Manhattan | 2h 30m | Already closed

Peer Gynt & the Norwegian Hapa Band

From 10 critic and 57 member reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Confusing, Entertaining, Great singing, Quirky

About the show

Ma-Yi Theater Company presents a rock 'n' roll remake of Ibsen’s classic verse drama about what happens when we sacrifice everything to be most fully ourselves. More…

This Ma-Yi commissioned work wrestles with Ibsen's bold hero Peer, a brash young man on a journey to discover his ultimate self. The resulting musical odyssey is a story of risk, reinvention, and the benefits and perils of the roundabout path. Featuring a multicultural cast of seven actor-musicians, 'Peer Gynt & the Norwegian Hapa Band' is both a cautionary tale and a reminder of how to remain true to ourselves.

Theater Pizzazz

"Barall dutifully and brilliantly follows the Norwegian folklore through an existential lens. Director Tamburri runs with the concept, highlighting how presence heads to spirit. Under his direction, the actors effortlessly shift and interact as characters and musicians...Park is transfixing and electrifying in the title role of Peer, a true rock star complete with guitar skills. Also co-composer, he audaciously leads the company through the ups and the downs as Peer’s stories gallop apace." Full Review

Off Off Online

"Director Jack Tamburri keeps the action going in this epic story that takes place both in reality and in Peer’s imagination...A very talented group of actors makes up the cast…The weakest part of the production is the choreography, which felt diluted for a production so full of life. Meredith Reis’s stage, set up like a bandstand at a bar replete with shimmery copper streamers, provided the right backdrop...'Peer Gynt' is right to be reinvented as a rock-and-roll odyssey." Full Review

Village Voice

"’Peer Gynt’ demands a strong directorial approach and an incisive eye for adaptation, neither of which fully materializes in Ma-Yi Theater's ‘Peer Gynt and the Norwegian Hapa Band’…The result is often engaging and occasionally poignant but lacks a coherent take on Ibsen's notoriously incoherent tale...A stronger relationship between story and song could give the production the emotional center it somewhat lacks." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"The scenes are often entertaining, the songs fantastic, and every so often, the piece is emotionally moving. But there are lots of unnecessary and sometimes baffling scenes and moments that do not help the piece move forward…A rock music adaptation of Ibsen is an exciting and potentially amazing idea, but there’s nothing wrong with editing down the excess characters and plot lines from the original to get to the heart of the story." Full Review

The New York Times

"It’s a fun idea and a brash one, but here it mostly makes a fragmented story feel even less forceful…Ms. Barall could have made further cuts to the rambling original, but the greater problem is that the songs don’t add much to the book scenes. For the most part, they are merely atmospheric, which tends to bog down the story, already boggy in its original form, rather than propel it. Peer sings that all he and the moon ever do 'is go around and around and around and around.' This show, too." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"An interesting piece of theatre, though not always successful...They have taken the redemption out of the show and replaced it with vulgar language and at times crude jokes meant for a generation that finds this funny...What Ma-Yi’s new production does is rock out, sometimes to a fabulous height and sometimes not so great...I found Jack Tamburri’s direction sloppy and Michi Barall script not to my taste, but I can see with cleaning up how this could appeal to a young downtown audience." Full Review

Theater In The Now

"Daring but quite scattered...If you don't know the story, you're likely lost. Michi Barall layers the lyrics with integral information that, at times, is lost in the muddled sound. If you're looking for some really great music, Lieber and Park have provided it…Matt Park didn’t quite take command as Peer…I can guarantee this story can be perfectly told in ninety minutes. Perhaps with proper trimming and cohesion in the book and score, 'Peer Gynt' could be something cool." Full Review


"Amid all the 21st-century updates, the piece loses its feeling of wonder and universality...Lyrics are lost in a sea of rock-and-roll machismo, and the story unfortunately goes with it...'Peer Gynt's' inherent questions of identity and the fundamental purpose of a life remain compelling and ultimately do make their way to the audience. However, a little less noise, both figurative and literal, would have paved a much smoother path." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Having chopped away several hours' worth of material, Barall and her collaborators still haven't been able to extract a workable drama from the seemingly endless tangle of scenes and characters…The laughs were few and far between. But neither did the story of Peer's progress prove gripping or meaningful. Even in its abridged form, the narrative still suffers from sluggishness and a lack of dramatic interest…For all the talent expended, this is a long, long evening." Full Review


"An ambitious retelling of 'Peer Gynt.' Unfortunately, its creators go in for smug posturing that crush its traces of sincerity...A major flaw is Peer Gynt. Personable co-composer Park plays the title role...His acting ranges from pleasantly monotonous to ineptly excessive. He strains to be charismatic...Director Tamburri’s staging is adept at conveying visual spectacle...It is certainly possible that it may lend itself to a musical incarnation but that is not demonstrated by this production." Full Review

Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Must see

See it if you like a rocking good time, smart contemporary Ibsen adaptations, and great acting in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if You hate funny, charming, and musically thrilling shows.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Edgy, Great singing, Intense

See it if You love rock music. The cast all play instruments, and do it well. Killer guitars, keyboards, and drums.

Don't see it if You are only into traditional structure. This is an edgy, experimental piece that doesn't always have to make sense to be impactful.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Refreshing, Edgy, Funny

See it if You like ambitious, literate, rock musicals. Feels like a rock band oratorio (think TOMMY performed live by The Who), but also theatrical

Don't see it if You have an aversion to loud music

Clever, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if You love great music.The music was great. The show was ambitious in how it tied together the story of Peer Gynt and the Norwegian Hapa Band.

Don't see it if you do not like to see the classics done in new and original ways. Also do not see it if you do not like the type of music played.

Clever, Great acting, Great singing

See it if Make sure to know what Peer Gynt is about before seeing it because it can be confusing. This was a very unique and good interpretation of it

Don't see it if You need a specific and concise plot. The play is a bit complicated if you know none of Ibsen's writings, especially this one.

Funny, Edgy, Intense, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you like shows that are brilliantly insane...or do I mean insanely brilliant ?

Don't see it if you don't know the premise of Ibsen's tale beforehand, and don't like rock operas in general

Also It is a bit long but the performers are quite talented

Inventive, Unconventional, Surreal, Appealing, Raunchy

See it if you will enjoy somewhat foggy plot with excellent music, talented singers / actors. Storyline is somewhere between fairy tale and fantasy.

Don't see it if at times loud music would bother you, or use ear plugs. Want only traditional theatre. Show is less confusing if familiar with Peer Gynt .

Also Venue is new, comfortable, well equipped and designed.... Read more Read less

Edgy, Loud, Refreshing

See it if You support more experimental theatre. This music is wondrous and the talent is unparalleled. Every performer is stellar.

Don't see it if You prefer standard fare.

Entertaining, Great singing, Great acting, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a different take on Ibsen's Peer Gynt with music and a committed cast.

Don't see it if you want something more fluffy and less thought provoking with loud music.

Talented cast, Ambitious, Edgy, Relevant, Quirky

See it if U like more Fringe Fest than Bway. Committed actg keeps this punk, rock, folk, alternative scored piece together. Peer's story is timely.

Don't see it if You like lush sets-the production values are clever but basic. Runs long-especially Act 1. Can be confusing without knowg the Peer Gynt saga

Clever, Quirky

See it if caught the last perf. some intersting tales some good acting nice new theater space for the company

Don't see it if a bit to loud.. but worth the trip

Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if You like rock music and a fresh new perspective on a classic tale

Don't see it if You are looking for something simple and very clean

Inventive, Ambitious, Funny, Indulgent

See it if you know the story of Peer Gynt, enjoy fast paced musical adaptations and talented actor/instrumentalists.

Don't see it if you're looking for a fleshed out or traditionalist performance of a story you've never seen or heard before, you have a sensitivity to sound

Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Indulgent, Slow

See it if It reminded me a lot of the movie version of Tommy. If you liked that - I did - you'll probably like the music/production of this show too.

Don't see it if You don't like rock opera type stuff.

Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Great writing, Confusing

See it if a well written and well scored show with very good acting

Don't see it if despite the quality of this adaptation. Ibsen's work here fails to make the audience care at all about the protagonist

Quirky, Loud, Rocking

See it if To support diverse voices and a top notch cast of musician/actors, the ageless wonder that is Angel Desai, enthusiastic if amateur music

Don't see it if Can't handle the volume of a rock concert, think Peer Gynt is too bizarre by itself or looking for straight presentation

Confusing, Great acting, Great singing, Excruciating

See it if If you enjoy rock music, you will like this show. Knowing the Peer Gynt story will help understanding the shoe

Don't see it if You don't like loud music. My only complaint was that I felt the show was too long.

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy rock opera-type shows with great music, lyrics, and musician-actors.

Don't see it if You're an Ibsen purist, can't deal with shows over 2 hours long and need the story spelled out for you.

Ambitious, Confusing, Entertaining, Quirky, Slow

See it if Energetic cast of actors/musicians nearly keep this rock opera adaptation of Ibsen's epic mythic poem afloat. Stronger editing would help

Don't see it if Songs often loud & confusing leaving us adrift.Barall needs stronger book scene connection Matt Park as Peer needs to charm us more

Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying, Loud

See it if you like: new interpretations of established works; rock musicals; energetic, committed performances.

Don't see it if ...too loud music bothers you; you don't like story-theater type shows. Long first act.

Entertaining, Absorbing, Enchanting, Great singing, Intelligent

See it if A new experience, but enjoyed the music and the singing.

Don't see it if Dont like a HARD ROCK band effects.

Ambitious, Confusing, Edgy

See it if You're familiar with Ibsen's PEER GYNT and you're looking for an edgy twist on the classic.

Don't see it if You aren't familiar with the classic; you're looking for a quiet night out.

Also Unfortunately, the music was very loud and I couldn't hear the actors'... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Clever, Disappointing

See it if You would like to see rather disjointed, loosely plotted scenes reminiscent of Peer Gynt. Good Drums/violin. big sound small band.

Don't see it if You are sensitive to occasionally ear shattering music, (tho much just good rock) and a very liberal use of smoke. I couldn't breathe.

Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Entertaining, Disappointing

See it if You appreciate very loud, live music.

Don't see it if You prefer linear, logical stories or don't like loud music/flashing lights.

Too long, Great singing, Uneven acting

See it if you only care about the songs & singing, which were great. You want to support Asian-American theater or Mayi Theater Company.

Don't see it if you care about the story or acting. It goes on for two & a half hours.

Cast & Creatives (18)