Members say: Quirky, Entertaining, Clever, Great singing, Great staging

About the show

MCC Theater presents the NYC premiere of this dark musical comedy about a group of teenagers whose trip to an amusement park takes a very surreal turn.

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The Saint Cassian High School Chamber Choir will board the Cyclone roller coaster at 8:17pm. At 8:19pm the front axle will break, sending them to their tragic demise. A mechanical fortune teller invites each to tell the story of a life interrupted, with the promise of a prize like no other. 'Ride the Cyclone' is a wildly original new musical, part comedy, part tragedy, and wholly unexpected.


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100
Times Square Chronicles

"Run, do not walk to get tickets…The newest cult musical that is sure become a sensation...As for the cast, they are, for the most part, all unknowns, fabulously young and talented. I will not single anyone out because they are all spectacular...This is one funny, well-written show with heart, soul and afterlife...The show is directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell and she is a find...One of the best shows this season, and definitely the most thought-provoking and interesting. Full Review

95
Front Mezz Junkies

"I loved every minute of it, and will tell everyone I meet to go see this exciting, crazy musical...Directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell with a sharp witty sense of fun and dark sincerity, it’s a marvelously clever set-up, rich in ghoulish bravado and weirdness...This show is a macabre amusement park ride masking as a brilliant musical, one that I hope will find its way to Broadway." Full Review

90
The New York Times

"This delightfully weird and just plain delightful show will provide the kind of thrills we look for in all musical comedies, however outlandish their subject matter: an engaging and varied score, knocked out of the park by a superlative cast, and a supremely witty book…All of the performers are terrific…Although the show is primarily a series of solo turns, the staging is dynamic...For a musical about dead teenagers, it’s high-spirited and just plain fun from start to finish." Full Review

85
Theatre Reviews Limited

"The competition gives the victims the opportunity to advocate for the opportunity to return to living out their lives and each performance is remarkable and provides its own counterpoint teaching to the musical’s main 'lesson' of how to manage one’s movement through the ride called 'life'...Under Rachel Rockwell’s astute direction, the cast of the musical excel in every way and tackle Ms. Rockwell’s choreography with impressive skill." Full Review

85
Broadway Blog

"In a somewhat formulaic structure, the kids each have an opportunity to make their cases, but Karnak continues to switch up the rules up until the very last chords are played. What makes 'Ride the Cyclone' so wildly entertaining is what happens within each of those moments…Rachel Rockwell’s work here is thoughtful and nuanced as she is somehow able to unpack a treasure chest of quirkiness delivered by the authors." Full Review

85
Act Three - The Reviews

"Quite the musical with a message and a heart...It felt a little like a NYMF show. However, the show was executed so well and so crisply, I could have imagined being in a Broadway theatre…Given the macabre nature of the material, one has to look beyond the obvious and dream a little alongside these youngsters…If you need an exhilarating experience in the theatre, head over to the Lortel and go for a wild ride with 'Cyclone!'" Full Review

85
ZEALnyc

"A weird little musical comedy about a horrific disaster...All of the performances are terrific, revealing both the cliché of their characters, as well as the genuine human beings underneath. And it’s charmingly pulled together by director and choreographer Rockwell, doing a fine service to the hilarious, inventive, and often surprising work of writers Maxwell and Richmond. It’s creepy, it’s campy, it’s touching, and, for a musical about a bunch of dead teenagers, it’s very funny. Take a ride." Full Review

80
New York Theater

"If the musical feels largely derivative, it features an appealing, talented cast, a dozen witty, energetic songs in a variety of popular styles, and a spectacular design for such a small-scale show. Although the characters are dead, that doesn’t stop them from being fun and funny, albeit in a familiar way…The premise winds up being little more than the frame for a series of entertaining musical numbers. But the cast makes the most of them." Full Review

75
Bob's Theater Blog

"My expectations were so high that I ended up being slightly disappointed...The performers are all appealing...Why then was I slightly disappointed? In trying to tell us enough to care about each character, the show occasionally loses momentum...Nevertheless, there is much to admire, particularly for a younger audience. If you liked 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,' which I was reminded of, you will probably enjoy this show." Full Review

70
Theatre's Leiter Side

“When the show is singing and dancing, and being creatively theatrical (including a revolving stage), it sparkles...It's the book passages, though, especially those that go on too long, that hold the show down. The music, while always enjoyable, is generic but several numbers are nonetheless showstoppers, particularly the surrealistic one performed by Jane, when she flies out over the audience and even does a pinwheel in midair. 'Ride the Cyclone' didn't exactly spin my wheels.” Full Review

70
Chicago Tribune

"The dark but perversely lovable little tuner...A work at once macabre and sweet, melancholy and affirmative, merciless and compassionate...'Cyclone' felt a tad tenser, slower and less certain of itself at the MCC Theater than had been the case in Chicago — the performances did not entirely capture the requisite blend of the strange and the deeply intimate. The score revealed itself to be in need of couple more songs...But there's no other show in town even remotely like this one." Full Review

70
CurtainUp

"More often than not, the show pursues humor, but when it allows itself moments of poignancy they are often unexpected and resonant...It's easy to become immersed in and engrossed by a show with such a richly atmospheric design, even at the moments when the story traffics in clichés or formulas. And while the show moves towards a fairly predictable ending, it offers many surprises along the way. It's a musical that is unexpectedly charming and entertaining, despite its macabre premise." Full Review

65
TheaterScene.net

“The flashy orchestrations performed by the four piece combo dress up the undistinguished lyrics and the bland revue format. The use of many clichés is probably meant as comic but only go unnoticed as the show moves so fast. The expert cast makes the most of their opportunities but the basic question as to the intended audience for this bizarre story is never resolved. And the show is surprisingly upbeat considering the subject matter.” Full Review

60
Theatermania

"This quirky show pushes hard for its desired audience response, be it laughter or tears. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as funny as the writers seem to think and a last-minute U-turn toward schmaltz comes across as unearned…Everyone in the cast works up a sweat selling the material they have to work with...Under the steady and efficient direction of Rachel Rockwell, the whole thing feels like a Fringe Festival musical with really high production values." Full Review

60
Time Out New York

"A lengthy cooking time has only resulted in a derivative, if energetically plated stew...'Cyclone' earns points for its hectic mix of misanthropic satire and small-town melancholy, and the eclectic score keeps things lively—Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond's tunes run the gamut from Ukrainian rap to French chanson and indie pop. But at 100 minutes, this gaudily hand-painted car trundles along after the thrill has faded." Full Review

60
Theater Pizzazz

"'Ride the Cyclone' lives up to its namesake amusement park ride: it has moments of fear and exhilaration, and is ultimately rather diverting. Still, like most such rides, it’s fun while it lasts, yet will be forgotten hours, if not, minutes later…The show’s shortcomings lie firmly in the hands of its co-authors…First, their characters rarely feel more than two-dimensional…More problematic is that the pair’s pastiche-driven score never makes as much of an impression as it should." Full Review

55
BroadwayWorld

"Curiously lacking in any kind of emotion or tension. Director and choreographer Rachel Rockwell's production is a lively one, featuring a boisterously talented cast...But while the book contains a decent number of guffaws and the score exudes a pleasant assortment of contemporary sounds, the hints that something of significant profundity is contained within the text are left unfulfilled." Full Review

55
New York Magazine / Vulture

"It clearly wants to be both eerie and funny, as well as subversive, serious, touching, and great. As a result it’s a little bit of all of the above, except for the last...It’s only toward the end, as the stabs at snarky humor subside and the kids start considering the brevity of the lives they are leaving, that anything emotionally engaging happens. Until then, 'Cyclone' feels like a queasy hangover dream with the late Prince as the dramaturge and some serious short-term memory problems." Full Review

55
Front Row Center

"The Canadian writing team of Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond have no experience to speak of in creating staged musicals and that is fairly evident even without reading the Playbill. Karnak spends an inordinate amount of time just narrating backstory to the audience...The duo, however, are quite good at serving up catchy, rock-tinged melodies...The show works best when looked at as a musical revue with wild songs where nothing necessarily needs to connect logically." Full Review

45
Newsday

"A goofy, extravagant, bad-taste musical comedy…If you don’t think about the utter cruelty of the concept and the pasted-on smile-button conclusion, it may be altogether possible, oddly enough, to enjoy the audacious foolishness and admire the gung-ho excellence of the cast and the campy, over-the-top staging. Sometimes I could. More of the time, however, I just couldn't...The frequently poetic lyrics are just as often accompanied by banal, derivative tunes." Full Review

40
The Hollywood Reporter

"The impulse toward the easy, cheesy laugh means that unlike other teen-angst musicals, the emotional stakes remain flat. The young cast is talented and appealing enough, but their characters and their sketchy back-stories too seldom escape the cartoonish…As a musical score, it lacks cohesion, mostly sounding like inferior versions of numbers you've heard before in more thoughtfully crafted shows." Full Review

35
Lighting & Sound America

"The emotional payoff is nil, because the songs neither illuminate the characters nor help explain why they should be allowed to live...'Ride the Cyclone' looks and sounds much better than it is, thanks to Rachel Rockwell's direction and choreography and a top-flight cast of fresh faces...Still, it's hard to get away from the idea that 'Ride the Cyclone' is little more than a batch of random songs strung together by way of a forced, silly narrative concept." Full Review

35
The Wrap

"The various confessions are pretty much what you’d expect from a bunch of 17-year-olds, and since the show is structured around these stories, you’ll probably be checking your watch when the second teenager, named Noel, reveals his fascination with Marlene Dietrich in ‘The Blue Angel’ but for some reason impersonates a French chanteuse from post-World War II for his big number, complete with accordion." Full Review

30
Talkin' Broadway

"As glorious as the visual experience is, it becomes increasingly empty, if not outright pointless, the longer ‘Ride the Cyclone’ plods on. And, despite running a mere 100 intermissionless minutes, it feels as though it runs through the myriad eternities the production predicts, and then some. This is in part because, despite its appearance, there's not a lot original about what transpires…Think of it as Kurt Weill's ‘A Chorus Line,’ if Weill had no taste or common sense." Full Review

30
Village Voice

"Maxwell, Richmond, and their director-choreographer, Rachel Rockwell, feel no need for the show's elements to be weighed down by coherence or sense…Unhappily, the creative team has been so busy gilding each of these numbers with maximum pizzazz that they forgot to give them either any distinction or any grounding in reality...If the authors had put any effort into making you care, for even a few minutes, about their characters, this might have been a good show." Full Review


100
Funny, Absorbing, Must see, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You're ok with an offbeat/dark view of things. You like a wide variety of musical styles. You want to see a fresh voice.

Don't see it if You are overly disturbed by death or macabre humor; otherwise it's just brilliant

100
Must see, Refreshing, Great writing, Hilarious, Great singing

See it if you enjoy dark, but humorous stories along with great dancing and singing.

Don't see it if you don't like stories revolving around young people/teenagers.

Also I was pleasantly surprised with everything in this show. The script an... Read more Read less

99
Clever, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You love creative great musicals that have a strong subtext and playful text and bring together singing staging and magical flight.

Don't see it if you thought 'Whale of Tail' was a great musical - remember it closed during the preview end of 1st act intermission. Next survivors group ..

Also Cyclone evokes for me Rocky Horror Show and Into the Woods. It is clev... Read more Read less

98
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if AMAZING show from start to finish. The musical numbers are extremely funny and evolve into something touching towards the end.

Don't see it if This show is quirky and not for everyone. Not a good shows for those expecting a conventional musical show.

95
Clever, Great acting, Refreshing, Relevant, Hilarious

See it if you want to see a wonderful piece of new theater with lots of new talent and a wonderfully hilarious and heart breaking storyline

Don't see it if N/A. Definitely see it if you can, it's absolutely remarkable.

95
Thought-provoking, Must see, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want a great night of theater with super performances by all and things to ponder after it's over.

Don't see it if If you want more conventional theater experiences.

95
Delightful, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want to c an absolutely wonderful new musical! Fun fun fun & SO well done. Energetic, creative & imaginative. Talented cast & production

Don't see it if You r looking for something serious or predictable. This musical constantly had my friend & I saying "Wow!". Amazing set & use of technology

93
Funny, Dark, Enchanting, Quirky, Great writing

See it if you're in the mood for something fresh, dark, witty, and - let's face it, a ride unlike anything else you've ever seen.

Don't see it if ..honestly, I think this show should be seen by as many people as possible. You may not love it, but its so unique that it deserves a chance

Also I loved this show - one of the best theater pieces I've ever seen. It ... Read more Read less

93
Clever, Quirky, Great singing, Great staging, Unique

See it if Unique, dark/funny musical about the death of 6 teenagers set in a decayed amusement park. Fantastic! You won't see anything else like this.

Don't see it if The theme of death or the creepy carnival set would bother you. Each actor was great & had a moment to shine. Great set & special effects.

Also I loved the Zoltar-type carnival fortune teller machine as narrator. S... Read more Read less

92
Funny, Delightful, Refreshing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want to see a dark but very humorous show with amazing production values. It's quirky and very fun with a score full of hits.

Don't see it if You already have a fear of roller-coasters. Otherwise I do not have much to say bad about it!

92
Clever, Great perfrmances, quirky sense of humor

See it if If you like great singing, if you like fantasies of what it will be ike in the afterlife, To see special effects far beyond most off-Bdwy

Don't see it if you have no sense of humor, no stitch of sentimentality, and don't appreciate a novel musical.

91
Funny, Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoyed hanging out in the Village in your youth and want to relive an experience like "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom."

Don't see it if you never enjoyed going off the tracks. Avoid this show if you do not like something a bit bizarre or novel.

Also This is a fun, funny show with wonderful actors. The projections and t... Read more Read less

91
Clever, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want great singing in various musical styles, a variety of quirky fantasy scenes , & would find a different & bizarre musical fun

Don't see it if you need more of a story line - the 6 students tell their different stories (their lives & dreams) in solos; or if bothered by carnivals

Also While the story starts with 6 teenagers killed in a roller coaster acc... Read more Read less

91
Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if The show is clever, witty, with catchy songs. I really enjoyed it. The humor is very Canadian!

Don't see it if I appreciate that the show is pretty derivative, but that didn't bother me.

91
Original, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You are looking for a really original show with quirky characters that you can't help but love. Great mix of comedy, drama and heart.

Don't see it if You prefer traditional musicals and storylines or don't like shows that rely on special effects and projections, although they are used well

Also This show reminded me of a darkly comic version of The 25th Annual Put... Read more Read less

90
Funny, Masterful, Great music, Wonderful, Imaginative

See it if a funny, life affirming, feel good musical

Don't see it if dislike death as a theme

90
Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you enjoy clever staging, enjoy shows where each character's personality is highlighted, can appreciate varied types of music and subjects.

Don't see it if you want to see a traditional musical, expect a lot of belly laughs, want to see a show where there is a lot of change within each character

Also I really enjoyed the staging of the show! It was very well done and th... Read more Read less

90
Ambitious, Clever, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to see an original show with a great set, complex technical aspects, and great musical numbers from a first rate cast.

Don't see it if You only like Disney musicals.

90
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you like "outside the box" theatrical musicals. Very quirky but extremely well-crafted and performed. It's both surreal and heartfelt.

Don't see it if you want a traditional, staid musical that isn't weird or slightly disturbing.

89
Must see, Quirky, Refreshing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You're ready for something new. It's hard to compare, but it's a TON of fun and not taking itself too seriously. Quirky in all the best ways

Don't see it if You like tradition - in every way shape or form, this show doesn't follow a classical musical story line (that's what makes it so much fun!)

88
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like quirky, insightful shows.

Don't see it if you want something more straightforward of flashy.

88
Funny, Clever, Quirky, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a musical with a bit of a unique feel. RIDE THE CYCLONE was a ton of fun (and a bit morbid).

Don't see it if you don't want to see something that's a bit morbid.

88
Funny, Dizzying, Quirky, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if a campy musical romp through a vortex of teenage angst, macabre horror flicks, amusement parks and drag cabaret is your thing.

Don't see it if you like your musicals on the straight and narrow.

88
Funny, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy something left of center. This show is fresh and quirky with terrific performances and sets, lighting, projection, and costumes.

Don't see it if you prefer something more traditional. Go see Holiday Inn. You'll love it.

88
Creative, Offbeat, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like quirky, offbeat musicals and dark comedies in an intimate space with fun staging and a variety of musical styles.

Don't see it if you want a highly polished, traditional story.


Cast & Creatives (23)