Manhattan | Already closed

One Thousand Nights and One Day

From 9 critic and 66 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky

About the show

This kaleidoscopic musical reinvention of 'The Arabian Nights' wraps stories within stories, deconstructing and examining narrative, the Middle East, and identity through a 21st-century lens. More…

In mythic Persia, a daring young woman spins tales to save the kingdom and her life. In modern-day New York, a Jewish man and Palestinian woman fight to find love in a fractured world. This world premiere musical, adapted from Jason Grote's '1001,' collides the contemporary and the ancient. Through a genre-bending score, it questions past and present images of the Middle East, exploring the power of story in our everyday lives.

Times Square Chronicles

"This clever deconstruction of the Arabian Nights tale intertwines the new age philosophy of the veils lifting and time becoming one...The entire cast works well together in bringing their characters to life, both in acting and movement...The show’s music by Marisa Michelson is beautifully sung with rhythms that lead the melody...Erin Ortman directs this piece with flourish, allowing these parallel universes to shine through." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The humorous, mocking 'One Eyed Arab' – with two eyes, (a lively Graham Stevens) sets the opening time and place in mythical Persia, as the narrative smoothly shifts as explained in the program...There are shattering musical vibrations that literally shake the theater...The cast members are a talented bunch of triple threats speedily directed by Erin Ortman." Full Review

Musical Theater Review

"Impressive if overloaded...Along with some serious storytelling, it also has accomplished music...and poetic and sometimes affecting lyrics. Its narrative, though, may be a little too complicated for its own good...The book loses impact as it shifts back and forth from old-time Persia to contemporary New York...Ortman, however, manages to get emotional value out of the shifting proceedings...The cast handles the heavy load with admirable skill and dedication." Full Review

Time Out New York

"A haunting, soulful musical...Director Erin Ortman embraces simplicity in her staging—sheer black curtains open and close around playing areas—and brings together divergent elements with the style and substance this ambitious work deserves. As Grote plays with deconstructing stereotypes, Michaelson presents a vibrant sonic landscape that ranges from Middle Eastern music to modern EDM...The show sounds heavenly." Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"Michelson may well be one of the most exciting composers working in musical theater today...Michelson's style is wholly unique and her style ignites listeners to sit up with curiosity and wonderment...The same praise can't be lavished onto Grote's well-intended, but often preachy book and lyrics...What binds the show together is Michelson's score, delivered with great conviction...For that alone, it's worth the admission price." Full Review

The New York Times

"Interweaving a fantastical medieval Persia with contemporary New York, the show is at its best when it flat-out mocks American ignorance and the stubbornness of ethnic clichés...Michelson’s music winds through it, by turns spare or richly choral...The actors’ voices are lovely, though an aural muddiness mars the ensemble numbers. As the plot elements bleed into one another, clarity is in too short supply...Moafi, forthright and funny, is the cast standout." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"In execution, it is both overstuffed and unsatisfying: The show wants to say something about women's rights, Middle Eastern politics, religious traditions, and Orientalism...A score that is often quite beautiful but often deficient in illuminating the plot and characters...Grote is so interested in connecting the dots between his stories that he forgets to make them compelling...In musicalizing his play, Grote may have thinned out his original material to a distressing degree." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Much [of] Michelson's music…sounds like bland dialogue sung in operatic tones when it's not displaying melismatic overkill…comes in the Arabian nights material…When the Dhana-Alan situations arrive, singing becomes minimal and dialogue dominates; given the songs' bland similarities this isn't such a bad thing…This is the kind of show in which anything can happen, even an appearance by…a djinn…Alan asks the djinn to get his lover back. I suggest he ask for a better show." Full Review


"With book and lyrics by Jason Grote (based on '1001,' his 2007 play), 'One Thousand Nights and One Day' with music by Marisa Michelson wants to be several things at the same time. The eclectic music which begins and ends with New Age themes then resolves into Broadway, pop, solfege, and Middle Eastern melodies with a certain amount of operatic arias for the women singers thrown in. Like the story and the libretto, it can't seem to make up its mind what it wants to be." Full Review

Great staging, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if You like creative staging, storytelling, choreography. Excellent acting, a tight band performing complex music - not all Western tradition

Don't see it if Don’t like nonlinear plots, actors in various roles, need splashy staging and Western traditional musicals, are triggered by 9/11.

Enchanting, Great music, Quirky, Romantic, Riveting

See it if you like opera; Dave Malloy musicals; The Last Five Years; surrealism; post-colonial theory; Borges; OR non-linear narratives.

Don't see it if you're not interested in old stories in new contexts, love, small-budget musicals, or exotic (wonderful) orchestration.

Also Honestly, this was laser-focused to my interests (c'mon, they gave my ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Enchanting, Great singing, Intelligent, Great music

See it if you love music and great singing, inventive storytelling and moving, creative performances.

Don't see it if you don't like music and singing and are confused by stories that move from one fantasy to another in a different century.

Clever, Great acting, Great singing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Using the Arabian Nights themes, the show updates the time frame to present day to show how these themes still resonate in today's world.

Don't see it if you need linear stories where it's clear from the outset exactly what's happening , or you don't enjoy giving a new musical style a chance

Clever, Great singing, Romantic, Quirky, Confusing

See it if You love new, small, off-Broadway musicals by talented, interesting composers.

Don't see it if You think this will be a heavier piece rooted in mythology. It’s more light-hearted and romantic than it seems.

Entertaining, Confusing, Great singing, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if You like arabian nights theme mixed with present day situations.

Don't see it if You want to watch a straightforward play.

Also I liked some of the songs and acting was good. Overall an enjoyable en... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting

See it if brief moments of beautiful theatricality; really interesting ideas

Don't see it if honestly I think this would have been better left alone as a play, music did not do much to serve the show

Entertaining, Great singing, Interesting, Terrible choreography

See it if Really great cast, singing, ​and melodies. Some lyrics are better than others.

Don't see it if The choreography is abominable and completely unnecessary. The story is a bit confusing but in a poetic way.

Also Overall it was enjoyable and a very clever juxtaposition of fantasy an... Read more Read less


See it if If you like a decent musical with some of the plot not being so strong.

Don't see it if If you don't like a musical about the middle east or that kind of genre, or if you like an air tight musical.

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Indulgent, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you like the music of Marisa Michelson and like "experimental" musical theater.

Don't see it if you want a cohesive plot and script and want to care about the characters. It won't happen.

Great singing, Indulgent, Slow, Insipid

See it if You appreciate strong musical performances but are not bothered by a story line with plot holes.

Don't see it if You have high hopes for a production dealing with important themes. They are not handled well.

Also I *loved* what this production was trying to do - drawing parallels be... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great singing

See it if Like an attempt of bringing Scherezade story into today.

Don't see it if Not quite sure what it wants to be.

Disappointing, Funny, Interesting, Cool concepts, Muddled

See it if You enjoy high-concept shows that challenge traditional story-telling

Don't see it if You are looking for something more straightforward and polished. It felt like an early draft and tried to do/tackle too many things at once

Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if you are easily impressed with pretentiousness

Don't see it if you like the show's elements to come together in a coherent way

Good acting, good staging, confusing, disappointing, dystopian

See it if want to see a well acted well staged show that combines the Arabian nights with a modern love story.

Don't see it if you don't like shows that jump around in time periods or hint at a dystopian future.

Confusing, Strong singing, Atonal and discordant music, Ambitious, Disappointing

See it if you're willing to wade through muddied plot strands and talking points to get to some understanding.

Don't see it if you like lyrical music, are expecting the story of a clever Scheherazade, and/or are looking for something light.

Also I completely misread this one, expecting something fun and smart about... Read more Read less

Banal, Disappointing, Overrated, Indulgent, Confusing

See it if You like to see some flashes of brilliance

Don't see it if You want a coherent story line (there several mashed together). Different song genres and performance art style dances complete confusion

Ambitious, Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Awful writing

See it if You really want to support new musicals about the Middle East

Don't see it if You want even a halfway decent show. The musical tries to tell three different stories and connect them, and fails spectacularly at it.

During previews
Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you want to be transported to Persia and back to NYC in one show

Don't see it if you like shows with a linear plot

During previews
Enchanting, Edgy, Refreshing, Absorbing, Imaginative

See it if you're interested in an inventive, beautifully sung and orchestrated multilayered modern musical retelling of a classic folk tale.

Don't see it if You want a simple, linear, more traditionally told story; or this particular hot-button issue is too touchy a subject for you.

Also Deals with US-Israeli-Palestinian relations in a contemporary NYC love... Read more Read less

During previews
Edgy, Enchanting, Thoughtful, Exquisite score, Ambitious

See it if you dig multilayered storytelling that reckons with contemporary issues (US-Israeli-Palestinian relations) to an inventive and fresh score.

Don't see it if you don't like shows that mix modern stories with traditional narratives, or the issues dealt with are too heated for your tastes.

During previews
Clever, Absorbing, Great singing, Great music, Not confusing

See it if It mixes the One Thousand Night with a modern tale. The singing and music is excellent.

Don't see it if you want only a old story.

Also Theater is a walk away from subway, but not bad. You can see the stage... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Absorbing, Enchanting

See it if You want to be absorbed in a beautiful, complicated world. The performances are great.

Don't see it if You only enjoy musicals with very traditional scores.

During previews
Great music, Hilarious, Dated, Clever, Great staging

See it if you want to know how this One Thousand Nights and One Day became 1001 days. See it if you wants to see a great narrator with a great voice.

Don't see it if you are looking for a nearby train station because you have to walk.

Also My only observation is that one of the casts is sometimes flat and the... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if I think this show is going to elicit very conflicting opinions. I loved it. Cast was wonderful and the music and staging were original.

Don't see it if you don't like complicated stories and want a more traditional musical.

Also It's a complicated story, merging threads from two different time peri... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (18)