Banvard was the most famous living painter in the world and the first millionaire artist, world-renowned for his three-mile long moving panorama celebrating the majesty of the Mighty Mississippi. Today, an examination of reference books will not turn up a single mention of his name. John Banvard, the greatest artist of his time, has been utterly obliterated by history. An official selection of the 2017 New York Musical Festival.
"This musical elegantly and humorously rides on the friction between art and commerce, truth and lies. Those themes come to the fore through Blair's outrageously entertaining portrayal of master showman P.T. Barnum, who is this musical's primary antagonist...Herrick and Schatz have composed a score as bittersweet as the story, full of breathtakingly gorgeous songs...For a dramatically insightful and melodic musical about a distinctly American figure, this is your best bet in NYMF." Full Review
"One of the most interesting shows at NYMF...This bio-musical is well written with an infectious score...The cast of six is highly talented and the projections make this show a winner...Griffith’s portrayal of Banvard is multi-layered, with emotional pockets that captivate the audience...This piece moves at a clip and allows you to feel as if you know each and every character and that a little part of you is in each one." Full Review
"A charming piece of Americana that explores idealism coming up against cynicism. It’s very well structured, amusing and thoughtful...Schatz’s lyrics are droll, passionate, and well crafted. His music is a catchy assortment of melodies ranging from blue grass to musical theater tunes...Hyler’s staging is straightforward but inspired...With higher production values and a larger ensemble, it could certainly be a full-fledged and entertaining musical of scope." Full Review
"A fascinating slice of Americana with a quick pace, a balance of humor and heart, an authentic design, and a terrific cast that delivers the slightly fictionalized story and songs with genuine charm...All of the real-life personalities and original songs come to life with the cast’s engaging characterizations and expressive vocals...A thoroughly entertaining reaffirmation of the life and talent of John Banvard, which not only delights and educates audiences, but restores his reputation." Full Review
"Songs have an early American, frontier feel, both hoedown and ballad. Even with only two (skilled, multifaceted) musicians, it’s easy to imagine full scoring. Unfussy lyrics illuminate character and carry the story without falling into the trap of utilizing rhyme for rhyme’s sake. Melodies may not be memorable, but are engaging...The piece is well cast...Hyler’s direction is as imaginative as it can be on a near empty stage...This is a worthy show." Full Review
"'Georama' strives to give substance to John Banvard...however, the scenes provide little of essence about his life...The talented cast grapples with their characters with care and considerable authenticity...Some of the music is derivative and the lyrics contain an abundance of repetitive rhyming. The musical numbers are, however, pleasing and heartfelt...As a work in progress, 'Georama' needs some attention by its creators; however, at its core, it is a fascinating story." Full Review
"A serious-minded exploration of honorable art for art’s sake versus selfish, mercenary interests by others. While it’s admirable, its rather heavy-handed approach may make for a more uphill battle in its road to commercial success...It works, at least to a degree, as directed by West Hyler...I found myself not consistently engaged, wanting to get beyond some basics of the plot...The show has some very attractive songs with a suitable Americana feel and heartwarming musical theatre tapestry." Full Review
See it if For an interesting story. For belly laughs. For wonderful singing. For memorable songs. Really good music. 2 musicians-4 instruments.
Don't see it if There is no reason not to see it! I had no interest in going, but nothing else was available, so I went. I LOVED IT ! ! ! You will too.
See it if you find a solid, real story with a historical bent satisfying. This show illuminates not only Banvard, but PT Barnum and NYC history.
Don't see it if you require the snap crackle and pop shows increasingly rely on to attract an audience. This is a simple tale told well, and I loved it.
See it if you possibly can (you can't; it ended). Impressive show, w/ fascinating premise, snappy book, clever lyrics, great performances. Well staged
Don't see it if you hate musicals. Geo is a classic example. Qn Victoria song's a misstep; lyric is stupid laugh as is drag. Annoying anachronisms/swearing.
See it if you enjoy learning about an artist who was very inventive and honest. The staging and backdrops are wonderful as is the cast. Great lyrics.
Don't see it if you do not like musicals or you prefer flashy musicals.
See it if you're a fan of Jillian Louis, PJ Griffith, Randy Blair, or anyone in the cast - they're all terrific. Book, music, & lyrics all fit.
Don't see it if you want a full scale production with a large cast, lavish production numbers, or thoroughly developed story line.
See it if Entertaining saga of forgotten "motion picture" pioneer & his huckster "patron" Book more memorable than music; georama steals the show
Don't see it if Uncertain tonality causes confusion; Banvard's story usurped by PT Barnum But Griffith & Blair have a way with material despite glib lyrics
See it if you enjoy small-scale shows with simple melodies and talanted cast. Nicely made. The music is melodic but nonambitious.
Don't see it if you expect a huge Brodaway hit. This one is small-scale and rather intimate.
See it if If you want to see an incredibly well-crafted and wonderful small cast musical and learn a thing or two about history along the way!
Don't see it if You require an orchestral score and flashy choreography
See it if You love intelligent, well-written theater performed by world-class performers. A story from our history that is absurdly relevant today
Don't see it if you don't like musical theater.