Marie and Rosetta
Closed 1h 30m
Marie and Rosetta
85

Marie and Rosetta NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(169 Reviews)
Positive
97%
Mixed
2%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great singing, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing, Delightful

About the Show

Atlantic Theater Company presents the world premiere of George Brant's play about music legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe's collaboration with Marie Knight, which culminated in a career-defining tour.

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Member Reviews (169)

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83
Great acting, Great singing, Resonant, Moving, Absorbing

See it if Beautiful story of friendship and support. Great music, singing, acting. Heart-warming. Thoroughly enjoyable. For any audiences.

Don't see it if You don't like Godspell or have a judgmental view on the broadness of religious interpretation.

80
Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great acting, Interesting

See it if You enjoy bio musicals and want to see a well crafted true story. Lewis & Jones have powerhouse vocals & have excellent chemistry together.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in bio-musicals, or the time period or style of music.

Critic Reviews (31)

The New York Times
September 14th, 2016

"Music, more than the rather slender threads of bio-drama, forms the spine and provides the allure in ‘Marie and Rosetta'…Fortunately, there is plenty of music to divert us when the dialogue dawdles. Both Ms. Lewis and Ms. Jones have beautiful voices, and they do blend smoothly...Because the music is roof-raising, I would have preferred to tip the balance more toward songs...‘Marie and Rosetta’ sometimes sags, but when it sings, it really swings."
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Time Out New York
September 14th, 2016

"George Brant’s drama, unsentimentally directed by Neil Pepe, is peppered with evocative detail, and it incorporates its biographical material gracefully...Rosetta’s incipient mentorship of Marie is capably rendered...Lewis and Jones sing superbly…As the play goes on, the dialogue starts to seem more and more like segues between musical numbers, but it’s hard to complain. You don’t have to be religious to know when you’re in the presence of glory."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
September 14th, 2016

"The scenes are basically just a delivery system for the music, which is only sufficient because the songs are so ecstatically exciting. On the other hand, songs this good set a high bar, and the play leaves you wishing to have understood more, and believed more, about these women and their times than its jukebox structure permits. Brant seems to write from index cards...Kecia Lewis takes the role of Tharpe by the neck and shakes it for all it’s worth."
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The Hollywood Reporter
September 14th, 2016

"As theater, 'Marie and Rosetta' makes a great concert…The scenario ends up being little more than an excuse for Lewis and Jones to perform…The two actresses deliver a series of thrilling vocals that threaten to tear the roof off the theater. But for all the excitement both the music and the terrific performances provide, the evening gets bogged down in dialogue filled with expository details that fails to impart any deep insight into the real-life figures."
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Variety
September 14th, 2016

"Playwright George Brant has written a perfunctory script about the first rehearsal of this legendary team, but since the biographical details are so thin, it’s all about the glorious voices…As a story framework, it’s corny as hell, but it works well enough to support the singers and their celestial voices. Lewis is a force of nature, and when she unleashes her powerhouse voice on rockin’ versions of gospel classics the church roof elevates."
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NY1
September 28th, 2016

"The story of Rosetta and her stage partner Marie is brought to vivid life, but their music is what steals the show...The exposition is rather clunky. But the performances are remarkable...Rosetta was a child prodigy on the gospel circuit and Lewis sings her like the second coming. Rebecca Naomi Jones is equally gifted as the younger Marie...Director Pepe wisely allows the music to carry the day. With this much talent, when these ladies get cooking, it's a religious experience."
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Theatermania
September 14th, 2016

"A delightful new play…A not-to-be-missed example of what the theater can do with music…’Marie and Rosetta’ smartly incorporates music without falling into the traps that so often accompany contemporary musical theater…The songs come naturally and regularly add to the emotional resonance of the play...An intimate story about the relationship between two women, and the way they lift each other up through music. It's enough to make the theater faithful stand up and shout 'Hallelujah!'"
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BroadwayWorld
September 20th, 2016

"A swift and enjoyable bio-drama…Rebecca Naomi Jones and Kecia Lewis are both fine singing actors who are giving excellent performances…While a dramatic twist at the end doesn't quite land, it works as a vehicle to provide information about what happened to the two later in life. If ‘Marie and Rosetta’ is somewhat lacking in storytelling, the excitement of watching Jones and Lewis whole-heartedly present a taste of their artistry is well worth a visit."
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Lighting & Sound America
September 30th, 2016

"Even when 'Marie and Rosetta' seems to be about little more than getting the act together, it makes for a fine 90 minutes, thanks to some salty dialogue and sizzling vocals, courtesy of two magnificently equipped actresses...Neil Pepe, the director, handles these slender dramatic goods with extreme delicacy, extracting two finely shaded performances that nevertheless make room for some galvanic vocals, backed by the excellent guitarist Felicia Collins and pianist Deah Harriott."
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Talkin' Broadway
September 14th, 2016

"It is unthinkable that Lewis and Jones, both operating at the height of their considerable powers, could possibly be better…It's tough to imagine we'll see better musical performances this season…They work brilliantly together, effortlessly contrasting each other in physical appearance as well as voice…The lesson is not new. But it doesn't need to be when it's executed this well…How can the Atlantic afford repairs eight times a week when Lewis, Jones, Brant, and Pepe keep blowing off the roof?"
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TheaterScene.net
October 4th, 2016

"You may not have heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight before, but after 'Marie and Rosetta' you will be convinced of their importance in the development of popular music in the 20th century. Credit goes to Rebecca Naomi Jones and Kecia Lewis for making this a mesmerizing evening of gospel, spirituals and popular song."
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Theater Pizzazz
September 14th, 2016

"It may take place in a funeral parlor, but you won’t find anything more full of life than ‘Marie and Rosetta’…The dialogue is revealing and often very funny…But it’s the music that gives ‘Marie and Rosetta’ wings. These women can sing…Lewis recognizes Rosetta as the dream role it is and she pours her heart into every fiber of the singer’s being. As the more reticent Marie, Jones does less of a star turn, but it’s fun to watch her evolve from hothouse flower into radiant lily of the field."
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CurtainUp
September 14th, 2016

"Brant's story is essentially a framing device for a terrific, concert—a concert vibrant enough to make even non-gospel fans tap their feet and applaud after each number. The music may even make you forgive the playwright's contrived trick ending...Lewis and Jones make this two-hander soar dramatically as well as musically. Both are fine actors and have big belting vocals...By the time the two women actually sing and play together the show really rocks."
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Front Row Center
September 16th, 2016

"This is one of those rare occasions when a true story doesn’t ruin a perfectly good play...The only way to improve this production would be to stage it in a dance hall. I was nearly jumping out of my skin wanting to get up and boogie. This show is good for everything that ails you – heart, mind and soul. 'Marie and Rosetta' lift you up to Heaven, and then set you gently back down on earth."
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New York Theater
September 14th, 2016

"Lewis and Jones bring it all home in song after song…If the conversation between the two women never approaches the excitement of their singing, the playwright is adept at establishing the distinctiveness of their personalities…Late in the play, there is an eye-rolling twist…As shopworn as it is, it doesn’t spoil the service that George Brant has rendered by retrieving these figures for the stage, nor the rousing musical performances that are the heart of ‘Marie and Rosetta.'"
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Broadway Blog
September 20th, 2016

"‘Marie and Rosetta’ isn’t the kind of play you criticize the way you do something by Edward Albee. It’s a well-crafted exercise that provides an excellent context in which to learn about and appreciate two exceptional performers who made an indelible impact on popular music...Jones and Lewis couldn’t be bettered; they perfectly capture these women’s sharply different personalities, offering totally believable yet larger-than-life representations."
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C
September 14th, 2016

"Even if 'Marie and Rosetta' occasionally gets grounded in clunky exposition, this 90-minute piece soars whenever these ultra-talented ladies get to sing. The 'score' is comprised primarily of real-life gospel standards and, regardless of your religion or belief system, anyone with an appreciation for great music will end up in heaven during these passages...Director Neil Pepe has guided the proceedings with a smooth hand."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
September 20th, 2016

"It emerges as a thin if likable drama that enables us to enjoy the main attractions, the terrific singing by Kecia Lewis as Tharpe and Rebecca Naomi Jones as Knight...The dialogue between the women can get sharp at times...But the singing is the real treat...Directed with feeling by Neil Pepe, it is an impressive tribute to the two singers who contributed so much to the musical world with their creativity, performing and recording."
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W
September 19th, 2016

"There’s a sea change. We’re not exactly where or when we thought we were. The idea is good, the transition bumpy, dialogue less secure. 'Marie and Rosetta' is musically entertaining and well written to that point. Both actresses do a fine job, with Rebecca Naomi Jones excelling in the outsized, yet devout role...Director Neil Pepe does an adroit job of giving the women small natural business and of indicating changes in their relationship...Pacing is deft."
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Broadway & Me
October 5th, 2016

"George Brant's two-hander purports to tell the story of that relationship. I say purports because his plot is thin, and his story employs a lot of poetic license...But none of that matters because what gives this show its heart, and yes, its soul, is the music. There are few things more glorious than a well-sung gospel song and this show has a bunch of them. It also has two superb performances from Rebecca Naomi Jones as Marie and Kecia Lewis as Rosetta."
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Newsday
September 14th, 2016

"In director Neil Pepe’s sly, expert chamber musical, Lewis and Jones don’t just portray the women on what appears to be their first rehearsal...These actors also sing, whisper and wail the wonderful songs — including 'This Train' and 'Down by the Riverside' — and are so convincing at the piano and guitar that it’s hard to believe they are not playing. Fairness demands that credit goes to Felicia Collins and Deah Harriott behind the scrim."
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WNBC
September 14th, 2016

"A brash and swaggering new play with music from the Atlantic...Stage vet Kecia Lewis is wised-up, earthy and soulful as the flamboyant performer who has both a matronly concern for her new charge and something of a sensual draw to her, as well. Rebecca Naomi Jones, as Marie, is initially timid, but Sister Rosetta draws her out, helping her walk a line between faith and seductiveness."
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Epoch Times
September 20th, 2016

"Both actresses have excellent singing voices and make full use of them…The only shortcoming in the work comes with the story itself...While the story provides a nice introduction to who these people were, it never really goes below the surface in examining the life of either. These quibbles aside, 'Marie and Rosetta' offers both a tuneful, entertaining time at the theater and a look at two interesting figures in 20th-century music."
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Act Three - The Reviews
September 22nd, 2016

"A near pitch-perfect, smart, toe-tapping bio-play…I might have given this show 10 out of 10 if the actors actually played the guitar and piano…However, the two actual musicians were superb! In an incredibly surprising and clever twist at the end, we fast forward. Touching, tender, and a complete closure to the trajectory of the story, which brings it all back to the beginning and suddenly every little detail in the beginning now makes sense."
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Reflections in the Light
September 26th, 2016

"Brandt is a gifted storyteller and the 90 minutes without intermission are mesmerizing...Brandt includes a satisfying twist in telling the story of how the woman who once was a big enough celebrity to fill a baseball stadium for her third wedding ended up forgotten and buried in an unmarked grave. I felt grateful that Brandt has brought her back to life for us...And the music is heavenly. I felt as though I had attended a worship service."
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BroadwaySelect
September 19th, 2016

"The songs run the risk of seeming like filler. Does Brant simply not have all that much to say about these two people and thus opts for musical divertissements?...Credit director Neil Pepe for masking these potential potholes by keeping matters moving, and, of course, for casting Lewis and Rebecca Naomi Jones, who have done him proud in this two-hander."
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Village Voice
September 15th, 2016

"Neil Pepe's direction is unassuming, freeing Lewis and Jones to feed off each other's energy...The actresses' main obstacles are the thin and sometimes artificial emotional arcs they're given, so they tend to hide behind their characters' postures...Beyond the warmth of its leads and the spiritedness of its music — and despite its paucity of dramatic tension — the greatest virtue of 'Marie and Rosetta' is the rarely told history it illuminates."
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E
September 21st, 2016

"What a wonderful journey. 'Marie and Rosetta' was an authentic and soul-warming trip to 1946 Mississippi’s gospel scene…The women made the performance gallop across the room, the audience clapping and stomping by its completion. Jason Michael Webb’s musical direction makes 'Marie and Rosetta' a must-hear. Director Neil Pepe captured George Brant’s work expertly. If you are looking for a night of music and a story that will bring you to tears...see 'Marie and Rosetta.'"
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Theatre is Easy
September 13th, 2016

"’Marie and Rosetta’ isn’t entirely a play in the conventional sense, but rather an excuse to see and hear Jones and Lewis rock out…Brant’s script seems secondary—it’s not entirely interesting, though certainly well made…No matter how effective you find the text, 'Marie and Rosetta' is must-see theatre because everyone must experience the bravura powerhouse that is Kecia Lewis. And as the sometimes foil of Lewis, Rebecca Naomi Jones radiates charm that is nothing but pleasure."
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Times Square Chronicles
September 13th, 2016

"Inspirational, moving and a bright spot in what so far has been a slow start...Brant’s script may be sparse, but it is perfectly blended into a phenomenal concert that discusses issues that were important then and now and moves you in profound ways...Neil Pepe’s direction is exquisite with Rebecca Naomi Jones as the perfect sidekick to an award-winning Ms. Lewis...All I can say is, 'Hallelujah!' for the Atlantic and Mr. Brant for bring these amazing artists to life. Amen!"
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Reviewing The Drama
September 12th, 2016

"As the two women get to know each other and groove to the soul-shaking music we get treated to two vocal powerhouses raising the roof...Playwright Brant, one could argue, wrote 'Marie and Rosetta' to keep these women alive. That sense is palpable, and it gives the show pathos and dramaturgical heft, but for me, it was secondary. Witnessing Lewis and Jones give everything they have in service of these hallowed songs—and that alone—was worth every penny."
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