Members say: Disappointing, Great singing, Ambitious, Great staging, Edgy

About the show

David Byrne of The Talking Heads and creator of 'Here Lies Love' explores the meteoric rise of Joan of Arc through the lens of a rock concert. A world premiere at the Public Theater directed by Alex Timbers.

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Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to God. She built a nation, and they burned her for it. Directed by Golden Globe winner and Tony nominee Alex Timbers, 'Joan of Arc: Into the Fire' is a provocative new show about challenging the powerful and believing in the impossible.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"How did the immense talents behind ‘Here Lies Love’ come up with something so inert?...It’s as unswerving in its course as its heroine and just about as reverential…Mr. Byrne’s musical wit surfaces only in a calypso-beat number given to the tribunal...Basically, Joan’s character allows no room for the contradictions and idiosyncrasies of which convincing portraiture are made. She is unvaryingly, achingly sincere.” Full Review


“Ambitious but ultimately disappointing…We're only given the vaguest sense of Joan's visions, betraying a laziness in the lyricism. The melodies are similarly uninspired…Timbers applies his caffeinated style to the story…Unfortunately, none of it can compensate for the subpar material undergirding it all…Lampert brings incredible charisma and an awesome set of pipes to the stage, but it all seems wasted on a role that never asks for more than a one-note portrayal of self-sacrifice.” Full Review


"Lampert is so conspicuously exotic, that it’s entertaining just to watch her wave her flag and model her sexy armor. The performer’s compelling stage presence and powerful alto help her survive ‘Joan of Arc’…All this stagecraft is ultimately undone by the limitations of the score. Every song seems to spring from the same martial air, and the lyrics wouldn’t tax the intelligence of an eight-year-old. Better to think of this as a fashion show of the prettiest armor you ever saw." Full Review


"Lampert responds with a performance that exudes charismatic attitude and toughness...An exciting production that straddles between contemporary concert and period drama...But...Byrne's nearly sung-through score is tasked with more sophisticated storytelling, and his lightweight lyrics too often linger on points, rather than expound on them...There's little conflict that's of any interest...Hopefully, there'll be brighter theatre spotlights shining on Lampert in the near future." Full Review

Time Out New York

“A monumental dud. Plodding, reverent and dramatically inert, it suggests a ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ stripped of wit, ambivalence and social commentary. Which is to say: Jesus Christ. The lean Jo Lampert, who plays Joan, has a robust voice and a compelling androgynous–kick-ass look, but the show gives her nothing to play but uninterrupted self-belief, rendered banally. Although the music is sometimes energetic, the libretto hardly ever lives up to it." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

“Of the many problems besetting this disappointing rock oratorio, its implicit recommendation of a Catholic martyr as a model of current civic engagement is the most intractable…Byrne is a very talented composer, and Timbers an unusually imaginative director, but this story has defeated them...As Joan, Jo Lampert is a vocal powerhouse and fearless stage animal. It’s not her fault that the character as written is such an unplayable patchwork of clichés and ‘timely’ parallels.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

“Despite handsome sets and a striking performance from Jo Lampert, this take on the tragic French warrior’s life isn’t quite as wild as it should be…There’s an absence of psychological acuity and Joan never entirely emerges as a definite human character…The pacing is brisk, the cast melodious, the orchestrations clever. It’s an agreeable evening, but shouldn’t it be braver, wilder, more mystical?” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A smoothly professional, yet fundamentally unexciting, pop opera featuring a two-dimensional heroine who never begins to suggest the young woman who led armies...Byrne provides a score that is pleasant but which lacks the color and variety needed to suggest the excitement and upheaval caused by this world-historical figure...It's hard to think of a slicker, more professionally staged musical in town at the moment, but this only points to what is weak about it." Full Review

Front Row Center

"David Byrne’s 'Joan' is heavy on rock music and light on story...One event after another is delivered with volume and a myriad of special effects–strobe lights and smoke and did I see a disco ball? There is little differentiating between the moments. There is no story. There is no, you should pardon the expression, arc...The cast is a banquet of talents, all of whom are hemmed in like tigers in a cage. There is a story in here somewhere, but it never sees the light of day." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“A misguided alt-rock musical that reduces the crusade, persecution and death of the 15th century French heroine to a simplistic ‘Martyrdom for Dummies’ with a repetitious beat…The show boasts fabulous production values…It's the surprising lack of sophistication or emotional depth in the material that deflates expectations…The grit, commitment and gutsy vocals of Lampert can't inject emotional nuance into the baldly explanatory, episodic writing.” Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"It isn’t a fully successful theatrical experience, and the reasons why 'Joan of Arc' doesn’t quite come off are almost more interesting than the show itself. The most surprising thing about 'Joan of Arc' is its straightforwardness...Every song in 'Joan of Arc' consists of an endless string of four-bar phrases in four-four time...You find yourself longing after a half-hour or so for something to break the sameness...It simply didn’t involve me in the way that I wanted and expected." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“Alas, the result, though epic and in many ways appealing, has its own set of problems…How can a musical in which nearly every scene is consumed with some kind of fighting lack a pulse?...Without a deeper connection between the staging, the music, and the plot, it often feels as though the three elements are occupying the same ground but unable to communicate with each other...As Joan, Lampert adds plenty of depth of her own, capturing both the innocence and her bloodthirsty passion." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“Jo Lampert and the cast can sing...The music, book and especially the lyrics by David Byrne are so monotonous, you wonder how in the world was this show ever produced…I just don’t understand how you take a vibrant tale of the heroine of France who was canonized as a Roman Saint and make her boring…If it weren’t for Lampert’s powerful stage presence and her sexy shimmering armor this show would have fizzled.” Full Review


“It’s spectacular, due chiefly to an electrifying performance in the title role by Jo Lampert, an actress of striking physical and vocal sinew…‘Joan of Arc: Into the Fire’ is serious in its contemplation of the mystical, the connection between belief and fate, and so it’s unsettling. It’s also very loud, very moody and as unsparingly bleak as its final, charred image." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Running 95 minutes that feel much longer, this pop-rock biomusical about the 15th century French peasant-turned-leader's path to martyrdom is undercooked; it feels like a workshop that wasn’t ready for prime time. The storytelling is simplistic; the score, singsong; the choreography, boy-band-ish; the performances, self-conscious. That includes a hard-working but monochromatic Jo Lampert as future saint." Full Review


“The new rock opera is childish and simplistic giving Joan a rather thin and mundane life. With only a handful of defined characters, this becomes Joan's story but she never seems to mature from the 16-year-old girl she was when we met her at the beginning of the tale. Too much of the show is just more of the same making this 95 minute musical seem overly long. Unlike Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ this never seems to have a new take on a well-known story.” Full Review

The Wrap

“Byrne is very direct in his storytelling: English bad, French good and persecuted. Byrne has little to say about Joan of Arc other than that she’s into nationalism and war…Byrne has a nice talent for plaintive soft-rock ballads…When Byrne goes big with his music, he enters ‘Les Miz’ territory, and his lyrics turn jingoistic.” Full Review


“Almost shockingly deadly…This is a 90-minute hair shirt of a project with no discernible point of view. Despite a breakout androgynous star turn by Jo Lampert as Joan, it is hard not to think we are watching a Sunday school musical about religious history with hymns alternating with pop and rumba.” Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“A loud, exuberant pageant…The trouble is that the score becomes repetitive and frankly, boring, after a while. Lampert’s performance as Joan achieves stature in the context of Byrne’s rock-vision, and those playing multiple roles as soldiers and others pack the work with further energy. But the music and lyrics fail to achieve emotional involvement…An ambitious effort to present the saga of Joan in a different manner, but it achieves more visual than emotional impact.” Full Review


“Really disappointing…What would Byrne, who wrote book, music and lyrics, do with the life of Joan of Arc? The answer is shockingly little…Byrne presents this story, which happened over two years, without irony, psychology or curiosity. It’s essentially a fan’s you-go-girl account of Joan’s indomitable will and fervent belief in her destiny. While Byrne has written some seductive melodies, his lyrics can be flat and awkward…This story of 'Joan of Arc' couldn’t be more uninteresting." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"Kitsch might be excusable if Byrne had decided to play the story of the virgin warrior for laughs. Instead we get an earnest and predictable account...Exacerbating that cartoonish story is Timbers’ static direction, defined by repeated, desultory fight scenes that never convey any sense of the chaos and bloodshed...And while Jo Lampert’s Joan just about makes you want to follow her into battle early on, her performance strikes a single note and lacks emotional range." Full Review


“A missed opportunity…Byrne’s sung-through score is occasionally anthemic, with touches of Christian rock. It’s generically upbeat and, at the same time, frequently overwrought. The silver lining here is Jo Lampert, as the beautifully androgynous title character…There isn’t ever enough connective tissue between Byrne’s songs to make us care about the girl.” Full Review

The Washington Post

“The results are as deadly as those for ‘Here Lies Love’ were delightful…Part of the problem here is lack of variation...The musical tone almost never shifts. It’s not unlike the effect of a medieval mystery play: a one-dimensional recounting of the events in a believer’s life. The physically vigorous Lampert has impressive lung power but little expressive range…You’re left with the impression that you could learn and feel just as much about Joan of Arc by staring at a stained-glass window." Full Review

Musical Theater Review

"The production is a dazzling spectacle of stagecraft wizardry. In the center of it all is a heroic performance in the title role by Jo Lampert...Timbers' staging, abetted by a creative team working at what appears to be the zenith of inspiration and technical know-how, is equally impressive...Byrne’s work may not tell us anything new about Joan of Arc, but it reaffirms in epic theatrical style the fascination she has held over centuries for cultures both sacred and secular." Full Review

Out Magazine

"Byrne’s music is generally very effective, though the lyrics sometimes too literally convey what the characters are thinking, making for some overly declamatory moments. Alex Timbers supplies his usual imaginative staging, and though, as usual there are sometimes too many gimmicks, at least it makes for visual motion...The wiry and intense Jo Lampert is sensational as Joan, bringing her pure voice to the material...An instant classic? No, but it’s not a trial either." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Profound

See it if You like intense theater and powerful acting. The audience was lukewarm because the drama might be too intense, but it was engaging theater.

Don't see it if You need lighter stuff. This play is a serious look at the famous heroine, without the romanticized trappings of the story.

Disappointing disappointing disappointing

See it if You ever wondered how talented people can create a really underwhelming show.

Don't see it if The music was loud and repetitive The characters were all two dimensional. Lots of flash no substance.

Also I loved "Here Lies Love" and think David Byrne is a very talented musi... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Refreshing, Relevant, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you want to see a show still in it's early stages, but one that could soon burn brightly on broadway

Don't see it if you want nice song and dance numbers in your shows - this ain't that

Original, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want to take a look at the history's untold story with great acting.

Don't see it if You done like history piece

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You love a high-energy rock musical with strong singing, great acting, and an electric atmosphere.

Don't see it if You prefer narrative dramas without music.

Absorbing, Profound, Resonant, Great music, Great singing

See it if you enjoy a good female empowerment story; religious themes; or a classic, true story paired with a contemporary rock score.

Don't see it if you don't like seeing religious stories represented in a nontraditional manner, or you prefer a more traditional Broadway score.

Ambitious, Great singing, Great staging, Repetitive, Shallow

See it if You're a fan of David Byrne. You like modern takes on historical figures.

Don't see it if You want an in-depth view of Joan of Arc: there's nothing new here. You want to hear a variety of music: all the songs sound alike.

Also For a show tied up w/a feminist wrapper, there aren't many women invol... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Great acting, Riveting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to be swept up by David Byrne's soaring music and Jo Lampert's soulful voice. What an entrancing way to tell the Joan of Arc tale.

Don't see it if are not into the lives of saints, even heroic ones like Joan's nor find rock concerts/music appealing.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Banal, Great singing

See it if You like great singing and interesting staging

Don't see it if You get impatient with inexpert writing

Also Some of the music is very good and the incredible cast makes up for so... Read more Read less

Dizzying, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Great singing

See it if I cannot recommend this to anyone

Don't see it if If you loved Here Lies Love and thought it would be just as wonderful or you are a living breathing human being

Intelligent, Disappointing, Great singing

See it if Enjoy a modern take on a historical story.

Don't see it if Expected more in-depth characters and a score that is not so repetitive.

Indulgent, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Great singing

See it if You are ok with spending that much to see something that had maybe Two decent scenes. Maybe if you're religious you'll like it?

Don't see it if You dont think you'd like JCS if it was almost all recitative. If you're expecting something as breathtaking brilliant as here lies love

Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you are a huge fan of the story of Joan of Arc and want to see a show that should have been good but failed.

Don't see it if you don't want to waste your time.

Also The only real reason to see this show is for the performance by Jo Lam... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Dizzying, Edgy, Entertaining

See it if Innovative shows, great directing

Don't see it if if you are conventional musicals

Good music. good lyrics. good performers. weak story telling.

See it if You like good rock n roll theatre.

Don't see it if If you don't like David Byrne music.

Amateur, Excruciating, Waste of time, Aimless, Uncentered

See it if You would like to see Jo Lampert sing, act & give her all to a terrible rock staging of the story of Joan Of Arc & if you didn't pay for it!

Don't see it if You had hope in the Byrne/Timbers/Public collaboration. Zero reason to give applause. Quite possibly the worst show I've seen in NY in ages.

Ambitious, Overrated, Great singing

See it if The music by david Byrne is great, staging is unique, lighting is great, Lead actors are very good. if you can get a discount

Don't see it if 90 dollars for 90 minutes of the retelling of the joan of arc story was a little much. leads are great, industrial setting and lighting.

Banal, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You are into rock music and not overly interested in lyrics which were very poor, This was disappointing from a creative team!

Don't see it if You do not like Rock and heavy metal musicals with a religious theme.

Great acting, Banal, Disappointing

See it if you want to see the lead actress give a captivating performance, or if you might be inspired by the unchallenged story of a "saint."

Don't see it if you want a coherent story that matters, or if you want to be challenged.

Indulgent, Banal, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you want to see poor St. Joan in a rock musical that is really a "Hamilton" wanna-be.

Don't see it if you not a fan of rock music and sensibilities imposed on a classic story.

Ambitious, Edgy, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if flashy staging, pop rock music, story line about a strong woman, great performance by Jo Lampert (Joan)

Don't see it if you have extremely high expectations based on the creative team, want a story with some subtle conflicts, don't want a punk Joan of Arc

Also It absolutely has faults - found the choreography often weak. I was wo... Read more Read less

Banal, Disappointing, Great singing

See it if You have to see every musical this season. Will mostly interest fans of David Byrne and Alex Timbers.

Don't see it if You don't like contemporary musical sounds applied to historical events or if you're looking for smart lyrics and a varied set of songs.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Great cast & performances

See it if You enjoy rock music & strong performances by an excellent cast and you do not mind a story/book that is lacking.

Don't see it if are expecting this to be another "Here Lies Love" it is nothing like it.

Also Fast moving show, no depth to the storyline, music is enjoyable but it... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Disappointing, Overrated, Great singing

See it if you are interested in yet another interpretation of the JOA story; music is a bit tedious, Joan is wonderful, but not convincing dramaticall

Don't see it if you have an aversion to very loud rock music, lights and smoke; burning alive on stage; very little new here. Can;t remember a single song.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if you want to see a rock concert interpretation of the Joan of Arc story.

Don't see it if you prefer traditional musical styles.

Cast & Creatives (24)