"You cannot fault the York Theater Company’s rich new production, a one-act reimagining that looks absolutely royal in the intimate Theater at St. Peter’s: Splendid 18th-century men’s costumes, low-key yet opulent scenic design, assertively nuanced lighting...Jeffrey B. Moss’s direction does find the humor wherever it lurks...Most of the songs are only pretty. Maybe it’s too much to expect another 'Sunrise, Sunset' or 'If I Were a Rich Man,' but what’s a musical for?" Full Review
"Once the complications of the plot take over there's little room left for family emotions. Crampton is an accomplished singer/actor whose role becomes regulated to reminding the men to appreciate modest achievements and while there is genuine excitement when Mayer and his boys roar with gusto as they sing of their ambition and confidence, 'Rothschild & Sons' is that rare Bock and Harnick musical that never seems to find its heart." Full Review
"With a restructured book, several previously unheard Bock and Harnick trunk songs, and only 11 cast members, this almost-new musical is a puzzlement to say the least...Mayer's journey is a moving one, and in Cuccioli's expert hands, it's laden with real emotion. His performance is one of the few highlights of this otherwise misguided production, with a staging that baffles at every turn." Full Review
"The York Theatre Company has rolled up their sleeves and -- with great care and determination -- made a 'new' musical out of 'The Rothschilds.' This severely cut-down version brings what had been an overstuffed and overloaded opus back to the stage, and allows the material to shine brightly in places. It should prove highly popular. It does not, though, solve the show's myriad problems." Full Review
"I can understand how Harnick and Yellen (Bock is no longer with us) would want to find a viable version of 'The Rothschilds' for future productions. But I would respectfully submit that, if, after seven years, this is the result, then it may be time to move on. The best way of enjoying this material still involves listening to the original cast album, where the score's many beauties are presented in all their glory." Full Review
"Even a smoothly professional production can’t hide the doldrums that eventually set in with a disappointingly bland score that reveals little of the emotional or humorous impact of 'Fiddler,' and whose sole familiar number, the power ballad 'In My Own Lifetime,' needs new batteries. With a script that eliminates romance and, except in bits and drabs, comedy, this is a show that even Mayer Rothschild might have considered flat, stale, and, worst of all, unprofitable." Full Review
"There’s something extremely effective about its major thrust...'Rothschild & Sons' works best when Mayer’s boys fan out across the continent. The earlier scenes in which Mayer courts Gutele and waits and watches as his offspring grow, by contrast, are halting and clumsy. The first third of 'Rothschild & Sons' impresses as a prolonged wait for the substantial drama to come." Full Review
"'Rothschild & Sons' is so much on a mission as to be tedious...A tale told rather baldly and repetitively, and so tediously...When a show isn’t working, it can only seem long. At 1 hour and 50 minutes with no intermission this one fit that bill." Full Review
"The contents will enlighten, give pride and unsettle the Jewish people who watch this. It is a must for those who do not know this history...This show is moving and heartwarming...Go to the York Theatre, you will not be disappointed." Full Review
"'Rothschild & Sons' does indeed offer a refreshing new look at this show's best features: its many sparkling period flavored songs with their narrative pushing lyrics, and the smart compression of that narrative…The shift in emphasis as well as the scaled-down staging work well with a tightly focused intermissionless format….Robert Cuccioli brings his operatic voice and plenty of emotional heat to the role of the pater familias." Full Review
"The show is a powerful study of anti-Semitism in Europe at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century and the desire of the Rothschild family to break down both the walls of poverty and those of prejudice. While the new adaptation performed in one act is both engrossing and admirable, it may not be the definitive final version as it is devoid of humor, a necessary ingredient to make a musical popular." Full Review
"An astonishing story… As a one act, it’s a bit long…Director Jeffrey B. Moss moves his characters like a painter, creating scenarios that reflect character, incident, and emotion…Robert Cuccioli is simply wonderful as Mayer...'Rothschild & Sons' is vigorous, illuminating, fascinating, and moving. It’s clear the musical was and is a labor of love. Rarely does one see hearts so blatantly worn on creative sleeves." Full Review
"The adaptation makes sense with honing the show into the new approach, and the musical acquires more dramatic focus and eliminates some of the less potent threads...Robert Cuccioli is vibrant and impressive as Meyer Rothschild, head of the family. Leading a strong cast interpreting the revamped musical, Cuccioli brings acting and singing power to the role. The total effect is to make one appreciate anew the special quality of the work." Full Review
"Jeffrey B. Moss guides the production trying to infuse as much life as he can....The production is filled with historical value, pathos, heart and some new musical numbers. However, it’s still an old tale that has lost its power and feels worn-out." Full Review
"It’s clear that the authors have always been attracted to this material, and one can understand their desire to return to something they love with a fresh view, but I regret that in my opinion, though it would seem to be more appealing to regional theatres because of its loss of weight, I can only wish them well in finding a new life for it with this version." Full Review
"An impressive production, which seemingly builds on the strengths of the original without, however, overcoming its weak points and the perhaps unavoidable problems of attempting an epic story on an Off-Broadway budget...Where the show falls down is in the music. Even with the occasional use of infectious ethnic rhythms and the unfailingly strong singing by the company, it often seems flat and uninspired." Full Review
"'Rothschild and Sons' feels forced and as well intended as it is, it doesn’t ever seem to get off the ground. Some projects are worthy of revival but this piece will only appeal to true musical enthusiasts seeking a glimpse of theatre history." Full Review
"I like the sharpened focus of 'Rothschild & Sons,' but I miss 'The Rothschilds' physical elaborateness, and several of the songs. It’s a trade-off—the story’s tighter, but there’s less to look at, and less to listen to. JAY Records will be releasing a cast album, and for the additional Bock-Harnick, I’ll certainly want it. But the original Broadway cast album will probably still get more play." Full Review
"Does it work? No. And yes....The core of the show remains solid. The rise of the Rothschilds remains amazing; the score remains excellent. Very few changes could well solve most of the problems. Unfortunately, the current production at the York Theatre is poorly directed by Jeffrey B. Moss with awkward pacing, a lack of focus, and acceptance of some truly awful overacting." Full Review
"It features some lovely songs and a single-minded, inelegant script that moves with all the subtlety of a load of gold bullion. It is ploddingly, sloppily directed by Jeffrey B. Moss, with performances in a range of accents and scenes in a range of tones. On the evidence, it would make for an excellent Hebrew school history pageant." Full Review
"This strong newly minted production directed lethargically by a misguided Jeffrey B. Moss, benefits mostly because spectators are treated with plentiful previously unreleased before-heard trunk songs and revised tunes from the Bock & Harnick catalogue, all of which hold up today...While the first twenty minutes drag on, when we finally settle in, gravitas and ethos hit hard." Full Review
"The cast and crew created the world of the show with great historic knowledge and attention focused on the important details of every costume, set, prop, and in how it was all lit. A show well worth seeing for the talent in the production, as well as for the history lesson to be learned on the Rothschild family. A very strong and impressive cast all-around, and an equally talented creative team." Full Review
"An intimate one-act reimagining of the nine-time Tony-nominated musical 'The Rothschilds...' The new version of the musical, fiercely directed by Jeffrey B Moss, follows the Rothschilds' fight for human rights as they struggle against immensely challenging circumstances." Full Review
"At nearly two hours, the show could frankly benefit from a break, but in its present form, under the direction of Jeffrey B. Moss, it’s never less than absorbing...For all the care that has been lavished on this resurrection, it can’t be said the story is an intrinsically engaging as 'Fiddler,' nor are the songs anywhere near as memorable. Still, Bock and Harnick were an outstanding team, and this is quality material." Full Review
See it if you love Harnick & Bock and never saw the original R&S (I did!) This re-imaging failed, but some songs are good, as was RC in the lead.
Don't see it if you want a satisfying theater outing. This felt off. Usually York does better. The stage was too small, the script's cuts too deep. Awkward.
See it if You always wanted to see this show. It's an abbreviated version of the original Broadway show, but it's not revived often.
Don't see it if you know how great the show was or could be. This was disappointing, confusing, and despite best efforts a real dud.
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