See it if Good music. Basher is outstanding! So is Dobbs. Great staging. Some great songs. Story is disjointed. Needs work.
Don't see it if Bogart is too affected/over-the-top/flamboyant. Distracting. Too many love songs where the chemistry doesn't convey love. Protest too much
See it if You want to hear some pretty songs. Bashor is incredibly talented & in a league of her own. She's too good for this material.
Don't see it if It's poorly constructed, there are a few great moments (Thanks to Bashor). Is more about a selfish alcoholic than "the greatest love story"
See it if you like a funny, good story about a persons life, especially Jimmy! Good music and acting.
Don't see it if You don't like finding an off Broadway hidden gem at a good price.
See it if You like well done period pieces. Thoughtful. Smart. Romantic. A little long. I'd lose a couple numbers completely but really quite good.
Don't see it if You don't like a historical musical. They try (with a fair amount of success) to bring the characters to life and to show the love story.
See it if Well, meh. Great talent. Weak show.
Don't see it if Disconnected and disjointed is how you like your theater.
See it if you want a cursory, depthless lesson on James Joyce and his relationship with his muse, Nora, played & sung beautifully by Whitney Bashor.
Don't see it if you're a Joyce fan: Language is un-Joycian, relationship w/Nora is highly diluted & his works (other than Ulysses) are barely mentioned.
See it if You love Irish dancing, talented Broadway stars with great voices, and a live orchestra. Easy to follow plot, well-acted.
Don't see it if You don't like long shows. Although it runs 2 hours 20 minutes, it flies by.
See it if you love the performers, who are all superb, or James Joyce.
Don't see it if having done so results in a 20-minute convo at dinner detailing where a biographical character drama goes wrong.
"The show’s aesthetic is in no way Joycean or even very Irish…Mr. Bogart makes a likable but hardly magnetic Joyce, and Ms. Bashor a lively and appealing Nora. Yet I had trouble buying them as a pair of early-20th-century iconoclasts, or even as a couple with a supposedly irresistible sexual spark…It is hard to feel the import of any of this in a show so foreign in style and spirit to Joyce’s writing and the couple’s own milieu. Nothing here challenges the mind."
"James Joyce may have made a mess of his love life, but probably not as badly as composer/lyricist/bookvwriter/orchestrator Jonathan Brielle has in his dreary Off-Broadway musical. An undistinguished contribution to the 'insufferable artistic genius and the woman he considers his muse' genre, 'Himself and Nora' has been kicking around for over ten years...While the cast and production are both fine, 'Himself and Nora' inspires little of the passion the musical attempts to dramatize."
“Alas, 'Himself and Nora' flattens these two great characters into one-and-a half dimensions each and denudes their story of its most piquant details. And when all else fails, it piles on the blarney...The book and lyrics are distressingly banal...Lacking a strong point of view and/or anything new to say, Brielle has reduced one of literary history's most famous couples to a Maggie and Jiggs pairing, a feuding, fussing, fighting pair of stage Irish figures. Himself would not be pleased.”
"Brielle has written a straightforward musical biography that attacks the essential points as if a hit-and-run collision, then careens on to the next in the traditional (and traditionally tedious) take-no-chances manner. It's not so much that you don't learn much about Joyce but that it's all so dry and prosaic that you don't care about the things you do learn…Sure, you can make a harmless, juiceless musical about James Joyce, but Brielle never explains through it why he wanted to."
“Michael Bush doesn’t allow for the
interplay of passion and lust to happen between Joyce and Nora. Both Matt Bogart
and Whitney Bashor are capable actors and strong
vocalists. However, a love for all time needs a particular chemistry, and this
symbiotic attraction is lacking from the two actors. The music adequately moves the story along. But there is more romp than depth to the songs, rather than music that haunts and captivates with decisive Joycean wit.”
"Does the writing life, plus quotes from sexually explicit letters, seem to you to be the stuff of interesting drama? The opening scene made them appear to be!...After that, the play went downhill...The performers were exceptional as directed by Michael Bush...Still no one left the theater looking very happy...Jonathan Brielle wrote the book, music and lyrics of this very Las Vegas pastiche...The plot was indecisive. It wasn’t sure where it wanted to go and what it wanted to be."
"Although Brielle includes intimate scenes about Joyce's struggles as a writer, he is more intent on dramatizing the literary lovers Joyce and Nora and bringing their controversial relationship into clear focus...While Brielle is a fine raconteur, he's better as a composer and lyricist...Matt Bogart and Whitney Bashor acquit themselves well as Joyce and Nora...'Himself and Nora' is not flawless...Taken as a whole, 'Himself and Nora' contains the right meat-and-potatoes for a satisfying musical."
"Clocks in at a bit over 2 hours. And that would be about 1 hour too long. Not because of the extraordinary talent of its two leads but because the text of this story excludes the point of the tale, Joyce’s words, and instead invests its time in showing us scenes from a relationship that are no match for his prose...While well intentioned, this production succeeds only in sending us all out of the theatre directly to the library to read."