New York | Ends Jun 30

Octet

From 9 critic and 80 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Ambitious, Clever, Relevant, Thought-provoking

About the show

Three-time Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy ("Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812") begins his Residency 5 as Signature’s first musical theatre writer with this world premiere musical. More…

Featuring a score for an a cappella chamber choir and an original libretto inspired by internet comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry, "Octet" explores addiction and nihilism within the messy context of 21st century technology



95
Theatermania

"The transfixing score and vocal arrangements Malloy has built for this production manage to eclipse his skilled creations in works like 'The Great Comet'...Simply on a technical level, it's one of the most inventive scores I've ever heard, with clever lyrics that match...One of those rare shows that's ambitious as hell and actually delivers on it's promise...'Octet' ultimately delivers the one-of-a-kind feeling that emerges only when you're able to lose yourself in a musical." Full Review

95
New York Magazine / Vulture

"Malloy’s extraordinary new chamber-choir musical 'Octet' uses a simple structure to go spelunking into a complex, ominous, continuously exquisite series of caves...The marvelous actor-singers of 'Octet' feel like tentative, searching acolytes...Under Annie Tippe’s agile, imaginative direction, every one of the show’s actors is balancing a full, many-shaded character with a masterful musical performance...'Octet' is that rare and thrilling thing: a new musical that really does feel new." Full Review

90
The New York Times

"The most original and topical musical of the year...A portrait in song of perhaps the greatest David and Goliath struggle of our time. In one cavernous corner, there’s the endless, labyrinthine, and shape-shifting internet...These layered and contrapuntal voices produce a dazzling spectrum of effects, like the swelling harmonies associated with traditional choral music and the crystal pings of personal computers...I’m going to chalk up this beautiful, absorbing, disturbing work as a win for ... Full Review

90
The Observer

"Such an anthology approach can grow predictable or monotonous if the creative team doesn’t invest in each character equally, and change up their theatrical game, but Malloy and his shrewd director, Annie Tippe, find a smart, engaging balance between satiric realism and exuberant theatricality...Not only is ‘Octet’ one of the most thought-provoking and soul-stirring musicals I’ve seen in ages, it has an ingeniously woven, harmonically lush score that you’ll want to revisit." Full Review

85
New York Stage Review

"What makes this musical all the more extraordinary is that its score is performed entirely in an a cappella mode...The music, lyrics, book, and vocal arrangements are ingeniously crafted...Finally, let’s applaud the all-around excellence of this production staged by Annie Tippe, the director, who assembled eight highly-talented actor-singers and blended them all into a splendid ensemble...A remarkable new musical to be savored by audiences wise enough to appreciate its quality." Full Review

85
Talkin' Broadway

"Melding naturalism with mysticism, ‘Octet’ is utterly beguiling as it addresses an exceedingly real problem about dependence upon technology and electronic media...Director Annie Tippe makes terrific use of the space, and the eight-person ensemble is uniformly excellent...Malloy's songs ingeniously merge classical-sounding choral hymns about monsters and forests that simultaneously and anachronistically reference technology and addiction." Full Review

80
New York Stage Review

"Yes, the grappled subjects sound weighty—and are—but the substantial delicacy of Malloy’s music lyrics vitiates anything approaching the turgid...Throughout, everything floats on the J. Groostman Faith Center air like seductive perfume. The solos enthrall. Incidentally, here’s where all that originality starts to thicken. Malloy dispenses so much of his brilliantly subtle music that before the final fade-out his score threatens to evaporate into the old too-much-of-a-good-thing." Full Review

80
Gotham Playgoer

"The relative failure, in my humble opinion, is the book, which I found confusing, uneven, rambling and a bit pretentious...The book’s shortcomings are, in large measure, balanced by the strength of the music, sung by excellent singers in creative a cappella arrangements...Tippe’s direction tries too hard to enliven the proceedings. In short, I admired the show more than I enjoyed it. Honesty compels me to report that younger members of the audience responded with vociferous enthusiasm." Full Review

65
The Hollywood Reporter

"A thoughtful, if simultaneously overstuffed and underdramatized, exploration of an issue that couldn't be more relevant...Each of the dozen songs is linked to a tarot card, and if you're wondering why, I'm at a loss to explain it. It's indicative of Molloy's overreaching...The composer's talents, however, are on ample display in his stirring music and intricate, frequently polyphonic arrangements...It makes one eager to see what his restless mind comes up with next." Full Review


94
Dizzying, Clever, Great writing, Great singing, Exquisite

See it if interested in how tech’s made ppl faster but not better (and arguably faster at being worse); you’re good at following unpredictable lyrics.

Don't see it if bothered that the show illustrates a situation, rather than a plot; dislike so much cleverness; turning to God fixes all of your problems.

Also How quickly can we get a cast recording?! I didn’t get any of the taro... Read more Read less

91
Intelligent, Funny, Great singing, Ambitious, Clever

See it if You enjoy amazing a capella singing with masterful harmonies. Have questions about whether technology is helping or hurting us.

Don't see it if If you need a big orchestra to make it feel like a musical, don't go.

85
Great acappella harmonies, Exquisite, Entertaining

See it if ..you'll enjoy excellent singing. Interesting confessional stories about modern addictions

Don't see it if .. you don't like the style of AA meetings.

84
Great singing, Intelligent, Relevant, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you like acapella singing Its an interesting take on out addiction to our devices

Don't see it if you are looking for a full blown musical

80
Slow, Sign of the times, Great singing, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you enjoy a cappella singing, new plays & librettos with a current topic; talented ensemble with beautiful voices and harmonies.

Don't see it if not interested in seeing a bare bones set, a rare Signature musical or a self help meeting for people with internet/technology addiction.

Also Slow second half could use some editing. The play is interesting and w... Read more Read less

70
Quirky, Overrated, Great singing, Slow, Indulgent

See it if For the beautiful, intricately arranged singing. Attempts to analyze a current socially relevant subject. Well researched and esoteric.

Don't see it if But, it ends up being totally tedious and gives you no reason to feel anything for the characters.

98
Great staging, Great writing, Masterful, Intelligent, Clever

See it if You want to be thrilled and challenged by beautiful material, amazing performances, and timely subject matter.

Don't see it if You like your musical theater light and fluffy.

98
During previews
Inspired, Riveting, Great writing, Great staging, Great singing

See it if you enjoy, study or appreciate fine singing and amazing acapella vocals. If you use a cell phone, have interest in addiction...see this!

Don't see it if you like plot driven theatre pieces, non musicals, and prefer to avoid controversy and swear words.

Also The music, arrangements and execution of these vocals were so beyond o... Read more Read less

97
During previews
Must see, Resonant, Great singing, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you appreciate the brilliance of Dave Malloy and are willing to take a journey via a show that is unlike anything you have seen before.

Don't see it if you only like traditional musicals.

97
During previews
Great singing, Great writing, Refreshing, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if you're enticed by the prospect of the first great musical of the Internet age. Something blazingly original and audacious.

Don't see it if you don't like a capella music in any form. You don't like musicals that lie more in theme than plot.

97
During previews
Relevant, Ambitious, Delightful, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You can! The writer, Dave Malloy, is a musical magician who takes information from contemporary culture and turns it into a unique fairytale

Don't see it if You don’t like music and have no interest in thinking about the society you live in.

96
During previews
Contemporary irl, Quirky, Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want the thrill of experiencing a new musical, if it’s crossed your mind that all this digital stuff is bad for us, you love polyphony.

Don't see it if You want to see what you already know, hear what’s familiar,or don’t know or understand social media - only because you won’t get it.

Also I subscribe to Signature Theater and lucky that I do because I would h... Read more Read less

95
During previews
Great staging, Great singing, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy great writing, deeply experimental yet accessible theater, and incredible staging.

Don't see it if You don't like a capella musicals, need a lot of plot to sustain your interest, prefer period over contemporary pieces.

95
During previews
Scarily relevant to life today, Starts light & silly but gets very dark & profound, A wild, yet very relevant ride, More of a song cycle than a musical, 100% original

See it if Premise sounds dreadful (12 Step meeting for tech addicts), but the ride is exhilarating, smartly dissecting societal impact of technology.

Don't see it if insist on plot driven musical. Really more of a song cycle, but the issues raised are so wide-ranging, it inspires awe, like Hamilton did.

95
During previews
Creative, Relevant, Original

See it if you would enjoy a highly original, creative approach to a relevant topic

Don't see it if you prefer traditional musicals

Also For me, Octet was thrilling from the beginning. Walking into the theat... Read more Read less

95
During previews
Great singing, Dizzying, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if You like semi-surreal experimental theatre and/or Dave Malloy's shows (particularly Ghost Quartet).

Don't see it if You don't like a capella, or if you don't have much of a grasp on internet culture.

95
During previews
Resonant, Must see, Great singing, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a stunning feat of performance by an incredible group of singing actors. You liked "Great Comet." You dig the experimental.

Don't see it if You know your attention span won't sustain you through a 100-minute, basically plotless one-act. The esoteric makes you antsy.

95
During previews
Profound, Masterful, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if A stunning, beautiful, haunting a capella musical that explores facets of online existence and hits very close to home. Timely and terrific!

Don't see it if You want loads of plot (there's very little**), instruments (who needs them with voices like these?), or the traditional musical trappings.

Also I loved that Malloy manages to chillingly critique constant connectivi... Read more Read less

95
During previews
Groundbreaking, Must see, Relevant, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if Dave Malloy has outdone himself with this piece. It’s so smart and challenging and powerful that it’s worth seeing even if you don’t like it

Don't see it if You get upset at having a mirror held up to yourself. If you don’t like his previous work (but you still should)

95
During previews
Intelligent, harmonic, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you love to hear beautiful harmonies carrying a contemporary message that concerns us all.

Don't see it if you want a splashy musical with lots of sequins.

95
During previews
Impressive, Profound, Entertaining, Great singing, Ambitious

See it if You love Dave Molloy’s work, and sound, and genius lyrics. You are addicted to the internet.

Don't see it if You don’t like a capella, mostly sungthrough musicals, cerebral pieces, nontraditional, non action based pieces.

Also Once again Dave Molloy has created a genius score on themes that you w... Read more Read less

95
During previews
Must see, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you love a cappella singing, great, inventive storytelling, engaging characters, clever lyrics, creative staging, insightful observations.

Don't see it if you don't like singing, stories about internet obsessions or works that make you think.

92
During previews
Great singing, Intelligent, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if You like complex music and to be challenged and entertained

Don't see it if You are looking for something light and easy

91
During previews
A brilliant theatrical and musical engagement with a central problem of this historical moment: the impact of the cyber-revolution on human life., Great singing, Great staging, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if great singing and meaningful theater are your thing

Don't see it if you are looking for traditional linear narrative or light entertainment

90
During previews
Thought-provoking, Great singing, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You want to be challenged; you want to be forced to think; you like something different; just see it, it's great

Don't see it if You want Rodgers & Hammerstein; you dislike "different" musicals; you dislike a challenge; you don't want to "work" as an audience

Also This is a challenging, current, totally relevant musical. I haven't se... Read more Read less



Cast & Creatives (8)