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Peer Gynt & the Norwegian Hapa Band

Members say: Ambitious, Confusing, Great singing, Entertaining, Quirky
69
Critics
57
10 reviews
Members
72
57 reviews
 

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.

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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.

 

Cast & Creatives (18)


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Reviews (67)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
57
Avg Score

50
Theatermania

"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

60
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

40
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

55
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

55
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

35
TheaterScene.net

"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

65
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

65
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

75
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

85
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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
72
Avg Score

76
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

60
Ambitious, Indulgent, Banal, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like rock music played extremely loud performed by energetic troupe, curious how Peer Gynt could be turned into a two hour musical

Don't see it if you don't like loud ear-piercing music, books that wander aimlessly, sub-par staging, and if you ever wander WHY was something musicalized

67
Ambitious, Clever, Confusing, 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.

72
Ambitious, Quirky, Confusing, Slow, Entertaining

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

74
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

71
Absorbing, Enchanting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great singing

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.

25
Ambitious, Edgy, Disappointing, Loud, Weird

See it if You want to support experimental theatre, like punk-rock music, or are a fan of Peer Gynt to begin with.

Don't see it if You want a sympathetic protagonist, want a more traditional musical score, or are unwilling to schlep to 10th avenue.

74
Great acting, Confusing, Excruciating, Great singing

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.

50
Quirky, Confusing, Excruciating

See it if this play based on a Norwegian folktale about a man in search of himself is very confusing, too long, and simply boring. Skip it!

Don't see it if ..just don't see it.

85
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Intense

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

40
Boring, Loud, Odd

See it if you enjoy experimental theater.

Don't see it if you want to hear well written music and experience an interesting story. This show was unbelievably boring while simultaneously being odd

76
Funny, Ambitious, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing

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

95
Great acting, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing

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.

72
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, 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.

75
Funny, Ambitious, Inventive, 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

50
Ambitious, Great acting, Indulgent, Confusing, Excruciating

See it if you like rock operas, really long musicals, high energy shows

Don't see it if you value your time.

Also This play needs to be cut by a third at least. Way way too long for wh... Read more Read less

80
Ambitious, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing

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.

71
Ambitious, Dizzying, Confusing, 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.

88
Ambitious, Clever, 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.

88
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.

84
Inventive, Raunchy, Surreal, Appealing, Unconventional

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

79
Ambitious, Edgy, Quirky, Relevant, Talented cast

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

75
Ambitious, Clever, Indulgent, Slow, Entertaining

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.

75
Great acting, Great writing, Confusing, Entertaining, Great singing

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

65
Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Disappointing, Entertaining

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.