Octet NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(214 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
4%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great singing, Clever, Ambitious, Relevant, Absorbing

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.

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Member Reviews (214)

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83
Surprising, Great singing, Timely, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if Very creative with timely themes. Great singing and choreography. Unique and special. Fun and very thought-provoking.

Don't see it if There is one scene that had nothing to do with anything else. It is interesting in itself but it's jarring on the continuity of the whole.

82
Relevant, Great singing, Entertaining, Clever

See it if Really inventive concept for a show. The music and the vocals are VERY impressive. Subject matter is relevant to today.

Don't see it if You dislike the format of A Chorus Line or Assassins. This is similar where each character has a song but it's all connected by a theme.

Critic Reviews (30)

The New York Times
May 19th, 2019

"The most original and topical musical of the year...A portrait in song of perhaps the greatest David and Goliath struggle of our time...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 art."
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Time Out New York
May 24th, 2019

“Malloy’s splendidly wrought new musical, ‘Octet’—performed nearly completely a capella...Under Annie Tippe’s taut direction, all eight bits of ‘Octet’s’ byte-size cast perform Malloy’s challenging compositions with exceptional skill, abetted by Or Matias’s musical direction and Hidenori Nakajo’s sound design. As Broadway shows increasingly rely on massive spectacle, ‘Octet’ proves that well-polished pieces of eight are enough.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 20th, 2019

"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."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 19th, 2019

"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."
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The Observer
May 19th, 2019

"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."
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Theatermania
May 19th, 2019

"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."
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Lighting & Sound America
May 30th, 2019

"How these downbeat and self-lacerating accounts are transformed into something entrancing without losing their essential power is a mystery perhaps known only to Malloy; Or Matias, the musical director; and Annie Tippe, the director, all of whom maintain firm control over their eccentric characters and their wayward souls...If there is a weakness in 'Octet,' it is the lack of forward motion...It's probably enough that 'Octet' is a strong, striking piece of work."
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Talkin' Broadway
May 19th, 2019

"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."
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New York Stage Review
May 19th, 2019

"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."
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New York Stage Review
May 19th, 2019

"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."
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Theater News Online
May 22nd, 2019

"Does the blue glow of your computer screen silently call to you at all hours, interrupting your sleep, interfering with your relationships, consuming all your energy? Does your iPhone never leave your hand, whether you're in the office, riding on the subway or on a date? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you're already likely aware that you are not alone! Still, the hyper-theatrical composer Dave Malloy is here to reassure you anyway in 'Octet,' his striking a cappella musical."
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TheaterScene.net
May 29th, 2019

"Malloy, who wrote the book, music and lyrics, has taken a novel approach, staging 'Octet' as if it were a 12-step program in which all the members of the group express their inner thoughts through a cappella singing all the while following the precepts of an AA or OA meeting. Director Annie Tippe has taken this sophisticated mass of brilliance and shaped it around the sensational talents of a small cast which performs miracles of acting and singing."
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Theatre is Easy
May 20th, 2019

“The sounds and harmonies that Molloy dreams up are inventive and delicious...the result is a feast for the ear...’Octet’ is driven by its music, not story. The characters’ problems lack urgency and therefore fail to enlist either our concern or empathy...It seems Malloy’s main goal was to write an acapella musical, and the fact that it ended up being about internet addiction feels inconsequential...The music is a great deal more compelling than the narrative.”
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Theater Pizzazz
May 22nd, 2019

"Leave it to the talented, unpredictable Dave Malloy to come up with a surprising new topic and an arresting new theatrical form to fit it...Ingeniously staged by Annie Tippe, this talented ensemble of singers have only their beautiful voices, their pitch pipes, and (of course) Malloy’s marvelous score at their disposal...It’s an immensely entertaining show – that is, if it weren’t so unsettling."
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CurtainUp
May 29th, 2019

“‘Octet’ is more original than most of the entertainments now on Broadway. Best described as a chamber choir musical. Performed by first-rate a cappella singers, it has a pristine sound that is rarely heard in contemporary musical theater...I was surprised at first by the stark simplicity of ‘Octet’...I was reminded that it's not the frills that makes a work hum but the message embedded beneath its surface. And what could be a more powerful message today than the one that 'Octet' offers?”
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Front Row Center
May 21st, 2019

“Part chorale, part drama, part magic. It transcends form, creating a new, pertinent, relevant, humorous, and relatable way of storytelling...The piece itself feels germane to the world we live in today...One would be remiss to not see themselves reflected in at least one of the confessor’s performances...The ensemble of the piece was spectacular...Their voices blended and unified in support of the individualism and distinction of the confessor."
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Front Mezz Junkies
June 2nd, 2019

"This one certainly got under my skin and had me thinking late into the night. It also forced me, quite intensely and wisely, to think twice before each and every impulse I had to look at my phone...It’s insanely beautiful and achingly real emotionality that forces itself on me even as I attempted to fall asleep after I got home from this enlightenment...The simpleness of this musical has one of the more important messages that the world seems to be desperate to hear and learn."
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Exeunt Magazine
May 20th, 2019

“Malloy’s score plucks at the expressional impulses and tics of desire as music grounds its disturbed characters and their sentiments fluctuate from bliss to frustration to shame. The tone and lyrics speaks true to the toxicity of Internet spaces. ‘Octet' drenches itself in the psychedelic without overstepping its visual restraints...’Octet’ won’t cure you of screen obsession, but it will guilt-trip any second you stare at the screen after the show.”
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T
June 6th, 2019

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts...There are times when some of the threads seem without any meaningful content and become, unfortunately, lost on the audience. Dave Malloy’s music is exquisite in every way reflecting various styles composed and arranged with tight harmonies that support Malloy’s lyrics...Under Annie Tippe’s direction, the eight-member cast moves around the set with Jungian synchronicity and the grace displayed in synchronized swimming."
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New York Theater
May 30th, 2019

“A beautifully sung a cappella chamber musical...So much feels so smart and spot-on...that theatergoers may want to excuse the show’s excesses...A boastful-seeming intelligence seeps into some of the lyrics...Too many of the characters get so much of this same high-toned vocabulary for us to hear it as part of each individual’s personality...Luckily, this first musical produced by Signature Theatre brings out enough of what’s best about Malloy’s work."
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Broadway Blog
May 30th, 2019

"Over the course of an intermissionless hour and 45 minutes, Molloy's frequently brilliant music fails to sustain interest without the support of an engrossing dramatic script…Some songs are clearly marked 'hymn,' but, after a while, the reliance on a cappella gives them all a hymnal feeling… Aside from the choral passages, there's little interaction, and only a bare minimum of context for knowing any of these characters as people. Dramatic action is nil, suspense absent, and boredom imminent."
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Gotham Playgoer
May 19th, 2019

"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."
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Stage Left
June 22nd, 2019

"The result is a disarming, intimate, and sonically absorbing exploration of Internet addiction, human connection, and nihilism in the year 2019...It is all easy to follow, and swallow—especially since the challenges the characters face are so bitingly familiar to anyone who participates in the digital age...Malloy’s text is too rich to fully appreciate upon first encounter...The music is mesmerizing and, in performance, particularly dazzling for the fact that there is no conductor."
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Financial Times (UK)
May 21st, 2019

“’Octet’'s technosceptic theme is echoed by the musical simplicity of Malloy’s quirky gospel-cum-folk numbers...'Octet' might have benefited from a slightly stronger narrative arc. Tippe’s staging nonetheless builds steadily in intensity...as the numbers become progressively stranger, more anguished and more boisterous...Rather than mimicking the tumult of modern life, Malloy and Tippe have crafted an austere-yet-joyful sanctuary from all the distractions beyond the theatre door.”
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scribicide
June 12th, 2019

"Malloy doesn't know where to go with this material, and the structure soon becomes tiresome, monotonous...In this, 'Octet' bears an odd resemblance to 'Cats'; it strikes me as closer to a concert than a fully-realized drama. And while the work is not quite as pointless as Webber's, it suffers from a similar lack of cohesion."
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Newsday
May 21st, 2019

“Malloy’s new chamber choir musical...An elegant and often frightening a cappella musical exploring the perils of our collective obsession with devices...The show asks a lot of its impressive cast, with each of the eight singers performing almost nonstop the challenging beats and harmonies required of this kind of music, while establishing their troubled characters. They're all terrific...The music is innovative and varied.”
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Diandra Reviews it All
May 28th, 2019

“If ‘Black Mirror’ ever decided to do a gospel choir, it would be ‘Octet’...I cannot say whom is the best character or actor...Each one gives their heart to their performance, has their ‘show-stopping’ song, and turns the open stage into an immersive, raw forum on technology...Viewers will be enthralled by the man-made hymns sung to them by ‘Octet’s’ incredible cast/chamber choir, but, in the end, they will feel challenged by the question it leaves within them.”
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Off Script with Dan Dwyer
June 11th, 2019

“Malloy’s imaginatively brilliant and daringly transportive, new musical...Brooding internal motifs contrast with staccato rhythms that bring to mind electronic chirps and alert signals of digital devices...There’s nothing either duplicative or derivative in this marvel of a production. ‘Octet’ is a breathtakingly original, a wonderful work of musical theatre which boldly plumbs the timeless tale of human pain and redemption, in a new, unexplored universe.”
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The Wrap
May 19th, 2019

"This is a deliberately secular spin on a choral tradition that’s more typically heard in a religious setting, but the approach helps elevate the seriousness with which Malloy approaches his themes...However, there is a certain sameness that creeps into the individual songs...Still, 'Octet' is a thoughtful and thought-provoking exercise, directed with theatrical flourish by Annie Tippe and performed with consummate craft and musicianship by the eight-member cast."
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Medium
May 23rd, 2019

"He has proven himself to be more than a niche obsession — he has become this generation’s Sondheim...In addition to sounding impeccable, 'Octet' is visually quite captivating and magically cohesive, thanks to the extraordinary direction of Annie Tippe...There is no way to leave 'Octet' unchanged; you will exit with a newfound understanding, fear, and appreciation of the powers of technology."
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