Mama Sid is a modern-day “awakened one” with a worldwide following. But a determined young woman seeks to unearth Mama Sid’s mysterious past, exposing secrets that could change everything. Epic and intimate, comic and profound, 'The Fourth Messenger' investigates what it means to be both enlightened and human. An official selection of the 2017 New York Musical Festival Next Link Project.
"I absolutely loved 'The Fourth Messenger' despite its flaws, which is that we know the ending from the very beginning...The music of Vienna Teng’s Broadway, eclectic, jazz, folk-rock mantra-infused score is simplistic and driving all in the same breath. Tanya Shaffer’s rewriting of the Buddha story is inspired and accessible. Her lyrics speak to the mysteries of the heart...This show has a polished clean look that is well thought out...This show focuses on two stellar performances." Full Review
"A work of wit, grace, and yes, enlightenment...Telling this story requires worldliness as well as soulfulness; miraculously, the cast, crew, and creators of 'The Fourth Messenger' pull it off. Teng's harmonious music balances her and Shaffer's punchy lyrics...Nancy Anderson shines as a figure at once enlightened and flawed...While 'The Fourth Messenger' isn't perfect, it is human, and that's good enough." Full Review
"The unfolding of the relationship is engaging and quite interesting and Anderson and Mounts scrape away at each other’s layers of deception and denial with consummate skill and unencumbered grace...Shaffer's book and lyrics and Teng’s music offer a compelling story of 'redemption and release'...Under August’s skillful direction, the members of the cast deliver compelling performances. Malotke’s choreography is serviceable...Worth the visit." Full Review
"There’s a lot to love here–which makes it almost more frustrating. Because with a tweak or two, 'The Fourth Messenger' could be outstanding...The weakness of the plot and character development right at the outset had me fighting what I was watching instead of accepting it. Which was actually a shame because I loved the music and lyrics...And I was extremely impressed with the performances by Nancy Anderson as Mama Sid and Samia Mounts as Raina." Full Review
"Intriguing and well-produced...The big revelation definitely took me by surprise, but doesn’t pass the plausibility test. If the twist makes the plot less sturdy than its themes, the musical is very nearly redeemed by its numbers. Director August and choreographer Malotke put the show’s talented cast to good use, and musical director Lozano makes the most of Teng’s music...There is enough beauty here that my hope is ‘The Fourth Messenger’ lives on past the NYMF–after extensive rewrites." Full Review
"Anderson’s performance is the highlight...Unfortunately, Matt August’s staging and Ms. Shaffer’s book and lyrics are less evocative and less witty than they need to be—Ms. Shaffer flirts with satire in some of the retreat scenes, only to hastily pull back. Ms. Teng, a singer-songwriter of standing who also contributed lyrics, fares better with the music, even if Sid gets all the best songs." Full Review
See it if You want to support a new musical theater voice that's pretty well developed and a storyline that has surprising resonance.
Don't see it if New age and/or Buddhism turn you off.
See it if you like complex depictions of family and spirituality. There are some outstanding musical numbers and truly emotional scenes.
Don't see it if you prefer a tight narrative with a well-balanced story arc. The second act was much better than the first.
See it if you want to see a contemporary take on an ancient legend. The story is interesting fo follow. Strong female lead singer.
Don't see it if you are not interested in somewhat cheesy "follow your calling no matter what" stories. Otherwise solid music and singing.
See it if You enjoy musicals with new-age themes. Great cast, band, music.
Don't see it if storyline changed from debunking a new age guru to finding a family member. Didn't find the family search as interesting.
See it if You wonder what a contemporary female Buddha would be like. Some of the scenes are funny and smart. I liked the music.
Don't see it if Uneven pacing is bothersome, and the ending was predictable. Was she Buddha or as flawed as us? Can we be both? Unsatisfying answers.
See it if you're drawn to a thoughtful, imaginative musical w/ smart book, lyrics and music performed by a very competent cast.
Don't see it if you expect a big, polished musical w/ elaborate staging and costumes. Nor if your idea of a musical includes dance as well as music.
See it if you want some great performances in a show that's engaging and beautiful at times. If you can forgive some moments that don't quite work.
Don't see it if you're not forgiving of material that is uneven. If you're only interested in seeing something that's fully baked.
See it if you research Buddha & the Four Messengers on Wikipedia before you go. That will help you understand what this show aims to be about.
Don't see it if you expect a clear and intelligible narrative and memorable tunes. This show needs to slow down and tell its story simply. Too much noise!
See it if You're looking to challenge yourself, be transported, go on a journey of the mind and spirit (for real - I promise I'm not w/ the crew!)
Don't see it if You're looking for lighthearted faire, are a strict stickler for book plausibility (see below), value diversity in casting (see below)
See it if good story line and an unexpected twist. fabulous acting and singing from all members of cast. nancy Anderson as Mama sid fabulous.
Don't see it if dont' see it if you aren't open to some Eastern thought and in depth family drama.
See it if You like thought-provoking drama about identity and family. Great, complex songs and wonderful acting!
Don't see it if You're easily lost about plot and non-linear story-telling.