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Little Rock

From 11 critic and 109 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious

About the show

This new drama centers around the riveting true story of the Little Rock Nine, the first black students to attend their city’s formerly segregated central high school. More…

What began as their quest for a better education soon became a national crisis, igniting the passions of a divided country and sparking a historic fight for justice in the Jim Crow South. On the cusp of the civil rights movement, a changing world watched as these nine children from Arkansas battled for their rights with only books and pencils. At once harrowing and hopeful, 'Little Rock' brings urgently to life the Nine’s untold personal stories of challenge and resilience, conjuring memories of America not so long ago.


"Not only is Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj's 'Little Rock' informative and enlightening, it also terrific theater and the playwright makes a great deal of information easily digestible. The recounting of the many incidents both dastardly and kindly build up to a very complete and dramatic picture of those turbulent days. Ultimately, the students seem tremendously heroic to have stuck out their trials and tribulations to the end of the school year." Full Review

The New York Times

“Viscerally affecting...This is activist theater...Maharaj lays everything on worrisomely thick and fast. Each character reads as two-dimensional...But the play gradually rights itself, and the complexity of the students and their situation comes into focus...Dialogue sometimes suffers from the show’s desire to educate, but Maharaj does a beautiful job of balancing heartache with just enough humor...Not a perfect play, but it is a deeply moving testament.” Full Review

Manhattan Digest

“The actors play multiple parts and this deliberate convention does add an interesting layer to the production...Their depiction of teenagers was on the young side and some of the smaller parts were broadly played. The actors shone most prominently in the meatier, more emotional scenes...This play makes an extremely important contribution...It reminds of the ugliness of racism that unfortunately still exists today. This story and its passionate cast deserve an audience.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“There is a lightness and frivolity that dominates this play that is out of keeping with the story...The script doles out incident after incident while the projections attempt to show the protesters and their signs that screamed segregation. None of this is convincing or particularly daring...In addition, we are missing why and how this situation happened to begin with...This story is an important one. Kudos to Maharaj for making a run at this. Too bad he wasn’t willing to scratch below the ... Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"The playwright Mr. Maharaj, who also directs, handles this difficult material with great skill and clarity, and he is most fortunate in his nine-member cast, who take on some 50 different roles between them and manage to make most of them come realistically to life as individuals...Problematically, though, the play starts to fill up with a number of tangential elements that distract from the main story and from the authenticity and realism that are its greatest strengths." Full Review


"Although inspiring and prompting reflection on the early Civil Rights Movement in America, it over-reaches itself and tries to shoehorn too many historical personages into two hours...The play gains more theatrical traction when it focuses on local community members...Ultimately the play is at its most powerful when it takes us inside the walls of Little Rock High School and allows us to glimpse racism in the raw...'Little Rock' gives you an authentic picture of the Little Rock Nine." Full Review

Off Off Online

"Under the direction of Maharaj, the performances are uniformly strong...The play is structured in the style of a living newspaper. That is, the text weaves narrative scenes with historical commentary, media accounts, and songs...Although 'Little Rock' is a play that should be seen, it has some serious drawbacks...overstuffed with songs and peripheral material and is too long...The playwright has not quite overcome is individualizing the students...The play certainly has contemporary resonance." Full Review


"That research shows in this highly informative, tuneful, and heavy-handed show. You'll learn a lot about this pivotal moment in school desegregation, but perhaps not so much about how to craft an artful theatrical story line...Unfortunately, most of the acting is not fully fleshed-out, often verging on TV movie melodrama...Maharaj has attempted to stuff so much into two hours that beats feel rushed and unnatural...The most impressive aspect is the music." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"As important as this history is to remember, it's not always dramatized here in the most effective way...Maharaj would have done better to focus on fewer students in more detail, so we could really get to know their stories. As it stands, we are just given snippets, not enough to get to know anyone on more than a superficial level...The musical moments are by far the most memorable, thanks to the voices of the cast members and Darryl G. Ivey's vocal arrangements." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"A disappointingly hackneyed play with music…For all its implicit drama, and the presence of a competent cast, 'Little Rock' never rises to the level of polished, professional theatre. The characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue superficial, the staging uninspired, some of the performances overwrought, and much of the humor juvenile…The material is as relevant as ever, making its closing number,…'We Shall Overcome,' still capable of stirring hearts and minds." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“There's no point in pretending that this is a sophisticated or accomplished dramatic work...Poorly constructed, stubbornly failing to build dramatic excitement. The playwright, who also directed, struggles to realize the large cast of characters...The dialogue is loaded with obvious and redundant statements...Still, if the overall arc of the piece is awkward and sluggish, there are many moments that leave a searing mark on the audience.” Full Review

Great acting, Great singing, Great writing, Relevant, Profound

See it if you like political plays, psychological plays, are interested in history

Don't see it if you need an elaborate stage setting or a lot of action

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Intense

See it if Learning about the Little Rock nine was interesting

Don't see it if Don't want to know the truth

Profound, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Astonishing, Powerful

See it if visceral tale of a horrific chapter in our history thru beauty in voice, humor, staging, deft actors in mult. roles. Sadly, an open chapter

Don't see it if Do see it, forewarned that brutal, painful, deplorable actions & words are brought to life; feelings of shame, hope, revulsion, wonder await

Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy wonderful actors telling the story of segregation in Little Rock Arkansas.

Don't see it if You are a bigot, do not care about manners of humanity or only like light and fluffy theatre.

Also Think that this show was very well done where actors played multiple c... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if If you are interested in learning about the history of the Little Rock 9. If you want a compelling, important story.

Don't see it if If you are sensitive to realistic portrayals of the early days desegregation in the South.

Also Very talented cast. They were wonderful actors and singers. Particular... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Must see

See it if you like seeing brave courageous children doing brave and historical events. The show should be shown in every high school in the country.

Don't see it if you are a fuddy-duddy racist who does not appreciate historical events shown on a day-day basis.

Also The show should be expanded to include more scenarios between the whit... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great singing, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if you are interested in the history of civil rights from the 50s and 60s. You want to see something serious, inspiring and heartbreaking.

Don't see it if You only like fluff. You are not interested in civil rights, racism, or history.

Also there is a lot to admire in this show. The actors play multiple roles ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Intense, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if If you like historical events being retold. The acting was great and really tugged at emotions. It's very relevant to today

Don't see it if You don't like historical events being retold. Things get real and emotional.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Must see, Intense

See it if If you like historically relevant plays. Although I knew the story, seeing it presented, is so emotional and makes it real.

Don't see it if You do not like serious plays depicting deplorable historical events. This should be required viewing for ALL junior & high school students.

Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Riveting

See it if You are interested in US racial history and segregation. It was eye opening to see the amount of baseless hatred occurring not that long ago

Don't see it if You aren’t interested in that period of history or may be triggered by the violence and hatred that existed (and still does) in the US

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Enjoy historical plays that depict the real life anguish of the subjects with empathy and insight. Kudos to the cast and director

Don't see it if Only enjoys fluff. Not interested in unresolved historical issues that still Resonate today

Also If you think you know all about the Arkansas 9,then u haven’t seen thi... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Epic, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you like historical dramas that reverberate with present times. riveting, hard to watch but told with humor and pathos.

Don't see it if you have no interest in serious stories or racial issues.

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if Explains history in real terms. It shows what thee ten students went thru to intergrate the schools

Don't see it if If you want something light and fluffy

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if You would like to learn about history in a well written and acting piece.

Don't see it if You prefer musicals only

Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if you love socially aware theatre based in history

Don't see it if you like theatre that only makes you feel good

Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you're interested in dramas and the true stories that come with America's brutal past

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with racial slurs

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if You want to learn about the racism in our country in the late 50’s. This is very powerful with a very talented cast.

Don't see it if You want to see something light, happy and meaningless. Be aware that the n word is used a lot.

Also I can’t believe this is something I never learned about in school. Yet... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intense, Must see, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see and hear a disturbing time of history - very moving!!!

Don't see it if you will feel you will be upset by real life happenings

Also This is definitely a small gem of a show with slight comedic relief af... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great singing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you like historical stories about segregation coupled with some great strong voices.

Don't see it if you don't like smaller productions with actors playing several characters and uncomfortable circumstances surrounding race including slurs.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to learn more about the feelings and reactions of the Little Rock 9 to their first year of integration.

Don't see it if you don't want to see white people at their worst. Occasional use of the N word.

Must see, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if If you want to see some of what the Afro-American students had to endure while going to a mainly white school, and well acted.

Don't see it if If you do not care about the Afro-Americans.

Absorbing, Informative, gripping, heartfelt,, Relevant

See it if You want to view a good ensemble deliver history. See it if you are familiar with the story/ if you need to learn about this point in time.

Don't see it if If you are not interested in the Civil Rights Movement. HOWEVER, YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT PART OF USA'S HISTORY.

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you enjoy historical reality. This was part of my history. The use of a National Army in the US is quite rare. The actors bring it to life

Don't see it if You need light entertainment.. NOTE: the A Capella singing is wonderful

Also Acting is wonderful.... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Must see

See it if You are interested in American History in the mid 20th Century, especially concerning civil rights

Don't see it if I can not think of a reason not to see it unless you do not like music.

Also This is recommended for everyone, but especially for middle school and... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Important

See it if want to have your vision enlarged by accessibly told narratives on difficult events in our national history. This story needs to be known.

Don't see it if you do not like serious shows that examine less-than-honorable behavior, preferring to restrict your theater diet to fluffy entertainment.

Also Excellent show. It gives insight into a shameful era into our country'... Read more Read less