Full Review

Carey Purcell

"Utterly zany, ridiculously charming and unapologetically entertaining...Even this critic...was shaking with laughter more than she was raising an eyebrow throughout this unabashedly old-fashioned but undeniably all-too-relevant production...In the hands of a lesser cast, 'Desperate Measures' could be more problem than play, but under Castellino’s direction, this ensemble shows, rather than tells, the moral questions and quandaries and maintains a feather-light touch." Full Review

A Seat on the Aisle

"No previous Shakespearean scholarship is required to follow the show’s wacky plot or to have a rollicking good time...Each member of the excellent six-person cast has ample opportunity to shine in solo, duet, and ensemble numbers, ably selling Peter Kellogg’s consistently witty lyrics...While Bill Castellino directs and choreographs 'Desperate Measures' to make the most of its abundant comedic elements, there is a serious undertone to the work." Full Review

Musical Theater Review

"The show’s book by Kellogg, while not exactly a one-joke affair, is pretty close to one. Luckily, there’s no effort to take anything seriously, and the dialogue is filled with rhyming verse, heightening the larky flavour. With the aid of an appealing cast and Bill Castellino’s lively direction and choreography, it manages to work up its share of pleasant merriment...All in all, 'Desperate Measures' is a respectable addition to the canon of musicals that have found their inspiration in the Ba... Full Review

New York Stage Review

"A rootin’, tootin’, scootin’, hootin’ Wild West musical comedy that likely will tickle those customers whose lower funny bones are within easy reach. It’s an awfully broad show for my finicky taste...Wants to be nothing more than a pleasant light entertainment that spoofs melodramatic horse operas…Cultivating these dandy performances and nimbly staging their doings with speed and good humor, Castellino has shaped a trivial, tumbleweed affair into a modestly diverting attraction." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“Purely fun, but as the role of art as an invitation to activism becomes more essential than ever, there is little escape to be found in a musical in which a woman considers marrying an authoritarian figure as a better solution than fending on her own...The musical isn't without its charms, most of them coming in the form of Molina, who turns in a performance of such comedic precision that comparing her to Lucille Ball feels like somewhat of an understatement." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

for a previous production "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


for a previous production “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

Broadway Blog

for a previous production “'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

Times Square Chronicles

for a previous production "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

Woman Around Town

for a previous production "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


for a previous production "The clever, comedic twists of the story run rampant. Indeed, this high farce, set to an illustrative musical score, both appealing and profound, delivers moment-to-moment joyous excitement...I cannot say enough about the music, as well as the lyrics and book...The show’s currency resonates timelessness...The light of truth can disperse the darkness. That it does so tunefully, memorably, and riotously in 'Desperate Measures' is very welcome for us at this time." Full Review

Delightful, Great acting, Hilarious, Great singing, Great staging

See it if If you like seeing updated/AU Shakespeare plays

Don't see it if You want a serious plot

Also I almost never give a full 100 score to a show but this seriously hit ... Read more Read less

Clever, Exquisite, Must see, Hilarious, Great singing

See it if you want to see a wonderful reimagining of Shakespeare's play. Powerhouse singing with witty comedy to match. What a real treat this was!

Don't see it if you were looking to see Three Tall Women or something just as serious with no singing involved. This play is very goofy but damn good.

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want a funny, inconsequential two hours in the theatre where you'll be charmed by an incredibly talented bunch of actors.

Don't see it if you think musicals need to be BIG and full of spectacle.

Also I was a tad leery at first but was very quickly seduced by this hyster... Read more Read less

Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Very enjoyable and entertaining musical. The music and songs are great.The cast is superb. Wonderful acting,singing.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of light, western themed musicals

Funny, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing of poetic lyrics

See it if You like westerns, comedies, & cute musicals! If you are out for a fun time, don't miss this chance to leave with a big smile on your face!

Don't see it if Funny, rhyming musicals, with great characters, are not appealing, & you seek something more thought provoking than this silly creative romp

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want some entertainment and joyful time.

Don't see it if I actually find it hard to dissuade you from seeing it.

Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you like silly funny musicals

Don't see it if you don't like an older style musical

Also The sound in the show is incredible!

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Hilarious, Great singing

See it if You like to laugh at clever acting and singing

Don't see it if You don't like shows making fun of theatre

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want to be entertained. It's smart and well sung.

Don't see it if you're a snob.

Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you love well written different takes on Shakespeare with great music and a fun plot. It's an up close and personal entertaining show.

Don't see it if you love Broadway prices or grandeur or can't stand to watch riffs on Shakespeare because you prefer the real thing.

Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy well done musicals. What fun!!

Don't see it if You don't enjoy good musicals.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you are looking for pure entertainment. It is hilariously written and the rhyming stanzas are comical

Don't see it if you're looking for huge production value or depth. This is a musical farce filled with talent and fun!

Also I wish I was in high school, because I can see this being a MUST on sm... Read more Read less

Funny, Quirky, Hilarious, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You’re looking for a fun, madcap entertaining evening at the theater.

Don't see it if You are looking for something with a little more depth and guts. It stays on the lighter side, and only goes so far.

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if If you enjoy a spoof on Shakespeare. If you enjoy goid singing.

Don't see it if If you are not fond of Shakespeare and do not like gunshot noises.

Clever, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You like a funny Musical with a talented cast & a show that Rhymes.

Don't see it if You’re expecting a lavish Bdwy Musical or dislike Spoofs.

Also A funny, clever, upbeat Western Spoof Musical. Talented cast with good... Read more Read less

Funny, Delightful, Intelligent, Hilarious, Great singing

See it if you like clever dialogue, cute songs, and a funny story with a lot of mishaps along with great comedic timing.

Don't see it if are looking for a basic serious drama and don’t like to laugh or smile.

Funny, Clever, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to see great new talent in an original, very entertaining show!

Don't see it if You don’t like good old fashioned entertainment.

Funny, Delightful, Silly

See it if you want a silly, but charming musical, performed by talented singers offering a Western inspired by Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.

Don't see it if you want a large cast, big dance numbers, or take things too seriously.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if you love a good musical comedy and show that's been inspired by Shakespeare

Don't see it if You dont like to have a good laugh!


See it if It was ok

Don't see it if Need more vivid

Funny, Clever, Quirky, Great singing

See it if you love Shakespeare, wouldn't mind Off-Broadway and enjoy cheesy but good rom-coms

Don't see it if you expect Broadway grandeur (it's good but it's not there yet)

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you are looking for delightful, campy fun, want an entertaining and escapist jaunt to the theatre

Don't see it if you dislike musicals, will be offended by a very campy take on the gender politics and bed trick plot of measure for measure.

Fluffy, Uninspired, Sophomoric, Mostly good acting, Some nice melodies

See it if you like Shakespearean spoofs that don't quite make you laugh and music that doesn't quite make you feel with mostly good singer/actors.

Don't see it if you are looking for a musical with more than 2-dimensional characters that you might care about.

Funny, Clever, Banal, Disappointing, Fluffy

See it if you like loose, dopey musical adaptations of Shakespeare with catchy songs and sing-songy dialogue.

Don't see it if you want to see high art.

Banal, Dated, Great singing

See it if You enjoy Lauren Molina and an interesting twist on Shakespeare

Don't see it if You want to see something that feels new and exciting.

Also I really wanted to like the show but I just found the music forgettabl... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (13)