New York Theatre Workshop presents a musical about how Abigail and Shaun of the folk-rock duo the Bengsons met and fell in love, and how that unleashed their fear of mortality. Previously seen at the Under the Radar. More…
A folk-punk dream like you've never experienced. Shaun and Abigail Bengson's 'Hundred Days' unleashes an exhilarating and raw story about embracing uncertainty, taking a leap, and loving as if you only had a hundred days to live.
"Without elaborate sets, costumes, large ensembles of singers and dancers, and multi-million-dollar budgets, The Bengsons have successfully mounted a stunning musical with a believable story and a brilliantly executed score...The creative team create a space where The Bengsons create magic and transcend all expectations set by traditional musical theatre. Sonya Tayeh’s movement direction creates exquisite images throughout the performance." Full Review
“Exceptionally entertaining, not to mention deeply moving...An earlier version was seen at last year’s Under the Radar festival, and it’s gotten sharper and better in the year since...Accompanied by four equally personable and talented musicians on a stage seemingly lit by Edison bulbs and astutely directed by Anne Kauffman, the show takes just 90 fleet minutes to sink its teeth into your heart. It’s funny and charming and dead serious without ever being deadly.” Full Review
“The unconventional and deceptively simple concert-cum-musical is a show about romantic love, pure and simple...This love you see in front of you, which is manifested by the Bengsons’ glorious cycle of songs, is real, and it’s achingly beautiful to behold...The current production vastly improves upon that previous run, thanks in large part to Kaufman’s subtle but impactful directorial touches...Once timid performances have also grown more confident and compelling." Full Review
"It’s glorious and spellbinding...This band, with soaring vocals, a foot stomping and hand clapping beat, entwined with brilliant songwriting will pull you in to their mythology as if in a dream. Not just with their musical excellence, but with their dedication to vulnerability, truth, and passion...Insanely theatrical while being simple and direct, they tell their story without much of anything else beyond their powerful drumming of the beat...Every moment feels authentic and spontaneous.” Full Review
"A luminous musical memoir...Staged with resonant economy by the talented Kauffman, with sharp and subtle movement direction, 'Hundred Days' is cabaret as cri de coeur, and it is advisable to watch it with a handkerchief...The shift in focus from outside to inside clarifies and intensifies what was already an affecting piece...The Bengsons are stirring, and surprisingly witty, company. The Bengsons’s distinctive stage presence matches the story they tell." Full Review
"Abigail and Shaun Bengson share their love story with lush, emotional songs that will touch your heart...Some of the details they share are funny; some of them are sweet; some are intense...The music is, in one word, glorious…They explode and come alive when they perform in a way they don’t when they are just speaking…I don’t know if there are enough adjectives I can use to express how beautiful the music was, especially when paired with the story.” Full Review
"Director Anne Kauffman plays against the internal emotional extremism of the material with an elegantly spare staging...Though only 75 minutes long, 'Hundred Days' has a slow, deliberate sensibility, in keeping with the Bengsons’ ways of dealing with death: not to outrun time but to force it to the pace you choose, extending it by a shared exultation in detail. The trick to sustaining love at first sight, their show suggests, is to never stop looking." Full Review
"A deceptively simple affair: a stage largely unadorned save for musical instruments, a book by playwright Gancher that gives a voice both wry and poignant to the story of the Bengsons’ meeting and marriage, and of course, a collection of lush, plaintive, soaring songs...Shaun is a model of the classically self-effacing, hella-talented indie rock musician—his guitar holds the show together—and Abigail, out of her roiling anxiety, is able to release a vocal hurricane." Full Review
"In one scene, we watch the couple foresee growing older, decade by decade: both a witty meditation on maturity and a sober meditation on mortality. Under Anne Kaufmann’s subtle and clever direction, Abigail and Shaun and the band do not stay still...Every musician plays powerfully, but it is Abigail’s wail of sadness and pain in her key song that stays with you, piercing the night." Full Review
"More squarely concentrated on Abigail's journey now, which works because she is an extremely exciting performer. Her vocal work is overwhelming in informing the rawness of her character. With slightly less of an emphasis on Shaun's side of the journey, the story's arc as a whole feels not quite as well rounded as before...Kauffman and the Bengsons have created a universal story, recognizable to anyone who's ever loved and lost." Full Review
"The inherent sadness of the situation is an essential part of an eclectic score that is anything but sad in its execution. It's hard to put a label on this very listenable and exciting score...Perhaps a decision was made early on to keep 'Days' contained in an uncluttered musical framework that is uncompromisingly direct in its presentation. Without gilding the lyrics (I wish I could have heard them more distinctly) a little more imagination in the staging wouldn't have hurt." Full Review
"Abigail delivers some of the most unearthly vocals that I have heard in a long, long time...Some of their songs are quite fetching...But it isn't very long into 'Hundred Days' before the feeling sets in that the Bengsons aren't really playing fair with us...Leaves one with the feeling that the Bengsons, for all their surface charm, are a self-involved and self-dramatizing pair...Even so, 'Hundred Days' is informed by real talent and enjoys a sleek production." Full Review
"The format of the work is unsatisfactory. The book they wrote with Sarah Gancher is basically a song cycle interrupted by dialog. At a crucial point in the evening there is a long stretch of dialog where I would have expected music to carry the emotional thrust, as if they mistrusted the expressive power of their music to get the job done. To my senior ears, the music was much too loud and percussive and the lyrics were occasionally hard to decipher." Full Review
“Despite its emotionalism and theme of death's imminence, the show barely touches one's heart…Wonderful as they are on a stand-alone basis, the songs too often seem more about themselves or their emotional workings than the drama they're supposed to illuminate. Too often, the lyrics get lost during the musical pyrotechnics…It's hard to become involved in their characters, about whom we learn only the barest minimum. They come off more as abstractions than people about whom we care very much.” Full Review
"To accept it as a musical, or judge it as a work of theater – I must then acknowledge the frustration of trying to follow a story that is often vague in its details and mumbly in its presentation. Shaun and Abigail are personable singer-songwriters and sometimes droll storytellers, but they are clearly not trained actors nor experienced dramatists…Passed more quickly for me once I treated the spoken words as patter between the songs." Full Review
"Despite its rollicking indie rock- and folk-flavored score, it feels entirely like TMI...There's little dramatic tension derived from watching the couple making moony eyes at each other, and their profuse declarations of love become more than a little grating...All this is a shame, because their music proves consistently tuneful and engaging, even if the amplification often prevents the lyrics, so important to the storyline, from being fully understood." Full Review
"It’s a rock cycle for which much has been done to make it theater-stage-worthy by director Anne Kauffman. Much has been done, but to little avail...The music is blandly insistent, the lyrics aren’t consistently intelligible and Abigail Bengson’s pipes reside somewhere between belt and strident...The musicians-back-up singers, are first-rate." Full Review
"There will undoubtedly be people who enjoy and connect with 'Hundred Days,' but if you're like me you'll find it a challenge...The story, written in conjunction with Sarah Gancher, can't support a 90-minute drama even when it's shoehorned into a 'concert musical' framework...If this sounds like a bore, it is, despite the fact both Abigail and Shaun Bengson are charismatic performers. There were many times during 'Hundred Days' I had to stifle the urge to yell 'who cares?!' at the stage." Full Review
for a previous production "This music is a kaleidoscope of joy and energy that indefinably sizzles as folk, punk, fusion, blues, rock, jazz and more...Shaun’s terrible worry is that this fantastic woman whose beauty is opening up like a flower before him will eventually abandon him...For Abigail, the fear travels deeper in her soul...and together they decide to speed up time so that they will live a full lifetime in 100 days...All I can say is: Wow! I enjoyed everything about the production." Full Review
for a previous production "Abigail is charming and Shaun is adorable. They bound on stage like a couple of puppies. It’s impossible not to smile when they immediately confess that they’re married...Go see 'Hundred Days' if you can. Not just because the music is great and the performers are charming and talented. But because these people have done a bunch of living and thinking in some pretty short lives. And they’re willing to share what they’ve been through in a very honest and exhilarating way." Full Review
for a previous production "What makes this ordinary story so special is its emotional depth, as well as the original music to which it’s set. Backed up by an eager ensemble of musicians, the Bengsons' tale begins when they meet and instantly fall in love…As dozens of Andrew Hungerford’s tiny lights float above them (ethereal symbols of hope and endurance), they sing a touching ballad of true love – its joys, fears, and ultimate triumphs." Full Review
See it if You enjoy outside the box theatre. It’s a folk punk rock opera/memoir/set piece. Brave, funny, stunning, all the adjectives.
Don't see it if It doesn’t sound like your thing. It’s insanely specific and really will not be for everyone. Read up/listen to a Bengsons song or two.
See it if This show feels like a heightened night of cabaret and it's a totally engrossing and worthwhile evening. The performances are great!
Don't see it if If you don't like good music or just want to see trash like Miss Saigon you won't like it. No costumes and no dancing to speak of.
See it if as performer Abigail (of The Bengsons, Abigail & Shaun)would probably say, what other choice do you (we) have but to see this wonderful show
Don't see it if you do not enjoy rock music splendidly performed.
See it if you want something outside the typical theatregoing experience. It's concert-style blending reality and fiction. Truly captivating.
Don't see it if you're expecting a traditional, big ol' fashioned musical.
See it if You are moved by a truthful, moving love story that is cuts to the heart of the fear of giving yourself to another told through moving songs
Don't see it if You want traditional storytelling and plotting, want a show more about plot than feeling.
See it if you like simple settings that enhance the storytelling. Lovely music and singing - all from the heart, reminding you that life is special.
Don't see it if you want a lot of characters and a 'play'. This is more like a concert but one with great music.
See it if You like non-traditional theater and great music! Feels a bit like a concert, but you are drawn very quickly into a powerful story
Don't see it if You need a clear linear presentation
See it if You love great live music on stage, you can just sit back and listen to accoustic folk rock, you love to watc passionate musical performance
Don't see it if You are looking for, spectacular visual effects, giant crazy sets, a multi acted out story.
See it if a different style musical excites you. A love story that is real staged like a concert/musical about the real band leaders. Brilliant!
Don't see it if you need the typical basic run of the mill theater musical.
See it if you're a fan of folk rock music, unconventional narratives, intimate love stories like Once, or powerful voices (Abigail's voice is INSANE).
Don't see it if you don't enjoy folk rock music. This performance has a concert feel with a narrative interwoven. But it's all in the music.
See it if love story of the Bensons told in a concert format with some dialogue in between songs; wonderful folk-rock music - some very moving
Don't see it if you want more of a traditional musical with elaborate staging; would be put off by loud music (& much drumming) which can hide the lyrics
See it if You enjoy love stories. You enjoy live music (as this felt more like a concert with a story than a musical). Still, a beautiful performance.
Don't see it if You prefer productions with full-scale sets and costumes. You do not believe in love at first sight (or are not willing to be convinced).
See it if You like indie/folk/rock. Want to walk out of the theater in deep thought. Enjoy theatre that isn't bound by traditional devices.
Don't see it if Prefer traditional book style musicals. Dislike the above genres. Are just looking for a "light" show.
See it if you like folk-pop music and shows set in a minimalistic, concert-like setting.
Don't see it if you prefer plot-heavy classic musicals with elaborate staging or aren't a fan of the folk genre.
See it if You like indie music (some people complained it was loud, but I had no problem) and want too see a crossover concert / show.
Don't see it if If you are expecting a convention musical, or need to understand every word in order to follow the drift.
See it if You like fun, folky music. The Bengsons are incredibly talented and fun to watch.
Don't see it if You're looking for a play or traditional musical. Hundred Days is very much a concert with some talking breaking up the songs.
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