Already closed | 1h 25m | Midtown W


From 65 member  reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Entertaining, Dated, Relevant

About the show

Encores! revives the late Elizabeth Swados' musical about the lives and challenges of runaway children. More…

In 1977, Elizabeth Swados spent several months observing and interviewing teen runaways before shaping their stories, fears, and fantasies into a musical. A deeply unconventional work in its day, 'Runaways' feels like the funkiest, most heartbreaking mixtape ever to come out of a 1970s boom box, packed with reggae anthems, hip-hop, soul-food lullabies, and spoken-word poetry. Cast largely with NYC students, this production of 'Runaways' honors the crowning achievement of a theater visionary who was ferocious, inspiring, and left us far too soon. Part of Encores! Off-Center season.

Member Reviews (65)


Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Entertaining, Dated, Relevant
Avg Score

Dated, Intense, Uncomfortable, Energetic, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy young talent. Many can sing, some can act. They're having fun, despite the dark material. Songs in many styles; some work.

Don't see it if you want a plot or enlightenment (as in insight into runaways' plight). The marriage of a musical and very dark material doesn't work.

Great music, Nostalgic, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if Hair & Chorus Line had a baby and that teenager ran away with the Partridge family. It was fun 90min. Full of heart & recognizable melodies.

Don't see it if You need a plot & don't appreciate vignettes strung together to form something of a whole.

Entertaining, Relevant, Resonant, Great music, Energetic

See it if You want to hear great music performed by a talented young cast. It's entertaining and the subject matter is relevant and has heart.

Don't see it if You need a strong story or character development. In the style of Hair, vignettes w/ common theme but no through storyline.

Nice tribute to recently-passed elizabeth swados in depicting desperation and fire of youth who end up on the street

See it if you appreciate high-energy musical portrayal of angst of youth, abandoned by parents, performed with passion

Don't see it if /since like Hair but w/o strong plot, like Chorus Line but w/o memorable songs/dancing, like Spring Awakening but w/o signature moments

Dated, Cliched, Disappointing, Overrated, Banal

See it if you are interested in seeing how a once-popular musical has aged—and not for the better. Also, if you enjoy seeing an exuberant cast.

Don't see it if you like hearing the lyrics of a song (sound design is awful). Also, if you like shows with character development—this musical has none.

Thought-provoking, Talented kids

See it if you like politically motivated musicals that deal with serious social issues and you like to see a talented ensemble of young performers

Don't see it if you were hoping for a full-scale production or polished performances. This is a very raw production.

Ambitious, Dated, Disappointing, Edgy, Overrated

See it if you lived through the 70's when this subject was part of NYC street lore.

Don't see it if you are looking for an uplifting musical. This is not the show for you. More depressing than the 1978 production.

Refreshing, Energetic, Strong performances

See it if A high energy evocation of the 1970s and the stories of homeless runaway teens.

Don't see it if You want a solely linear storyline.

Ambitious, Dated, Dizzying, Great singing

See it if you want to see young performers really shine. I appreciated this more than loved it and recognize how groundbreaking it must have been.

Don't see it if you want a more traditional, plot-driven show,

Dated, Great acting, Edgy, Quirky, Great singing

See it if You want to see a significant work of late 1970s era musical theater expertly performed by a very talented teen aged cast.

Don't see it if You require a linear storyline to enjoy a show.

Resonant, Original, Intense, Historically important

See it if you missed the original, want to see a much better musical and pre-cursor to Rent, appreciate emotionally challenging content, like teens.

Don't see it if you want an easy, fluffy musical experience.

Original, Entertaining, Great music & performances

See it if enjoy watching a wonderfully talented young cast perform in a concert like setting.

Don't see it if you are looking for plot driven story.

Cliched, Dated, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy shows about teenage angst, a large cast, and high energy

Don't see it if you care about plot, character development or memorable songs that stick with you

Relevant, Refreshing, Original, Entertaining

See it if Don't care about plot, like Swados' music, want to recapture the late 70's, like teenagers performing

Don't see it if Want a plot or elaborate staging

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a talented young cast.

Don't see it if you are looking for a strong plot line. It's more of a song cycle or a series of vignettes.

Confusing, Dated

See it if you like a strong ensemble show with high energy performances

Don't see it if you want a linear plot, or any sort of plot at all. This is more a collection of songs and monologues.

Ambitious, Delightful, Dated, Edgy, Thought-provoking

See it if Care about outliers. And like history

Don't see it if You don't like teens

Dated, Cliched, Disappointing, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You don't mind uneven talent, hard to understand lyrics, chaotic staging.

Don't see it if You want to see a fantastic show. It didn't do much for me. Two or three numbers were great. Several very talented kids.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Quirky, Relevant, Muddled

See it if a short run of a way-too-unheralded musical from a distinctive writer with an up-n-coming cast & director is enuf to make you leave yr home.

Don't see it if you want a story & characters you can follow. I wish the talented performers had more edge but given the 2 wk prep, they're all impressive.

Ambitious, Dated, Great singing, Intelligent, Profound

See it if you want to further familiarize yourself with the work of Liz Swados, and/or witness some amazing kid talent

Don't see it if You want adults as your protagonists

Absorbing, Great writing, Intelligent, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if you have a sense of musical theatre history. And if you love the specific energy and kids and teens. And if you like creative storytelling.

Don't see it if I can't think of a single reason not to. It's amazing that we are getting to see a full product of this ground breaking show.

Riveting, Energetic, Ebullient, Festive, Heartfelt

See it if You love raucous, passionate theatre. This was a production for the ages - incredible, talented young performers.

Don't see it if You need a traditional, old-school musical to make you happy. Or if you don't like "Hair" (lot of similarities).

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Cliched

See it if you love musical theater and missed previous productions.

Don't see it if you enjoy character development and plot. Just because it's based on real life doesn't make it real or engaging. Don't like cliches? Skip it

Banal, Cliched, Overrated, Insipid, Indulgent

See it if You want to see something way overpraised originally. Hair ripoff. Music doesn't match lyrics emotionally nor does choreography.

Don't see it if Can't stand actors with no emotional connection to what they're performing. Staging & choreography that doesn't bring out material's soul

Delightful, Ambitious, Great writing, Upsetting, Great singing

See it if you love hair and diverse, amazing, casts

Don't see it if You need a strong plot in your musicals

July 7th, 2016
“This blast of undiluted teen spirit is guaranteed to leave you feeling windblown, hyped up and ready to race through the most torpid summer night...While Mr. Pinkleton allows each cast member to emerge as an individual, he also knows that his performing team’s strength is in its union...The show...
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July 7th, 2016
"Some of the segments are weak, and too many of them follow a predictable arc...There is relief in the boisterous, full-cast uptempo numbers...Though the events related in the stories have the ring of sad authenticity about them, the casting of young actors to tell them sometimes does not...This ...
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July 7th, 2016
"The musical holds up surprisingly well even in this gentrified presentation...The stirring score is still the best thing about 'Runaways'...For all the energy harnessed in the lively staging, the show never feels as profound as it was intended to be. It mainly comes across as a period piece...Th...
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July 7th, 2016
“Somehow, ‘Runaways’ is not depressing, which it could have been in lesser hands. In fact, it’s enthralling - a fast and furious, poignant and disturbing 80 minutes. The pop-oriented songs are also pretty memorable...The production is directed by Sam Pinkleton with the utmost simplicity...Choreog...
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