The Public's new musical from Tony award-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes ('In the Heights') and genre-breaking songwriter Erin McKeown, centers around an undocumented immigrant and her daughter. More…
Two-time Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega is Beatriz, flawed mom to 16 year-old Olivia, and on the verge of deportation. After living estranged from each other for years, a mother and daughter embark on a road trip that crosses state lines. Together they meet Americans of different backgrounds, shared dreams, and complicated truths.
"The diversity of its ensemble and storylines is organic and unforced, and its political timeliness does not feel opportunistic. This highly anticipated musical is a gem...Erin McKeown’s score is varied and moving...'Miss You Like Hell' sets the bar for what a feminist piece of theater can be. Hudes’ writing is brave and deliberate...The connection between the two leads is palpable; any scene that involves their explosive interactions is spellbinding." Full Review
"Hudes's characters are authentic and their multi-layered conflicts are believable and connect easily to the important issues...Powerful and emotionally engaging lyrics and music that...provide deep insights into the characters...Debessonet directs with a fluidity that allows her cast to discover the nuances of their characters and their relationships to one another...Not grounded in sentimentality but in the strength derived from connection to culture...Not to be missed." Full Review
"The only new musical with songs approaching the insight and power of McKeown’s is 'The Band’s Visit'...If it lacks the intricate harmonic, key, and rhythmic shifts of Yazbek’s music, the story is much more forthright, and ultimately heartbreaking...Hudes' book takes no time to warm up...Any Rubin-Vega performance is going to be big and hyper-intense. Jimenez matches that energy from the get-go...DeBessonet’s direction is nearly as tireless as her two heroines." Full Review
""Has a timely political edge, an ethnically diverse cast and a score by a singer-songwriter who knows how to rock. What's more, it's good-really good...Steers a bit erratically between sentiment and sentimentality, but it scarcely ever descends to outright tearjerking and Ms. McKeown’s score heightens every emotion so skillfully that you’d think this was her third or fourth show instead of her theatrical debut." Full Review
"Refreshingly original...Rubin-Vega plays the overbearing, over-caring Beatriz exceptionally well...Her performance in songs like 'Over My Shoulder' is relevant and heartbreaking...Jiménez is perfectly irritating in her portrayal of Olivia...The wide variety of musical presentation in 'Miss You Like Hell' keeps the show alive...Relevant and well-written, this new musical takes on a complicated story with great success, and its vibrant music will stay with audience members long after they exit." Full Review
"Powerful and super relevant show...This topical and smart musical wraps itself up in a sweet yet engaging road trip that is driven with perfection by the star and her director, Lear deBessonet...It's a raw and challenging story, laced with moments of struggle and acceptance as Rubin-Vega's mother Beatriz tries her best to 'mommy the fuck out' of her girl...It feels so real and touching, just like the whole of this musical piece, causing the tears to flow down my cheeks." Full Review
"A lovely and touching chamber musical...With a powerful singing voice and acting skills that mix teenage angst with the anger of a troubled soul who felt forced into early adulthood, Gizel Jiménez is a formidable Olivia...While the detours can get a little sluggish,' Miss You Like Hell ' is gripping stuff when focused on Beatriz and Olivia, especially with Rubin-Vega and Jiménez giving such strong performances. And its topicality adds to the impact." Full Review
"A touching, lively musical...The show taps strongly into contemporary concerns...The beauty of the show, enhanced by the lead performances, is how well the songs are integrated into the plot and how effectively supporting characters are brought into the story...deBessonet integrates story and music smoothly...Despite some weak spots here and there, this is a work with originality and heart and appearing just at the right time." Full Review
"A show as effervescent and timely as one would expect from the Public Theater...It’s easy to feel like this new musical tries to cover a lot of ground in just ninety-five minutes...The music is surprising and delightful, often innovating on classic musical moments to arrive at a new angle and fresh perspective...The cast and creative team for this production deliver a solid performance...The relevance of this new musical is as obvious as the reason it needs to be told." Full Review
"'Miss You Like Hell,' whose decidedly shaky script deBessonet has fashioned into a physically lovely, emotionally moving theatrical experience. It's replete with the kind of songs you want to hear again, a uniformly outstanding ensemble led by two remarkable performers, and...driven by a subject of immediate public concern…However, her play is really schmaltz-porn about an estranged mother and daughter's reconciliation…Rubin-Vega...the intensity of a tropical hurricane." Full Review
"Rubin-Vega once again lends her magnetic persona and powerful voice, and the lovely and golden-voiced Gizel Jiménez is very much a star in the making...Using the template of the road trip...provides the show with some amusing as well as scary encounters. Unfortunately, some of work better than others...Even though the mother-daughter interchanges aren't flawless, the scenes in which anger, regrets and love unfold are the most satisfying...Moving and worth seeing." Full Review
"An ambitious piece...Every member of this ensemble is spectacular...The performers are stellar and the musicians are snake charmers. In addition, the direction of Lear deBessonet is compelling and vibrant...What is not so compelling or vibrant is the story and the music...It was the performers' mastery that charmed the audience. The story has holes the size of craters...The sincerity and dynamism is packed tight into this troop and the musicians who accompany them. They explode onstage." Full Review
"Full of exuberance and heart and good intentions...At times a bit too reminiscent of a cloying show like 'Up With People'...the ensemble members back up the songs with gusto and without the aid through most of the show of anything resembling a set...McKeown and Hudes offer poetic lyrics that serve as counterpoint to the snappy, street-smart dialogue. To their credit, 'Miss You Like Hell' ultimately refuses to submit to the uplift that theatergoers have come to expect from a musical." Full Review
"'Miss You Like Hell' does not become poignant until it is almost over when the stakes are raised and Olivia realizes that she could lose her mother if she is deported...Quiara Alegría Hudes and Erin McKeown have created a timely story in their investigation of the life of an undocumented immigrant but ultimately 'Miss You Like Hell' avoids much of the possible drama in the way it doles out bits and pieces of Beatriz's story." Full Review
"Sometimes the only way to repair a parent-child rift is a long, literal (and metaphorical) drive...Their slow reconciliation is achieved in large part by singing the lively songs Hudes and McKeown have written -as well as some of the less irresistible ones...Perhaps most responsible for the tuner's alluring effect is director Lear deBessonet...Rubin-Vega is an angst-ridden, determined, hopeful firecracker. In other words, she’s doing what she always does best." Full Review
"How a 16-year-daughter who hasn't seen her mother in four years could serve as a plausible character witness is one of the weakest plot points...Rubin-Vega and Jimenez are both quite strong in their roles. The music by McKeown, in a variety of generic styles, is serviceable...I really wanted to like it, but was disappointed that it did not offer any real illumination on the many issues it touched on...Most of the audience seemed quite enthusiastic." Full Review
"The show is quite a tearjerker when it sticks to the fraught mother-daughter relationship at its core, with tuneful folk-rock songs that touch on depression, heritage and family. But after hitting a few bumps on the highway, Hudes’s book loses focus and crashes into cliché...It’s a treat to spend time with complex Latinx characters who buck stereotypes. But although 'Miss You Like Hell' takes us on a resonant journey, its trajectory needs adjusting." Full Review
"New musical unlike few I've seen: by women and about women of color...While the music is enjoyable and beautifully orchestrated, and both the staging by Lear deBessonet and design are smart, the overall show feels too muted and diffuse...I wanted to feel more about these characters and their predicament...This admirable musical could use some more tuning, and future life beyond the Public, because it is a story about real characters we need to see and hear from onstage." Full Review
"Admirable, full-hearted, and underwhelming...Lacks a sense of magic...Songs to Hudes and McKeown’s credit, help fuel the narrative rather than merely embellish it. Ironically, given the weighty issues addressed, the most compelling tunes are the gentler, breezier ones...For all its flaws, 'Miss You Like Hell' appeals genuinely and sometimes movingly to our sense of compassion and capacity for hope; you just wish the musical were as transcendent as the message." Full Review
"The show packs a blazing performance by Daphne Rubin-Vega, some fresh songs by Erin McKeown, and a fast, fluent staging by director Lear deBessonet. Then there’s this ultra-serious story...The playwright's troubled mother-daughter story proves to be merely a half-bad component...McKeown, a folk-rock songwriter making her theater debut here, has crafted a likeable collection of songs that are more about rhythms than rhymes in their composition and appeal." Full Review
"The unambiguous reason to see this new musical is Gizel Jimanez...'Miss you like hell' never delivers the promised emotional payoff, largely because the characters are so thinly sketched...Instead of using the road-trip format to reveal more about Olivia and Beatriz, the book's author adopts a picaresque approach, populating the play with characters who arrive, steal focus, and then drop out of the story...I left the theatre wanting to know so much more about these characters." Full Review
"As long as it sticks to the story of a mother-daughter relationship...it is a powerful example of what musicals do best: explore the unprotected border where individual needs and social issues intermix...Too often falls short of its own ambitions...Too much time is turned over to diversions apparently meant to be distracting or, worse, heartwarming...Rubin-Vega, with her rough charisma, and Jiménez, with her blue-sky voice, generally make you forget all that." Full Review
"An earnest show that too often gets stuck in a traffic jam of multiple themes, characters and storylines...Overstuffed with ideas and incidents that don't add up to a sweeping, satisfying whole...The human touches of the mother-daughter dynamic are the most appealing part of the show...Low-tech to a fault...However, McKeown makes an impressive stage debut with music that is eclectic and appealing, though the lyrics are too often an odd mix of fleeting grace and awkwardness." Full Review
"Smart, if a bit on the nose, and with a less generic score and more trenchant direction, 'Miss You Like Hell' might really start to flex its muscles. But McKeown's songs evaporate from the brain pretty quickly, and deBessonet is so invested in the poignancy of the story that she never really finds its edges...There's power to its central plot, and to Rubin-Vega's and Jiménez's performances...But this car trip sticks to such well-worn emotional terrain, it loses its sense of adventure." Full Review
"This timely show addresses such hot-button societal issues...But in an effort to be as entertaining as impactful, it does so in a cutesy, cloying manner that undercuts the important messages being imparted...Hudes' episodic book shifts wildly in tone, consistent only in its inconsistency and lack of credibility, while McKeown's pop-rock score features unmemorable ditties...The 10-person ensemble works hard to bring heart to the material, and they often succeed." Full Review
See it if You want to see a beautiful story about the struggles between a mother and daughter and the struggle of the immigrant experience in the US
Don't see it if You are looking for a light, fun show that doesn't address a major political issue
See it if you like performers with outstanding voices, good songs that enhance the story, and an absorbing atypical story.
Don't see it if you like predictable plots, you need a full orchestra, you don't like a theater that plays to an audience on three sides of the stage
See it if you enjoy and encourage strong and powerful stories about women and by women. A mother/daughter story sung and acted beautifully.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy non-traditional musicals. This one asks the audience to suspend disbelief and join the actors on a cross country journey.
See it if You are interested in undocumented persons' rights. You like contemporary/R&B/folk/indie musicals. You want to see a show with your mom.
Don't see it if You prefer legit musicals. don't like shows where not all the music moves the story forward. are very conservative and close-minded.
See it if you like personal family drama and care about current politics and the Administration's war on immigrants and DACA.
Don't see it if you support Trump. Actually, see it anyay-- it might cause you to rethink your position on DACA.
See it if you are looking for a group of wonderful performers put on a show that tells a very current story
Don't see it if you are not interested in stories of strong women and immigrants
See it if You enjoy interpersonal family relations, seeing individual personal growth, enjoy a family journey
Don't see it if You aren’t jnterested in immigration or family dynamics, don’t enjoy blind casting, need a traditional musical
See it if You love musicals - esp. ones with something new to say & sing. Also, see it if musicals are not your "go to," BUT you've enjoyed some prevl
Don't see it if You are particularly prickly - seems like that's a NY epidemic, judging from other comments - about being "manipulated."
See it if Interested in the immigrant experience and how the mother/daughter relationships might be changed by that. Not easy now, and it never was.
Don't see it if You have a hard time caring about women.
See it if stories of mothers and daughters interest you. To see Gizel Jimenez--what a performance from this young actress. Strong supporting cast.
Don't see it if you want elaborate sets--staging is fairly minimalist but effective. If you aren't interested in themes of immigration.
See it if If you love a good musical that not only has great singers but tells a story that tugs at your heart and realize our shared humanity.
Don't see it if You only like the big broadway musical extravaganzas
See it if Flabbergasting! Shed tears through at least 3 songs. Gizel Jiménez and Daphne Rubin-Vega; persuavice and heartbreaking.
Don't see it if if you don't like musicals to pierce your heart like a knife.
See it if You enjoy theater about people of color and American social and economic systems. You like intensity and can hang with hardship.
Don't see it if You agree with Donald Trump about immigration policy. If you are looking for something light or a traditional musical with songs belted out
See it if You like stories about mothers and daughters and the complications of that relationship. You care about the effects of immigration policy.
Don't see it if This one still needs to cook a little longer. It feels a bit unfocused. If you don't like that, this isn't for you.
See it if If you are interested in today’s issues surrounding undocumented immigrants and mother- daughter relationships, as told in a musical.
Don't see it if You are not interested in a contemporary musical about a Latina mother and her half Latina-half white daughter traveling across the country.
See it if If you like smaller scale musicals with a timely message and appreciate serious social topics.
Don't see it if You only like light subject matter and want to see a lavish musical.
See it if You're a fan of Quiara Alegria Hudes (you should be), you enjoy seeing new musicals.
Don't see it if You want something fluffy and light, you'd have difficulty with themes of immigration/deportation or parental alienation.
See it if You like musical theater with a provocative book, a fresh score, and committed performances by a diverse ensemble.
Don't see it if You like big, brassy musical numbers and expensive sets and costumes.
See it if Rubin-Vega brings her quirky vocals to a mother-daughter roadtrip musical ripped from the headlines. Is she right or wrong? Sing out, Louise
Don't see it if Odd staging is distracting and disappointing. See it only for the pop/rock vocals of Daphne Rubin-Vega.
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