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Spoon River

From 89 member  reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Clever, Great staging, Delightful

About the show

Canada's Soulpepper Theatre Company presents a musical adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters' 'Spoon River Anthology.' More…

'Spoon River' is an immersive, life-affirming graveyard musical. In a suspended moment during the burial of one who died too young, the dead come forth and share the unfiltered truth of their small-town existence. 'Spoon River' was named Best Musical by both the Dora Awards (Canada's Tonys) and the Toronto Critics Association. Part of the Soulpepper on 42nd Street festival.


Member Reviews (89)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great singing, Entertaining, Clever, Great staging, Delightful
82
Avg Score

75
Enchanting, Clever, Funny, Tuneful, Spirited

See it if All-in-fun spookiness as graveyard spirits recount humorous stories from their lives. Good musicianship.

Don't see it if You are looking for something more dramatic or meaningful. This is a series of disconnected vignettes.

79
Ambitious, Great singing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Clever

See it if you're a fan of the Masters work, you like ensembles that can bring to life a multitude of characters and a broad range of music, esp. folk

Don't see it if you wouldn't like a story told by town residents from their graves, you have a hard time being able to hear sung lyrics

83
Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Quirky, Delightful

See it if you enjoy a character-driven ensemble piece, and don't mind that there is no narrative (but there IS good music).

Don't see it if the lack of a narrative bothers you. Without one, I tended to tune in and out as different characters told their stories.

Also Did you like Come from Away? You may like this. Both are Canadian prod... Read more Read less

89
Inventive, Rousing, Ambitious, Enchanting, Great singing

See it if you are a fan of Masters's poems. This production adds a delicious score and stellar performances. Amazing choral work. Viva Soulpepper!!

Don't see it if you don't like musicals or inventive theatre. You can't deal with vignettes or a linear story

Also I have enjoyed Soulpepper's productions this summer—with a few more to... Read more Read less

90
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if You like a mix of folk, Appalachia, gospel, and rhythmic, stage-shaking percussion.

Don't see it if If you don’t like poetry. The script is based on poems so the “dialogue” sounds more affected than in a naturalistic play.

Also If you liked O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the musical mix, aesthetic, a... Read more Read less

85
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if a musical that takes place in a graveyard & is a series of vignettes where those buried there sing or talk about their previous lives

Don't see it if you need a narrative, don't want actors playing multiple roles including playing instruments, don't want a musical staged in a graveyard

Also It is life-affirming despite its setting. That is one of its similarit... Read more Read less

70
Ambitious, Disjointed, Theme based as opposed to plot, Disappointing

See it if You like blue grass music, - short vignettes or songs about life and death, without a plot to move the story. A la "Cats" w/o choreo &story

Don't see it if Like me, you prefer a plot based experience. I was bored, didn't find anything profound, & didn't have time to get invested in characters.

90
Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if You want to see poignant character studies interspersed with foot stomping music

Don't see it if You insist on traditional linear plots

90
Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Refreshing, Masterful

See it if You enjoy story telling in small clever vignettes. The songs are soulful and beautiful. This is an enjoyable evening out.

Don't see it if You want a full out Broadway musical. This was quiet and moving.

Also Soulpepper has delighted me with its multi-talented performers and uni... Read more Read less

74
Entertaining, Great singing, Slow

See it if Enjoy poems set to music

Don't see it if Want a traditional musical

69
Disappointing, Slow

See it if you are curious about how the story unfolds, like talented singer/instrumentalists and have patience with a repetitive script

Don't see it if you are looking for insight into the stories of the individuals portrayed, want a varied musical experience

Also Worth the night just to hear Jackie Richardson - a profoundly talented... Read more Read less

55
Banal, Cliched, Indulgent, Slow, Lacking drama

See it if You want to see a folk infused song cycle with combined with cliched narratives.

Don't see it if You are looking for engaging drama.

86
Ambitious, Intense, Great singing, Resonant

See it if you enjoy bluegrass music, outstanding singers, and a complex, moving story about life and death.

Don't see it if you're looking for a big, showy musical. This show has heart but you need to look past the imperfections to truly appreciate it.

86
Great singing, Must see, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if You like great singing, lively music, with good very short stories.

Don't see it if You don't appreciate good music.

85
Absorbing, Enchanting, Great singing, Great staging, Profound

See it if You enjoy bluegrass-style musical interludes interspersed with stories, and enjoy being transported. It's a period piece, early 20th century

Don't see it if You prefer a linear storyline and full character arcs. This is anecdotal, and characters are introduced but not connected, vignette-style.

100
Clever, Great singing, Great staging, Great writing, Must see

See it if One of the best original performances.. a real treat.

Don't see it if You are a boring person

75
Clever, Quirky, Great singing, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you like morbid sweetness & classic country music. The onstage musicianship is a powerful component. The music & lyrics are a joy.

Don't see it if you want a plot. This is a compilation of short vignettes. It has moments that drag, but overall, it's a well paced, fun musical about death

89
Absorbing, Clever, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you love great music, fun story telling but without a great deal of narrative

Don't see it if you want your musicals big, sweeping, and with one solid narrative.

78
Entertaining, Fluffy, Cute

See it if This is 90 minutes of 'hootenanny' type music. Short vignettes - some of which are cute.

Don't see it if you are looking for a true musical or anything thought-provoking.

90
Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy a brilliant interpretation of a famous novel

Don't see it if If you'd rather read it than see it

88
Great acting, Great direction, Loved it!, Masterful, Absorbing

See it if you want a great production of a classic show. The immersive entrance to the theater was fun & set the mood. I loved it all.

Don't see it if you want something light and fluffy. It's very entertaining with a talented ensemble cast.

75
Enchanting, Great singing, Great staging, Romantic, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy short stories on an array of characters, told by wonderful performers. You enjoy brief but rich glimpses into historical lives.

Don't see it if You prefer one strong thread of narrative instead of separate individuals' stories.

Also Beautiful, clever staging (including an immersive element at the begin... Read more Read less

76
Great staging, Great singing, Intelligent, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You love a great cast of talented performers and feel good musicals.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy musicals with fluff.

68
Entertaining, Energetic, Great folksy music & singing, Great sense of humor, Disappointing

See it if you like folksy music/song. You want lively entertainment that isn't too serious or challenging.

Don't see it if you don't like folksy music. You want a linear storyline, a drama, or 1-2 main characters to focus on (it's an ensemble show).

Also SPOON RIVER is ambitious in its breadth. Set in a small town cemetery ... Read more Read less

50
Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated, Slow

See it if You want to see some decent music with a very boring story filled with stereotypes

Don't see it if You want to see a play that makes you think


July 16th, 2017
"A kind of all-souls hootenanny...'Spoon River' is a feel-good show, a memento mori only in that it encourages its audiences to gather their rosebuds while they may. What’s most impressive here is the diversity of Mr. Ross’s songs and Mr. Schultz’s staging, and the ingenuity with which they match...
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July 11th, 2017
"Composer Mike Ross has set several of Masters’s poems to rollicking, foot-stomping tunes...Adapters Albert Schultz (who also directs) and Ross have selected a sweet bouquet from the anthology’s 244 poems...In a universally strong cast, a few performers match their material so perfectly it’s near...
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July 20th, 2017
"A mash-up of tone poem and folk opera...Although there’s almost no interaction among the singing corpses, a portrait – complex, rich and varied as life – does emerge. Credit for this goes not only to the ingenious staging but to an exceptionally talented roster of actors, at once united and vari...
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July 12th, 2017
"All of the stories are set to Ross's mostly foot-stomping, toe-tapping lively score, filled with the sounds of American folk music, Appalachian bluegrass, New Orleans funeral parades, and gospel. The uniformly strong cast not only sing and tell their stories but also perform splendidly on fiddle...
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