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“A wildly fun and unpredictable new two-person musical comedy…As played by the energetic and charismatic Valerie Vigoda, Kat is really quite a catch. Vigoda also wrote the clever, storytelling lyrics…Add a solidly quirky book by Joe DiPietro and a spirited production by director Lisa Peterson, and ‘Ernest Shackleton Loves Me’ is just as lovable as musicals come…The plot may be thin, but the enjoyable score is a terrific mix of pop, folk and techno...This one will melt your heart.” Full Review
"Under the direction of Peterson, this NY premiere proudly waves its freak flag, and, perhaps taking a clue from the adventures of the title character, boldly dares to risk its life in the admirable search for innovation...While Vigoda and McCollum don't have much romantic chemistry, they're both delightfully quirky performers who really know how to sell the material...Peterson's direction guides them both into larger-than-life performances that, remarkably, are down-to-earth at the same time." Full Review
"Vigoda and Milburn's works mix the snarky and the sentimental. Under Lisa Peterson’s focused direction, 'Ernest Shackleton' is no exception...With the exception of a cheerily disjointed opening number, the score and the narrative that encases it are too tidy to allow for much real feeling. Kat is supposedly an experimental composer, but most of the music is merry pastiche...If Mr. DiPietro’s premise is nicely weird, his psychology and story rarely buck convention." Full Review
"This charming, kooky, playful, tuneful, toe-tapping original musical probably shouldn’t work as well as it does. Much of the credit goes to the two performers, Wade McCollum and Valerie Vigoda, who is also the lyricist and plays a mean electric violin...The sentimental, self-help aspects of 'Ernest Shackleton Loves Me' don’t get in the way of what is so enjoyable about the show. The most delightful aspect of 'Ernest Shackleton Loves Me' are the lively musical numbers." Full Review
"Under Peterson's canny direction, this bizarre premise is so smoothly put over that there are many things to enjoy...The exchanges between a frazzled twenty-first century woman and her Edwardian explorer are often amusing...The idea of using this historical event as a way of working out Kat's personal problems is so weirdly random that often one's mind wanders...A confident production with many crowd-pleasing aspects, but it is built on a questionable concept." Full Review
“This unusual 90-minute work blends music, comedy, history, and contemporary social angst in a multimedia smoothie I promise won't give you brain freeze…It takes a little time to warm you up…Once you're on board, though, director Lisa Peterson creatively steers you through a string of wild adventures, including climbing a mountain…I was bowled over by the bearded McCollum, a tall, athletic, deep-voiced actor, who not only sings extremely well but displays chameleonic virtuosity.” Full Review
"A bighearted but very silly musical...Brendan Milburn’s music is lovely, and the two actors sound great performing it...The painfully broad humor in Joe DiPietro’s script only heightens the feeling that we’re watching an after-school special for grown-ups. But 'Ernest Shackleton Loves Me' is so clearly a labor of love that it’s hard to be too bothered by the cartoonishness, even as the show sails into shallow waters." Full Review
"A production that has Peterson maximizing its many strengths. The musical is so original that many spectators might sit through it with jaws dropped. That’s when they’re not cheering its high entertainment quotient...To give the impression Kat’s satisfied with having had the imagined Shackleton affair is pushing whimsy too far. That doesn’t do it for a woman with this amount of indomitable spirit...'Ernest Shackleton Loves Me' still comes across as absolutely original. It’s a welcome rarity." Full Review
"Quirky, contemporary, romantic and utterly adorable. This new musical with an addictive score is sure to lure audiences into this magical fantasy and become an instant cult hit...History, adventure and songs will have you movin' and groovin' in your chair, exhilarating your senses...Joe DiPietro’s book is charming, but it is Lisa Peterson’s direction that sets this show a-sailing...Don’t let this ocean voyaging yarn pass you by." Full Review
“Chelsea Cook's costumes are completely realistic, but Nichols' physical set with its scaffolding and onstage equipment never lets us forget that we are in a theater, not on an adventure since his lighting never blocks anything out. Lisa Peterson's direction is smooth but she is unable to turn the show into something that it isn't. ‘Ernest Shackleton Loves Me’ requires a great deal of suspension of disbelief but may charm those who easily succumb to whimsy.” Full Review
"As someone who was deeply moved by the story of Shackleton and the brave crew of the Endurance, I was distressed to see this story misappropriated for so frivolous a purpose. To project film clips and stills from their expedition to prop up this silly show is almost a desecration. Perhaps a younger audience unfamiliar with his story and with a taste for electronic music will find the show more congenial. I found it a pointless waste of time." Full Review
"There is little by way of set design beyond the large video installation and a few props, but imagination and the energetic performances take care of the rest. Musically, the show is filled with thumping songs ranging from pop tunes to sea chanteys to soaring power ballads...Corny, perhaps, but the performances are so splendid, that you will find it hard to resist all of the positive energy that pours off the fine co-stars." Full Review
"The engaging and original comic musical is definitely a respite from some of the recent substandard adaptations of popular films and books littering the theatrical landscape...DiPietro’s book is quite witty, with a wonderful pro-feminist message, the score by Vigoda and Milburn is smart and tuneful...And yet, the show’s 90 minutes just don’t fly by as fast as might be expected...The show’s premise is still a bit of thin ice, no matter how well the super-talented McCollum and skate on it!" Full Review
"Though DiPietro’s Book periodically suffers from trying too hard to be funny, most writing knits in well...Music and lyrics are of wildly different quality...Actors Vigoda and McCollum are both fine musicians and strong vocalists...Director Lisa Peterson skillfully leads us from Brooklyn to the Antarctic and back...Music is nicely integrated. Danger is adeptly conjured...'Ernest Shackleton Loves Me' sometimes challenges patience, but taking the ride is not without rewards." Full Review
"A winsome rom-com...Director Lisa Peterson keeps things zipping along through the show's 90 minutes. And special kudos must go to designer Nichols, whose video projections make smart use of the historic footage from the real expedition...The show is silly, with most of the humor supplied by the talented Wade McCollum...At heart, 'Ernest Shackleton Loves Me' is an old-fashioned inspirational tale about having the courage to endure, be it subzero temperatures or a 3 a.m. feeding." Full Review
"A lot of silliness but it’s funny and clever storytelling...We follow Shackleton and Kat through Antarctica, hear some new-age music, see some terrific technology and witness some of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time. McCollum, with a twinkle and grin, blessed with a rich voice and good acting chops, should go on to be theater’s next new leading man while Vigoda is a genius electric violinist and actor. Thanks to director Lisa Peterson, the show vibrates and resonates." Full Review
"Quirky is the word that comes to mind...Ernest Shackleton (Wade McCollum) is a real-life explorer who went to Antarctica. An odd choice for leading man. However the leading lady (Valerie Vigoda) can strum the electric violin like nobody's business while she's going along on her excursion with Ernest. Quirky-they fall in love. Quirky-it's just weird, silly, a bit absurd, but at least it was quick." Full Review
“Exhilarating…Just go along for the ride. It’s a wildly entertaining one...There’s the score filled with perky ballads, dramatic anthems and spirited renderings of sea chanteys…Vigoda is totally convincing…A wonderfully well-tooled product…The staging by director Lisa Peterson is highly inventive…The adventure becomes so enthralling that when it reaches its conclusion with all crew members safe, you may well join in the cheering.” Full Review
"Thanks to the expertise of its inventive makers and performers, ‘Ernest Shackleton Loves Me’ proves an enjoyable bite-size epic, zipping along on a good-humored script, a lively, melodic score, and direction from Lisa Peterson...Vigoda invests Kat with a winning energy, and McCollum, an especially fine vocalist, cuts a charismatic figure as the courageous Shackleton. Together, their blazing performances melt away any doubts about the show’s potentially dubious concept.” Full Review
"What sells it is the unrelenting charisma of McCollum combined with Vigoda's impressive musicianship. McCollum switches easily between several characters...Has its share of exhilarating moments, but starts to run out of steam in the latter part of the show...It's a show that may at times be a bit too zany for its own good, but it charms thanks to its incredibly appealing performers and its thoughtful design...Sure to resonate with audiences in need of a good pick-me-up." Full Review
"Seldom has quirk felt more like work...Vigoda seems to be in a completely different production from her co-star...McCollum is confident to the point of absurdity...The discrepancy in performance styles and charisma has the unfortunate effect of amplifying the many weaknesses of the premise and plotting. And then there’s the score, which skis swiftly downhill...Cleverly staged and boasts some striking individual elements. But overall, this show proves more twee than treat." Full Review
“Vigoda turns in an inspired, heartfelt performance and impressively plays the electric violin…The strapping, likable Wade McCollum plays the boyfriend and the banjo-playing Shackelton and nails both roles…Smartly staged by director Lisa Peterson, images are projected on a large screen, largely featuring Shackelton’s explorations, which lend a dose of drama and realism...There are amusing moments, but the musical ultimately grows thin and frigid.” Full Review
"A goofy story. It should not work, but does and beautifully...A musical that doesn't take itself too seriously...Done with clever production design...Vigoda, who is sweet and badass as Kat, is at her best playing music and singing. Still, she has great chemistry with Shackleton. McCollum is a blizzard onto himself—he storms over the stage as Shackleton... Absolutely worth a trip upstairs to discover it." Full Review
for a previous production "Wildly quirky in its contemporary style and tone, 'Ernest Shackleton Loves Me' is an intrepid new musical...The score is propulsive and agreeably melodic. For all of its charm, the musical is not entirely watertight...A sudden shift into a farcical tone in the show’s later stretches raises a good bit of laughter but seems somewhat jarring...But for its greater part, the musical offers a wonderfully bracing time that is enhanced by smart staging from the director, Lisa Peterson." Full Review
for a previous production "The whirlwind theatrical experience that comprises 'Ernest Shackleton Loves Me' gleefully defies description...If you aren't already familiar with Vigoda and Milburn's eclectic sound from their music for GrooveLily, it's just as difficult to concisely describe as the fantastic plot. Their songs can range from pointedly theatrical to soaringly rhapsodic...One thing's for certain, it's always remarkable to have theatrical visionaries like Vigoda and Milburn back in the Garden State." Full Review
See it if charming & playful musical is for you. that shouldn’t work as well as it does. The two actors get all the credit. Create staging musical
Don't see it if a two person cast is not enough for you. If you have problems with abstract themes.
See it if single mom goes on an adventure with a larger-than- life character, and discovers how fierce, creative, and tough she really is.Brilliant
Don't see it if you are not ready to use your imagination.
See it if Two terrific performers. Engaging, hummable music. Very cleverly staged. Original.
Don't see it if I wasn't that interested in the story, which involves a Brooklyn mom and an Antarctic explorer. Too heavy on the exploration for me.
See it if you want a fast paced, original musical that cleverly uses multi-media to enhance a unique story. Thoroughly fun and entertaining.
Don't see it if you don't like imaginative musicals that suspend reality to create a show that is innovative and enthralling.
See it if you like a bouncy, feel good piece, with no expectations of the audience other than sit back and enjoy.
Don't see it if you need a realistic piece that isn't so sweet that it causes diabetes in laboratory animals.
See it if you want a 90-minute journey through modern times and the Antarctic! The two leads of this show are very talented and entertaining.
Don't see it if you want a large production or one set fully in realty; this walks the line.
See it if you like innovative new musicals tackling common subjects in new ways, you enjoy new music performed well
Don't see it if you want standard musical format, you want big casts, you don't like new musicals
See it if You like romantic comedies. This is sort of like one of those but with a bit of an odd history channel vibe thing going on. I liked it.
Don't see it if You're not prepared to sit through a bit of a mishmash. Could use a better hand at direction. You end up caring more about him than her.
See it if You want fresh, unique mix of incredible true history melded to great acting and musicianship. The historical footage alone- unforgettable.
Don't see it if you don't like electric violin. you dont want a "fantastical journey". I didn't love the smart alecky set up but it had a purpose.
See it if to be gobsmacked by an impossible situation suggested by impossible events, performed by uber talented musician performers is 2 your liking
Don't see it if you have never willingly suspended your disbelief, require rules for your theatre going, can never be surprised, or lack empathy for others
See it if You enjoy great music and acting. Hi Tech backdrop and fantastic violin play and music. Standing ovation tells it all for off Broadway,
Don't see it if You don't like two person shows. However This show is fantastic!
See it if You like to epic adventures and wonderful story telling with clever musical backdrop. Very professionally done. Acting and singing was great
Don't see it if You want a typical musical comedy.
See it if dreamlike fantasy love-affairs take you away. SO exciting SO smart SO funny. Great set. From the word "GO", show succeeds. PLEASE GO SEE IT!
Don't see it if no intermissions piss you off (ME). Both performers are SUPERB. Excellent use of real/historical pics/videos. 15-20min more would've ROCKED.
See it if You want to seen an intelligent musical about searching for love/meaning in the computer age and finding it in your imagination and fridge.
Don't see it if you are looking for Hello Dolly.
See it if u want an optimistic, fun, mesmerizing, thoughtful production w/ a talented duo, if you like cheesy (slightly repetitive musicals). Good fun
Don't see it if if you are snide or overly critical, & don't want a production reliant on technology. Most of the audience loved it. I did. My date didn't
See it if Charming little two hander musical. Vigoda is clearly a talent. McCollum is hysterical as Ernie and a slew of men. Good time was had by all.
Don't see it if Pricey for a two person ninety minute show. Low value. You need a large imagination.
See it if you think you've seen it all. This is non-traditional, quirky, and unique, but also has depth. Have fun with it.
Don't see it if you prefer traditional theatre or aren't into experimental, contemporary art.