First Daughter Suite
Closed 2h 30m
First Daughter Suite
71

First Daughter Suite NYC Reviews and Tickets

71%
(55 Reviews)
Positive
60%
Mixed
31%
Negative
9%
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.'

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (55)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
65
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. Read more

72
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

Critic Reviews (32)

The New York Times
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 captive characters, 'First Daughter Suite' thinks — and feels — way outside the box."
Read more

Time Out New York
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 or 10 minute too long. Still, for political junkies, there’s fun to be had."
Read more

New York Magazine / Vulture
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 the way narrative works can. Still, if it takes Amy Carter and Patti Davis to get to Barbara Bush, that’s a compromise I can live with."
Read more

The Hollywood Reporter
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 lyrics are often witty, his recitative-heavy score is mostly tedious and repetitive, its high style too often jarring with the sophomoric silliness of the proceedings."
Read more

The Wall Street Journal
October 22nd, 2015

"Kirsten Sanderson’s staging is simple to a fault, but the ensemble cast is so good that it doesn’t matter. Ms. Testa also gets to sing the best number in the show, an extended duet whose softly undulating harmonies evoke Sondheim’s distinctive style without succumbing to mere derivativeness. The six-piece pit band lacks drive but that’s a counsel of perfection. In every other way, 'First Daughter Suite' is a little masterpiece."
Read more

Deadline
October 21st, 2015

"'First Daughter Suite' is absolutely enchanting, musically and dramatically...There’s enough sadness and whimsy in 'First Daughter Suite,' all kept deftly in balance, to leave us wanting more. I didn’t want it to end."
Read more

AM New York
October 21st, 2015

"It's a safe bet that 'First Daughter Suite' will not go on to achieve the commercial success of 'Fun Home' or 'Hamilton,' both of which also originated at the Public Theater -- but that's not to say it wasn't worth producing, at least from an artistic perspective...'First Daughter Suite' may be uneven and tense, but it is often compelling."
Read more

Theatermania
October 21st, 2015

"LaChiusa and director Kristen Sanderson run away with artistic liberties, just staying on the right side of the line between genius and insanity...LaChiusa's more perspicacious audiences may be able to glean some profundity from the absurdity, but even if no deeper meaning runs beneath the waters of their sailing adventure, it is the gold standard of unadulterated theatricality. And after 44 executive reigns, we've hopefully learned by now that first families are nothing if not theatrical."
Read more

Lighting & Sound America
October 22nd, 2015

"A wildly uneven, but often striking and surprisingly moving, quartet of musical episodes by Michael John LaChiusa. Among the show's pleasures are the author's wildly different, and often highly original, takes on a number of presidential spouses and daughters, and an A-team of musical theatre talents in splendid voice...Cutting across partisan lines, 'First Daughter Suite' is, for all its flaws, a remarkable act of the imagination."
Read more

Talkin' Broadway
October 21st, 2015

"It is unarguably another serious and magnetic musical of the type LaChiusa has made his career on...'First Daughter Suite' shares its forerunner's jagged composition, which musicalizes the mechanics of thought and rather than represent them with glitzy theatricality that might obscure the characters' souls. It's an ambitious form of storytelling, but not always an effective one; it makes the women seem flimsier and less important than either the musical or reality likely intended."
Read more

Theater Pizzazz
October 24th, 2015

"Although mixed with wit, emotion, and moments of brilliance, it’s difficult to understand the underlying musical intention and, better still, the need for this creation that would make it essential for even those who crave some history in this genre would want to sit through 2 ½ hours (with intermission) of this politically partisan storytelling, other than the remarkable cast of females that make up 'First Daughter Suite.'"
Read more

CurtainUp
October 16th, 2015

"The stage craft is impeccable. Scott Pask's glistening floor supports the watery atmosphere and the idea of all these presidential satellites being in a giant fish bowl. And the small orchestra is neatly positioned in a balcony above the stage. LaChiusa's many fans won't want to miss 'First Daughter Suite,' even though flights of fancy and references aren't as hit-home as those in 'First Wives' Suite.'"
Read more

Theatre's Leiter Side
October 24th, 2015

"There’s no disputing the extraordinary quality of the ensemble, each of whom sings and acts the often very complex, unconventional melodies with masterful skill and authority. However, too much borders on the banal, and for anyone who lived through these years and paid attention, there’s nothing here not already known. Mr. LaChiusa’s music has its fans, but, despite moments of great beauty, its over-dependence on dialogue-supporting recitative with extended notes may not be for everybody."
Read more

DC Theatre Scene
October 21st, 2015

"For all its lapses, 'First Daughter Suite' offers great satisfactions. The most prominent of these is the wonderful all-female cast...The cast’s spot-on acting inspires some genuinely moving moments...All nine actresses do such a stellar job that the joy in their performances is less in their impersonations of public figures as in their embodiments of breathing human beings. "
Read more

The Clyde Fitch Report
October 22nd, 2015

"The Public Theater has brought forth another gorgeous piece from one of its favorites, Michael John LaChiusa. The piece consists of four one-acts in which First Daughters and First Ladies appear in circumstances of the songwriter’s imagining. The fourth piece is so stunning that the noun-adjective 'classic' can instantly be attached to it. One may not have the same reaction to the other three."
Read more

New York Theatre Guide
October 23rd, 2015

"If you walk away with nothing else, you will walk away astonished at the talent on the stage and in the orchestra. This production shoots the moon with talent and skill. The opening scene is nothing short of magnificent...Would that the entire piece lived up to it…The overall piece does not guide us along a path of firm footing. Instead we are left with scenes from the residencies that come across more like a house of horrors."
Read more

The Wrap
October 21st, 2015

"Liberals will enjoy this show more than conservatives. For everyone in between, 'Suite' offers real drama played out against a backdrop of grand opera...The problem here is that LaChiusa seems to be trying to write melodies but the tune falls flat. His vocal lines often features octave jumps that aren’t so much dramatic as they are awkward, more discomforting than dissonant — especially for the performers."
Read more

Wolf Entertainment Guide
October 25th, 2015

"Daughters of American presidents are given a satirical going over in this smart, entertaining new musical... In truth, the most barbed parts of the new show are about the assortment of the White House moms."
Read more

Broadway & Me
October 31st, 2015

"I'm a longtime LaChiusa fan but even I will admit that musical books aren't his strong suit. The scenarios in 'First Daughter Suite' are often amusing...But the jokes are too often obvious, playing to the biases of the Public's presumed liberal audiences. And some of the gibes are cheap shots...Still, LaChiusa is one of the few composers who regularly creates strong roles for women and here he's been blessed with a cast of eight gifted actresses, who turn in sensational performances."
Read more

Newsday
October 21st, 2015

"Except for 'Amy Carter's Fabulous Dream Adventure,' which traps us for too long in the musical-comedy absurdity of a 12-year-old's dream, the brief pieces enchant and inform with an eclectic mix of post-Sondheim modernism, bluesy riffs and swingy styles that are very much his own."
Read more

The Huffington Post
October 21st, 2015

"It's intelligent, complex, beautifully sung and like a fool, I'm going to need some time to catch up with it...Every piece featured strong performances, but only the wacky antics on display in 'Amy Carter's Fabulous Dream Adventure' proved what dizzying heights LaChiusa's concept could reach...The musical strengths of each section will need time with a hoped-for cast album to come...Despite my cavils, in short, I'd like to hear more."
Read more

NorthJersey.com
October 22nd, 2015

"'First Daughter Suite' is very well sung, and has been nimbly directed in its varying moods by Kirsten Sanderson...But, although an interesting example of serious musical theater, it's seldom compelling. You keep wondering why LaChiusa didn't include Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, which might have at least supplied a sense of immediacy."
Read more

The Huffington Post
October 29th, 2015

"Here's the rub: The cast of 'First Daughter Suite' is excellent. It's a varied tonal musical about the relationship of First Family daughters and their mothers, often more vitriolic than loving. Then again, The White House is the people's house, not a family home. Men may lust for power; their daughters and wives are held hostage to political fate. The premise is sound but the execution is off...'First Daughter Suite' is too thin to merit the talents of its laudable cast."
Read more

NY Theatre Guide
October 21st, 2015

"Overall, 'First Daughter Suite' is an enjoyable musical with enough entertainment and interesting looks at American history to overcome its slower points. The music tussles within each act between strong, powerfully emotive arrangements and songs that sound like they can play in an elevator. Yet the cast does a good job of showing how much strength it takes to be the women behind the men leading America."
Read more

Reviewing The Drama
October 26th, 2015

"The score does not excite; it does not open up a piece of this strange world of living your life in public, of having this honorific and place in history despite not seeking it. Rather than go for deep, thoughtful analysis, 'First Daughter Suite' trades in tabloid psychology, which is disappointing given the caliber of artists...Perhaps that should have been the tack taken in the other three vignettes, which all went for sophisticated drama but got soap opera pastiche instead."
Read more

American Theater Web
October 22nd, 2015

"The combination of LaChiusa’s inventive storytelling and wide-ranging music creates a playground for the production’s nine-member cast, working under the sure-handed direction of Kirsten Sanderson. Vocally the company cannot be beat. Each of the performers traverses LaChiusa’s melodies with both ease and power."
Read more

Financial Times (UK)
October 22nd, 2015

"LaChiusa is a whiz at whimsy. His lyrics sail playfully in pleasurable, sometimes unexpected directions while his music bears the stamp of Sondheim. All the open fifths and soaring phrases can produce an emotional sameness....The actors assembled here by director Kristen Sanderson are achingly good."
Read more

BritishTheatre.com
October 22nd, 2015

"Every element of the design and directorial vision is acutely, passionately detailed, leaving the gifted cast with nothing more to do than be transcendent, a feat each and every one of these marvellous actors manages seemingly without effort."
Read more

TheaterScene.com
November 4th, 2015

"On a very small stage, director Kirsten Sanderson has vividly provided us with the vision to imagine all the venues of the evening. She understands the strength of her dazzling cast, and guides them to give what may well be the best performances of their careers...This is a presentation to be experienced, discussed, and savored. It must definitely be declared one of the finest productions of the season."
Read more

O
November 3rd, 2015

"You just might want to see this finely crafted and multi-textured production at least three times to fully grasp the artistic merits and musical majesty...The entire cast excels dramatically and vocally. They delve deeply into each character trying to resolve their problems. Politics and pressure take their toll on the battleground of 'The First Daughter Suite.' It’s horrifying and humorous - melancholy and disturbing. And vivid."
Read more

N
October 22nd, 2015

"The wandering tetraptych of musical vignettes, deals vaguely with mother-daughter relationships on the periphery of the U.S. presidency. But it finds its soul in its first ladies who as characters are more carefully rendered than the daughters..This is both the musical’s strength and its weakness. After a powerful opening number, the show quickly loses steam."
Read more

PopBytes
November 19th, 2015

"The show features a vast cast of immensely talented women. Theater buffs will be delighted to hear them all sing in the intimate venue. With essentially no dialogue, the show transitions from song to song, giving each actor an opportunity to individually shine. And when they’re not performing their solos, they break off into layers of harmonies and belt-off contests which amount to pure ear candy. It’s worth catching 'First Daughter Suite' for the singing alone."
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

83
Great
150+ Reviews
Open run
Six
NYC: Midtown W

An exuberant, pop celebration of 21st century girl power featuring the wives of Henry VIII.

Buy
82
Great
500+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: Midtown W

An actor drinks heavily (think Comedy Central's 'Drunk History') and tries to corral others into enacting a…

Buy
77
Good
139 Reviews
Ends Oct 10
NYC: Midtown W

Following a sold-out run at LCT3, "Pass Over" will come to Broadway for a limited run this August.

Buy