Closed 1h 50m
Invisible Thread
Midtown W
87

Invisible Thread NYC Reviews and Tickets

87%
(100 Reviews)
Positive
97%
Mixed
3%
Negative
0%
Members say
Absorbing, Original, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great staging

About the Show

American Repertory Theater and Second Stage Theatre present a new musical directed by Diane Paulus. It follows the life-changing journey of a young New Yorker who volunteers for a humanitarian aid project in Uganda.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (100)

79
Odd theme for play (support of african students) but theatrically very effective

See it if you want to see talented kinetic cast of charismatic actors, to hear propulsive music, and see inventive set

Don't see it if you don't like plays with messy themes (anti-homosexuality, exploitation in Africa, etc.), don't see musical theater as metaphor for life

95
Exquisite, Great staging, Great writing, Profound, Must see

See it if you like great music, great set design, and great stories with heart and meaning.

Don't see it if you're turned off by gay themes and shows with a social message.

Critic Reviews (24)

December 2nd, 2015

"The music for 'Invisible Thread' is polished, melodic pop-rock in the vein of 'Rent'...But many songs tend to be soul-baring ballads or generic expressions of uplift that fail to advance the story, lending a static quality...there’s something pasted-on about the dancing, as if a musical set in Africa must have joyous, foot-stomping passages or it wouldn’t be authentic. These sequences are not remotely integral to the plot...For all his good intentions, Griffin never move beyond being cultural tourists."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"Exuberant and soulful...the show releases gale-force waves of faith, hope and love every time its hardworking cast joins together on gospel wails or Afrobeat jams. The score is bold, fresh and catchy. But when those bracing numbers end, problems begin...Diane Paulus’s slick and muscular production helps cover up some of the less plausible or airbrushed aspects of the story, which is fictionalized to the edge of slight melodrama."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"The production, overcompensating for the possibility, leaves no room for unauthorized ideas. As is her style, Paulus has staged 'Invisible Thread' within an inch of its life; there is never a dull moment or a part of the picture unactivated...But a show that is less than excellent, and less than true, need not be less than worthwhile. If I wanted to turn down the show’s volume sometimes (literally, too — it’s over-amped) I never wanted to turn it off."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"In 2005, an actor named Griffin Matthews volunteered to work at an orphanage in Uganda and returned home to start his own charitable organization. The writer-performer drew on that episode in his life for 'Invisible Thread', a musical he wrote with his partner, Matt Gould. But despite the heavy drumming, the show isn’t really about Uganda or African orphans or African anything. It’s about Griffin Matthews...It’s a pretty conceit, but a thin concept for a musical."
Read more

December 3rd, 2015

"'Invisible Thread' showcases a tremendous amount of talent. That talent is at present mostly imitative: 'Invisible' mimics the musical versatility and determination-in-the-face-of-defeat of 'Rent' without advancing the form. But the show is bursting with potential, not to mention infectious energy, humor and a few surprises...But by the end, 'Invisible Thread' drowns in a pool of sentiment and cliché."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"It ends on a somewhat unresolved and downbeat note. But for the most part, 'Invisible Thread' is a highly personalized but relatable and heartfelt coming-of-age story that explores issues of culture clash and global responsibility. The attractive score combines pop-rock with African rhythms and gospel. Paulus' production features a very effective visual design (with great use of video projections) and strong performances from the mostly black ensemble cast."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"It feels like a musical college essay, the type in which an applicant waxes philosophical about the very important lessons he learned volunteering for a summer in the developing world. Still, the music is tuneful and the book touches on some vital issues, if only slightly...the cast rarely slows to catch its breath in the frenetic staging... Sadly, not every story is best served by the conventions of the American book musical."
Read more

December 3rd, 2015

"'Invisible Thread,' isn't the most successful; in fact, it has some pretty big issues that cry out to be addressed. But it dares to take on a difficult, complex subject, and it has an enormous heart...In its best moments, 'Invisible Thread' is remarkably clear-eyed about the cultural clashes that separate its characters...Still, the opening section feels rushed and too sketchily set up...Diane Paulus' direction gets powerful, full-throated performances."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"'Invisible Thread' is not poorly written, performed, choreographed, or directed. But its hackneyed, predictable nature and its sacrifice of feelings and dramatic action at the altar of relevance mean that the considerable talent involved is not allowed to make the impact it should... UgandaProject may well have done wonderful things, but it's a challenge to stay awake through 'Invisible Thread' to find out for sure."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"Given its heavyweight underpinnings, it’s remarkable how lightweight 'Invisible Thread' often seems...It’s hard to get invested in the somewhat predictable story line, but it’s easy to get hooked on the personages who populate the stage...The African themed choreography fails to impress...Diane Paulus’s direction is of the highest order: barely noticeable. She lets 'Invisible Thread' speak for itself. The musical doesn’t dig very deep, but it’s food – comfort food to be sure – for thought."
Read more

December 9th, 2015

"'Invisible Thread' is a traditional book musical featuring a vibrant score with African, African-American, and Broadway sounds. The libretto conveys Griffin's odyssey with utmost economy, one scene blending fluidly into the next... If 'Invisible Thread' doesn't fulfil all the expectations aroused by the awards and buzz it attracted as it homed in on New York, it nonetheless doesn't disappoint."
Read more

December 3rd, 2015

"In some ways, this story might have been more effective as a play or even a simple monologue. Instead, we get this rather expansive production...The score also doesn’t add as much to the proceedings as it could...The piece could use some stronger character songs to add some depth... Despite its virtues, the musical is a bit too much of a slender 'Thread' to deserve such a first-class treatment."
Read more

December 5th, 2015

"Historical facts blend with infusions of melodrama, and some of the material goes a bit too far in amping up the emotional dynamics...Lots of African-inflected music is heard; there’s also an abundance of narrative-driven numbers in the relatively tuneless, big-voiced style so common nowadays...Diane Paulus takes brilliant advantage of the music to inject loads of physicality into the production; her vivid staging succeeds in making the proceedings literally jump off the stage."
Read more

December 3rd, 2015

"The musical explores themes of prejudice based on sexual orientation and race; and, at its most intriguing, the nature and practice of charity…Paulus knows how to put together an entertainment. With an experienced creative team and a uniformly impressive cast, 'Invisible Thread' conjures up the memory of several polished Broadway musicals…The many strands of 'Invisible Thread' largely work well together—the song and dance, the social consciousness, and the sentiment."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"This energetic, ambitious, inspirational musical is now raising the roof at Second Stage Theatre...The songs run the gamut from generic ballads to rousing African-infused numbers. The show’s title is the title of one of the less interesting songs. An orchestra of nine supply the music. The appealing cast is very good...Director Diane Paulus pulls it all together with panache. I hope that they adjust the amplification so that the big numbers are not ear-splitting."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"High spirited, to say the least, and helped along by an excellent cast filled with big voices…Parts of the score are admirable…Some of the songs in the New York sections, though, fall flat. There is also something unconvincing in the story...Diane Paulus does her typical job of directing here, which means that there is unbounded energy across the evening. Too much so, perhaps; true energy is exhilarating but synthetic energy can drag you down."
Read more

December 15th, 2015

Sweet, sincere and sophomoric...The ensuing story of a guy trying to do good because he was looking for his place in the world is interesting but not engaging. The music is all uplifting, and there is some glorious talent, but the songs begin to sound the same after a while...What was intended as an epic tale of a boy turning into a man ends up being a series of bland incidents that feels almost insignificant."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"There’s nothing tragic or unresolved about what Griffin and Ryan do...Gould and Matthews’s percussive score, fortunately, starts with a bang and blankets over these shortcomings in exposition, as does Sergio Trujillo and Darrell Grand Moultrie’s energetic African-based choreography...With 'Invisible Thread,' director Diane Paulus eschews the circus gimmickry and pyrotechnics to embrace a minimalist approach that suits the material to perfection."
Read more

December 5th, 2015

"This is a genuinely appealing show even if the storytelling is a little muddled...'Invisible Thread' offers some pointed observations about the assumptions that westerners too often make about Africa, even if the show indulges in a few of its own...Still, it's hard to complain when you leave a show feeling good and knowing that your ticket price may be doing some good too."
Read more

December 3rd, 2015

"It would be lovely to be able to say that the authors' valuable experience has been transformed into a comparably worthy musical...What we are meant to embrace in this fishes-out-of-water story is the heart...Alas, for much of the plot-heavy yet repetitious evening, the lead characters seem so clueless about the world and so self-involved that, by the time we learn of their genuine accomplishments, it is too late to like them."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"With the specter of that event not far from memory, after seeing 'Invisible Thread' it was difficult not to feel like the entire production was an extended fundraiser, a show meant to bring attention to the Ugandans’ situation...The show appears to have been written with sincerity, and all the collaborators seem fully committed to the project. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that this really is more of a project than a show. Of course, there is still plenty to enjoy and take to heart."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"Paulus stages the energetic proceedings with a careful eye for both small moments and high-voltage, ensemble dance numbers...Pulsating musical numbers combine a vibrant, layered pop score and earnest lyrics with African beats....It’s a palatable, deeply Western perspective on living in poverty under a repressive government...Despite the rosy prism coloring the social issues, this musical has a good heart."
Read more

January 7th, 2016

"Its music is vibrant and there are a handful of numbers I will eagerly download should they receive funding to produce a cast album...But the story itself is missing something...There is probably a more compelling way to get across the same message through dramatic license instead of telling the story beat-for-beat the way it actually unfolded. That said, these guys have put together a show they should be proud of."
Read more

December 2nd, 2015

"The show's 'invisible thread' stretches from the two gay American men to the Ugandan teenagers who live in a country with strong anti-gay laws; in the show and in real life, the teens accept the couple. It's also a thread that's keenly felt by the show's cast, most of whom went to Uganda this summer."
Read more

Watch This Next (15)

97
Must See!
10K+ Reviews
Opens Sep 14
NYC: Midtown W

This hip-hop infused tuner about America's founding fathers won 11 Tony Awards inc. Best Musical.

Buy
93
Must See!
20K+ Reviews
Opens Sep 14
NYC: Midtown W

In its 17th year, this all-ages musical spectacle tells the untold true story of the Witches of Oz.

Buy
92
Must See!
3K+ Reviews
Opens Sep 21
NYC: Midtown W

A charming true story of a tiny Canadian town that cared for 7000 grounded travelers post-9/11.

Buy