Already closed | 2h 30m | East Village

First Daughter Suite

From 55 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Intelligent, Original, Clever

About the show

The Public Theater presents a historical fantasia by Tony nominee Michael John LaChiusa, following the inner lives and dreams of America's best-known daughters; a follow-up to his 1993 musical 'First Lady Suite.' More…

The production explores the complex dynamic between mothers and daughters, as experienced by the women and children closest to the President of the United States: Patricia Nixon and her daughters, Tricia and Julie; Amy Carter and Susan Ford and their mothers, Rosalynn and Betty; Patti Davis and her mother, Nancy Reagan; and Barbara Bush and her daughter-in-law, Laura. All face obstacles and dilemmas that, in spite of the rarified environment of the White House and accompanying travails of the Presidency, are common to us all.

Member Reviews (55)


Great acting, Ambitious, Intelligent, Original, Clever
Avg Score

Great performers, Fun subject matter, Ambitious, Unusual, Difficult score

See it if you love LaChiusa's work. FDS is highly polished: beautifully staged, well acted/sung, great production values. Stories are wild fictions.

Don't see it if you don't like LaC's music or are easily confused. Knowledge of the characters helps in following the plots. Still, terrific performances.

Also I'm catching up on old reviews. I enjoyed FDS, especially for the spec... Read more Read less

Ambitious partly successful musical fantasy

See it if you enjoy a variety of musical genres to portray fraught First Lady/Daughter relationships; Nancy Reagan/Patti Davis scene is memorable

Don't see it if you want to see a musical that is more than a series of unrelated skits, and prefer sonorous melodies to atonal recitative

Slow, Quirky, Indulgent, Excruciating, Original

See it if You love Michael John LaChiusa and will see anything he writes.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy more experimental music theater.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Enchanting

See it if you enjoy the work of Michael John LaChiusa, especially "First Lady Suite>. you enjoy fine performances from a group of fine actresses.

Don't see it if you are not a history or politics fan. Also, if you shy away from unconventional theatre.

Quirky, Original, Entertaining, Funny, Slow

See it if You are interested in seeing musical portrayals of some of our First Ladies.

Don't see it if You don't like satire and shows done in skit form.

Original, Dated, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if You are over 50 or are a Presidential Historian into kitsch. Two acts divided into 4 pieces, last piece is the best and most contemporary

Don't see it if hate cutesy impersonations that may be true

Ambitious, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if you want to see an all-star cast perform beautifully orchestrated songs or if you enjoy the work of Michael John LaChiusa.

Don't see it if you don't understand the historical context or don't want to see a series of largely unrelated musical vignettes.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you like a historical story told in segments- this was a surprisingly wonderful experience

Don't see it if you don't have some basic knowledge in the families portrayed- you will miss some of the meaning

Ambitious, Interesting, Historical, Voyeuristic

See it if You appreciatethe great musicals that originate at the Public Theater. Interesting take on American history through eyes of First Ladies

Don't see it if You want a more traditional or upbeat evening in the theater.

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you are interested in history, but already know a lot of it.

Don't see it if you don't know a lot about the presidents in the second half of the 20th century.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow

See it if You don't mind pointless rambling.

Don't see it if You have literally any other theatre-going option in front of you.

Entertaining, Great acting, Original

See it if want to see something different or want to see a great cast perform

Don't see it if you do not care for historical musicals or if you are looking for a blow you away musical.

Dated, Limited appeal, Trying to be sondheim but no, Disjointed

See it if You are over 45 and remember - and care - about the first daughters in the White House; you enjoy Sondheim-ish (very ish) atonality

Don't see it if You are too young to know about any of the first daughters before the Bush girls and your baseline for musicals is Sondheim/Miranda

Clever, Original

See it if you want to see Alison Fraser being absolutely incredible.

Don't see it if you don't like Michael John LaChiusa stuff.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny

See it if great song writing. great singing. fascinating idea.

Don't see it if it's not that driving and the last scene felt forced

Original, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Resonant

See it if you're a fan of Michael John LaChiusa or any of the amazing cast. First Daughter Suite is smart, funny and deeply heartfelt.

Don't see it if you're put off by the author's past work. This is a rich and inventive piece, but not necessarily palatable to every musical theatregoer.

Masterful, Intelligent, Indulgent, Clever, Slow

See it if You love novelty in the theater and love smart lyrics

Don't see it if You need a story to make sense or value coherency

Great singing, Ambitious, Muddled, Disappointing, Fantasy

See it if Not the best LaChuisa score but the singing is still brilliant. A little shrill but gamely, masterfully sung. Look out for these actors.

Don't see it if you're expecting a history lesson. This show is disappointingly mostly fantasy and doesn't illuminate much about these women's lives. Uneven

Quirky, Intelligent, Great acting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you love LaChiusa.

Don't see it if you're a person who whines about not being able to hum the tunes of a score that is more ambitious than those of Jerry Herman.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Great acting, Bizarre, Disjointed

See it if You want great performances by an all-female cast, ambitious material; you enjoy LaChiusa's work. The second act is better than the first.

Don't see it if you want something cohesive, consistent, and not incredibly weird.

Clever, Overrated, Disappointing

See it if you are interested in a tiny bit of information about former presidents daughters

Don't see it if you don't like odd repetitive stories.

Ambitious, Original, Uneven, Accessible

See it if Usually find LaChiusa too dissonant and detached. Want to support complicated and substantial female roles onstage.

Don't see it if Require plot and action. Looking for pure entertainment.

Entertaining, Original, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you're curious about the lives of recent first ladies/daughters... or for a hysterical dream sequence involving two first families on a boat

Don't see it if you like your musicals to be showy and grand... this one is more subdued.

Clever, Banal, Confusing, Dated, Disappointing

See it if you love American history and political satires/comedies about women.

Don't see it if you like focused narratives and narrators. This is a series of vignettes that are very out of the box.

Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing, Uneven, Original

See it if beautiful singing and performances from a talented female cast is enough to overcome uneven segments. But the highlights outweigh the lesser

Don't see it if First Families or LaChiusa music is not your thing, and despite interesting moments and great perfs, not enough to cover more boring parts.

October 21st, 2015
"The limitations of the chamber work suit Mr. LaChiusa, whose large-scale musicals have sometimes seemed to sprawl out of shape and deflate. Working within the confines of this production’s self-contained vignettes, his music — and his talent — seems all the larger for being reined in. Like his c...
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October 21st, 2015
"'First Daughter Suite' may focus more on the girls who grew up under extraordinary circumstances in the White House, but the spouses still fascinate LaChiusa. Whether we share his obsession is another matter...While there is sparkling, ruminative music and witty lyrics, each piece goes on for 5 ...
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October 21st, 2015
"The four sections of his latest musical 'First Daughter Suite' are, in order of appearance, smart, laborious, awful, and sublime...There is little that holds the evening together, despite a certain amount of thematic appliqué...In the end, these suites, being episodic, cannot dredge deep meaning...
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October 21st, 2015
"Although the evening features plenty of emotionally and comically resonant moments along the way — familiarity with the historical figures depicted helps greatly — 'First Daughter Suite' is ultimately too trivial and self-indulgent to register as much more than a curiosity. And while LaChiusa's ...
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