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New York | 2h 25m | Already closed

Renascence

From 9 critic and 54 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting, Quirky

About the show

Transport Group presents this world premiere musical about the radical, reckless, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, who lived one hundred years ago, a hundred years ahead of her time. More…

At eighteen she writes a staggeringly profound poem that rocks the literary world and transforms her from rural Mainer into a virtual cause célèbre. Vincent captivates everyone in her orbit—male and female—and is hero-worshipped for her unabashed intellect and frank sensuality. She works her newfound fame, leaving in her wake broken relationships with those who believed in her before anyone else.



90
Musical Theater Review

"Rather than a bio-musical, the show, with a score that fits Millay’s poetry to lush and invigorating music, is more an evocation of a personality...No fourth wall here. When they aren’t singing or speaking intently to each other, they’re doing so to the audience. And the singing is indeed prodigious, often gorgeous...It’s hard to believe that the inventive theatricality of the show, the music, and the majestic talents of the performers won’t win you over." Full Review

85
New York Stage Review

"Carmel Dean has done Edna St. Vincent Millay an extremely generous favor. She has set the revered poet’s 'Renascence' to glorious, moody, insistent music. Doing that, she has also given audiences an equally uplifting gift...Other Millay works are regularly inserted, and Dean treats them with the same fervor...Crystalline singing delivered by every member of the cast. Singling out any one of them for special praise isn’t necessary." Full Review

85
Motherhood Later

"Not only a window into the writer’s mind and heart, but also an exploration about the fluidity of identity...The poet invites you into her inner world to where you are unseated as you are unsettled by this deeply moving, profound poet and her life, as presented in this striking production...The musical, with some beautiful, soaring melodies sung with passion and sincerity, is deftly directed by Jack Cummings III and Dick Scanlan.” Full Review

75
Broadway Blog

"The new musical with a lush score...But much like Ms. Millay’s poetry, the payoff has to be earned...Dean’s score features sweeping melodic passages, further strengthened by Michael Starobin’s rich orchestrations...For the most part, though, the company’s over-earnestness feels unnecessarily wrought. Ms. Millay’s work as reimagined by Ms. Dean stands on its own merit and a sense of simplicity might further serve the piece." Full Review

65
Time Out New York

“The last 20 minutes of ‘Renascence’ give themselves over completely to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s titular masterpiece, as the six-person cast sings and dances to her lyric poem...It’s the high point of this evocative but overly ambitious new musical...The characters never quite coalesce, and Vincent sometimes seems like a supporting figure in the story. Although it’s a pleasure to hear Millay’s soulful poems in song, the voice behind them remains something of a mystery." Full Review

65
Exeunt Magazine

"Dean’s music is, at times, lush and powerful and the six-person cast is exquisitely voiced, but as a whole, the enterprise has a confused dramatic perspective...The payoff is worthwhile, though nothing before quite lives up to this final section or justifies the lengthy run time to get to it...This musical may have its peaks and valleys in its first production, but between Dean’s unique compositional voice and the intricate syntax of Millay’s 'lyrics' lies the promise of something remarkable." Full Review

50
TheaterScene.net

"Some of the talented and valiant cast cannot help but be defeated by roles for which they are unsuited, while others make their characters self-important and overbearing. The music seems at war with the style and subject matter of Millay's lyrics. And worst of all Edna St Vincent Millay, rather than being the heroine of her own story, comes off as extremely opinionated, pompous and unsympathetic. One wonders what she would have said about being depicted this way." Full Review

45
The New York Times

"Carmel Dean’s melodies, passionately sung, make the poems soar. But what does it mean that I came out of the show liking Millay’s poetry a lot less than when I went into it?...The show made me wonder why we’re still so hungry for artist biographies and what it is we want from them...Centering the work around lightly sketched love affairs feels prurient and cheap....As the evening wore on, I began to wish the piece had been reconceived as a concert, with no mortifying book scenes." Full Review

40
Lighting & Sound America

"The Transport Group is currently presenting 'Renascence,' a musical about Edna St. Vincent Millay, and I can't imagine why. The show certainly doesn't provide any clues...Most of the time it fails to make a case for dramatizing the life of the poet, who should by all rights make a rip-roaring musical-theatre heroine...This is largely the fault of Scanlan's book, which employs a story theatre methodology that never shies away from cutesiness." Full Review


90
Ambitious, Intelligent, Quirky, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Gorgeous music, and a fresh take on Millay and her poetry - the women all shine, and her passion and talent feel utterly contemporary.

Don't see it if An irreverent and anachronistically ironic take on the exposition irritates you.

90
Absorbing, Ambitious, Refreshing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see something unique and unconventionally beautiful. Beautiful score, staging, movement, and performances from all actors.

Don't see it if you want to see something flashy or conventional. The non-linear aspect may be a turn off for some. It also feels longer than it needs to be

80
Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Intense, Great singing

See it if you love exquisite music and versatile actors. The lead actress is mesmerizing and the cast is very impressive.Beautiful voices.

Don't see it if you don't like intelligent stories or stripped down musicals.

79
Intelligent, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if like bio shows but done non-conventionally. well-acted, well-directed and intelligent. music is really good too.

Don't see it if don't like bio show then not for you. having a background in reading "the" poem would be highly recommended

79
Ambitious, Clever, Great acting

See it if You would like to see a new ambitious musical with beautiful poetic lyrics by a woman poet that some may not have ever heard of.

Don't see it if If you only like straight forward familiar musicals

77
Ambitious, Edgy, Quirky, Slow, Great singing

See it if Journey thru Millay's early years via her poetry; providing lyrics to Dean's music Ambitious soundscape, more secular oratorio than drama

Don't see it if Millay's poetry can get lost amidst talented singers but bohemian, feminist quality prevails Ending could have more power recited than sung

70
Ambitious, Quirky, Slow

See it if You're interested in learning about Edna St Vincent Millay's life and hearing songs whose lyrics are her poems.

Don't see it if You want something very fast-paced or set in the current day

Also I liked some things about this show, especially the moments of humor, ... Read more Read less

90
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Profound, Great singing

See it if It is an amazing, if cerebral show. If you like poetry and gorgeous music, incredibly sung you'll be happy. Mid century Bohemian culture

Don't see it if If you need a traditional story with book scenes etc. There are no tap numbers.

80
Ambitious, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great singing

See it if you want to hear beautiful music! The cast is incredible and the story is very interesting.

Don't see it if it's a long piece that moves slowly at times.

90
Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Profound

See it if you love intriguing stories, powerhouse performances, enchanting music

Don't see it if you don't like poetry.

99
During previews
Dizzying, Thought-provoking, Must see, Refreshing, Riveting

See it if you thought there needed to be a feminist, intersectional "Hamilton," you love gorgeous writing, staging, and acting, you don't suck

Don't see it if you need narrative "bio pic" style plays, you need plays to be "about" something, you're easily confused, you're a terrible person

95
During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Inspiring, Great singing

See it if you are inspired by spoken-word, like historical biographies, musical theater, outside the box theater, incredible performances--sublime.

Don't see it if don't like bare-bone sets, fluidity with sexuality, nonconformist casting, and poetry set to music.

Also The story of a young Edna Saint Vincent Millay's writing of the poem R... Read more Read less

92
During previews
Absorbing, Enchanting, Quirky, Great singing, Polished

See it if you love poetry, Bohemia, women writers, chamber musicals, Downtown theatre, exceptionally talented cast with soaring voices, & surprises.

Don't see it if no set, no costume changes, way Downtown LES theatre is not for you. This bio piece centers on her most famous work--not her whole life

Also This charming piece was utterly beguiling. The Finale was breathtaking... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Must-see / highly recommend / extremely moving, Amazing singing (hard range!) / great orchestra, Excellent ensemble / strong committed performances, Relevant story / inspiring / sometimes quirky / absorbing, Stunning score / beautiful poetry (lyrics) / resonant book

See it if musicals are your thing, you enjoy based-on-real-life shows, you're interested in poetry on any level, you own stock in Kleenex tissues.

Don't see it if you only like dazzling productions. This is all about the music, poetry & story. Low-budget (almost zero) set, forcing your ears to submit.

Also Never heard of Edna St Vincent Millay.... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Absorbing, Masterful, Quirky, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if You appreciate new and unique works with beautiful music and an absorbing story. Perfect blend of fantastical and realistic.

Don't see it if You're not a fan of small musicals with a mostly slow but soaring score

90
During previews
Beautiful, Absorbing, Enchanting, Great singing, Poetic

See it if You want to hear a great original score with beautiful orchestrations and exquisite vocal arrangements. Are a fan of Millay's work.

Don't see it if You dislike musicals that contain anachronisms in both the design elements and music. Heavily dislike audience immersion.

Also Reject me not, sweet sounds; oh, let me live,... Read more Read less

89
During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Masterful, Resonant, Great singing

See it if you like Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry set to a symphonic style score, learn about her early life & a great perf from Hannah Corneau

Don't see it if don't like somewhat esoteric, ethereal productions, expect songs to push the production forward rather than for atmosphere or commentary

Also A fantastic mixture of music, poetry and dance featuring an energetic ... Read more Read less

88
During previews
Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if 6 very talented performers with Broadway-caliber voices. High energy tale of "Vincent" Millay & how she started by entering poetry contest.

Don't see it if Annoying that playbills are not distributed until end of show. (Show runs 2 hrs 29 minutes but it flies by.)

88
During previews
Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing, Engaging

See it if You want to hear some really great singing interspersed with scenes about Millay's life.

Don't see it if You're expecting an elaborate production. The beginning feels more like a workshop with bare bones set and costumes that try not to look it.

87
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You like shows done in a completely original way. Where you can experience new theatrical journeys with amazon talent.

Don't see it if If you really like musicals done in the usual way. If you aren't open to theatre a bit out of the box.

87
During previews
Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Great singing

See it if you are a poet or lover of poetry, if you enjoy non traditional theater.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of poetry or of non traditional theater.

Also I loved this show, but it's definitely not for everyone. The play depi... Read more Read less

86
During previews
Millay's ethereal poetry set to lovely music -- cleverly executed biographical script -- great cast

See it if Talented troupe of 6 in bio-musical. Millay's lyrical, naturalistic poetry set to Sondheim-y music. Hannah Corneau is excellent as Vincent

Don't see it if A non-traditional musical, intelligent staging. Focuses more on the poetry and the poet. Orchestra of 8 in the pit under the extended stage.

Also Abrons is the perfect venue for this piece.

85
During previews
Ambitious, Dizzying, Enchanting, Intelligent, Slow

See it if You want to hear a lush score, gloriously sung. If you’re a Millay fan. If you love to see the right show in the right space.

Don't see it if Slow at times, and probably a bit garbled if you don’t briefly acquaint yourself with the poet and her life.

Also Don’t going expecting an extensive bio-musical. You get the Wikipedia ... Read more Read less

83
During previews
Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great music, Great singing

See it if You are interested in Edna St Vincent Millay. You like non-traditional story telling. You want something fresh & powerful.

Don't see it if You need fancy sets or everything spelled out for you. You can’t handle people playing more than one role.

Also Truly fascinating piece. I didn’t know much about the subject and was ... Read more Read less

82
During previews
Strong singing, Tour-de-force ending, Flawed book, Brilliant lyrics, Strong music

See it if you are interested in innovative musicals, or early modernist poetry, or Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Don't see it if you like your musicals to be traditional, or segments of close-up staging upset you.

Also In “Renascence,” Transport Group’s musical staging of the words of ear... Read more Read less


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Cast & Creatives (16)