From New York to Paris, from ragtime to jazz, an ensemble of actor-musicians chronicles the story of America's first women soldiers in a new musical by Prospect Theater Company. More…
These intrepid heroines served as bilingual telephone operators on the front lines, helping turn the tide of World War I. They then returned home to fight a decades-long battle for equality and recognition, paving the way for future generations. "The Hello Girls" celebrates the centennial of these groundbreaking women.
“One of the most intelligent, musically superb, well-directed musicals...Reichel has directed this piece with a flourish. All but one of her cast is the orchestra and unlike the John Doyle musicals, here these musicians are just as adept at playing, acting, singing and dancing...The show seems seamless...The script is not dumbed down...A show filled with memorable songs, lush underscoring and rich orchestrations...The cast is a phenomenon.” Full Review
“Don't miss it...This new musical has everything going for it, a fascinating historical story, great music, an exceptional cast, and the finest staging...It features splendid direction...This troupe captures the musical's moving story of heroism...The compelling score...draws from many musical genres including blues and jazz...’The Hello Girls’ is a distinctive portrayal of the strength and fortitude of women...This entertaining, influential show will have a long life in the realm of musical ... Full Review
“Prospect Theater Company’s striking new production...one of the best new musicals I’ve seen Off-Broadway...Smartly-crafted songs and crisp and inventive numbers. The clever lyrics are loaded with tight phrasing and sparkling rhymes. The music revels in rolling melodies, sweet harmonies, and the occasional unexpected dissonance...Actors doubling...honed to perfection. ‘The Hello Girls' is a winner on all fronts.” Full Review
“Wildly entertaining...Period appropriate numbers jauntily evoke the stylings of the Andrews Sisters alongside waltzes, ragtime and 1920s swing...Simultaneously lighthearted and informative, Reichel and Mills’ book fuses facts of the war with the women’s emotional journeys...’The Hello Girls’ highlights the many hypocrisies of the time...Engaging and educational, one wishes ‘The Hello Girls’ would play for a longer time on a bigger stage.” Full Review
"Filled with memorable songs and brilliant performances, it is a musical as triumphant as the true story on which it is based...Mills (who wrote the music and lyrics) has filled this action-packed war story with instant-classic songs...Director Reichel and Mills cowrote the book, which offers a surprisingly deep amount of historical perspective...There is nothing old-fashioned about Reichel's inventive staging, which holds the fields of France between two upright pianos." Full Review
“’The Hello Girls' turns this obscure slice of history into something tuneful and stirring...The story looks back 100 years, but its message of making connections – in every sense – and a difference is evergreen... Inspired by real people..The action follows these five ‘hello girls’...With its rich score, assured staging and polished performances, the show reaches out and touches upon heroism of everyday women.” Full Review
"A musically rich, beautifully staged, and vibrantly performed musical...Reichel has assembled a terrific cast to deliver vivid performances...Just about perfect first act...The second act does have some problems, mainly the insertion of a scene and character that distract from the tone of the overall story...But enough quibbling. 'The Hello Girls' is a first-class entertainment with strengths that far exceed any shortcomings." Full Review
"'The Hello Girls' is a historical musical which tells a little known story in a dramatic and compelling manner. Peter Mills' score is tuneful without breaking with its 1917-18 time period. Cara Reichel's expert direction and a talented cast bring the many colorful characters to life. Prospect Theater Company's production of 'The Hello Girls' deserves a longer life than this limited engagement Off Broadway run." Full Review
"The show has been crafted with unusual skill. The music by Peter Mills is varied and often catchy, his lyrics are intelligent and the songs are well-integrated into the ambitious book by Mills and Cara Reichel...The fluid direction by Prospect’s producing artistic director Cara Reichel is a great asset...There is so much to admire here that I hope some clever producer finds an off-Broadway house for the show after it closes December 22." Full Review
"Mills and Reichel have illuminated a shadowy event in history at a time when women are again asserting themselves. The authors do this in true storytelling fashion without polemics so we sympathize with and care about protagonists. Mills’ music and lyrics are varied, specific, and entertaining, deftly in service of both character and plot...Reichel’s Direction is lively, fluid, evocative of circumstance, and aesthetically pleasing...A terrific production of a really original musical." Full Review
“A very interesting and enlightening musical. It shines...on a group of historical women that most people know little or nothing about...Their story is fascinating and charmingly told...The cast members are all very talented and the songs are beautiful and fun...The story is very uplifting and inspiring...A good show for girls to see to show them that even back then women could make a difference...A good show for anyone to see so they can learn the story of these brave women.” Full Review
“Thoroughly entertaining...The musical takes a most serious context, the fate of the troops in the trenches of WWI, and tackles the still relevant issues of women's rights and equality. The play harvests an engaging, upbeat and energized performance...The entire cast...has spunk...The clarity of the performance is palpable...Destined for a bigger stage, ‘Hello Girls’ might give us more space between vocal numbers and dramatic arc.” Full Review
“A fascinating, stirring slice of early-twentieth-century women's history...Mills and Reichel tell their story with considerable verve...And without throwing any spurious, pro forma musical comedy romances into the mix, the authors depict the girls' growing friendships with their male colleagues and each other...Planting songs in just the right places and using them to strike exactly the right emotional notes...There are a few weaknesses here and there...But this is exhilarating entertainment.” Full Review
"A delightful tribute to the real-life women...What’s special about this production is that most of the cast members, in addition to providing affecting acting, play an assortment of musical instruments, and director Reich and choreographer Christine O’Grady keep the performers moving swiftly about the stage as the story unfolds...The musical numbers are catchy, and the lyrics are bright and intelligent...Winning performances and admirable creativity." Full Review
"A new musical exploding with grrrl power, female camaraderie and uplifting songs...Ten quadruple-threat performers play all the parts and most of the instruments...Although the horrors of war are acknowledged, they are rarely dwelled on...'The Hello Girls' is painted in broad, sometimes sentimental strokes, but it is undeniably inspirational. When the cynic in you has an urge to roll your eyes, you may find them filled with tears." Full Review
"Mills…provides 19 rousing, lyrically clever songs in a variety of modes from jazz to ragtime. Nearly every one works…Keeps reminding us of the chauvinistic obstacles the women had to overcome…'The Hello Girls' is good enough to warrant a commercial production; its chances would be even better with some smart trimming…Reichel's direction is perfection itself…Fishman's Grace is every inch the strong, independent leader the part requires, and she sings with assured authority." Full Review
"With a focus on the terrifying war and the active societal equalizing of women, it’s a clever amalgam of something historically pertinent and something contemporarily pertinent...They’re fighting their own battle within the larger battle—and occasionally with humor...Since Mills writes strong, fluid melodies and those keenly crafted lyrics, the anthems and others are consistently tonic...Here’s a golden opportunity to get up to speed on Peter Mills. I’d say it’s all but imperative." Full Review
"Ten talented actor-singer-musicians are filling the jam packed tiny stage...For Peter Mills’ lyrics are fresh and serve the story well, married to his music that is appealing and often more than that. As co-bookwriters he and Ms. Reichel have managed for the most part to deliver a very complicated story...There isn’t a weak link in the ten who fill the many roles...While the First Act is an unalloyed gem, in the shorter Act II there is a tendency to contrive situations that don’t always ... Full Review
"Act One moves briskly, set in short scenes leading to Europe with an energetic ensemble of four talented women, skilled instrumentalists and singers...The flowing music is not as evocative of the period as, for example, 'Ragtime,' but director/choreographer Cara Reichel adds lively dance steps to enhance the spirit of these intrepid women. Rather than relate solely to WWI, the music ranges forward into sounds of the 1920’s...The lyrics are notable, streetwise and conversational." Full Review
"They’re all terrific—not only excellent actors but wonderful singers, dancers, and story-tellers. Lianne Arnold’s evocative set and projection design, Christine O’Grady’s choreography, and Ben Moss’s musical direction make this a rousing and enjoyable piece of theater, at least if you don’t analyze it too deeply. As you probably suspect, my critique centers on the politics, not the stage work—the latter is absolutely stellar." Full Review
"All the performers are terrific especially Ellie Fishman as Grace Banker, leader of this band of sisters, who has great presence and a lovely voice...The music and lyrics by Peter Mills is often rousing, sometimes sentimental and just a little too repetitive although the intermingling of music and story is effective...Although there are arguments and misunderstandings between characters, the script lacks dramatic punch and its most powerful moment comes in the epilogue." Full Review
"This is an enjoyable evening of significant theater...It is difficult to create any tension or element of surprise which affects the dramatic arc since so much of what happens is predictable especially in the first act...Hopefully the creative team will continue to hone the piece to produce a more concentrated story eliminating any irrelevant or repetitious material. It is still worth a visit to see this current production performed by an extremely talented cast." Full Review
"For the first act 'The Hello Girls' is a rather thrilling thing — smart, human and sardonically feminist, with a lively ragtime-and-jazz score...Yet the freshness that’s so appealing in Act 1 dissipates in the bloated second act, which succumbs to sentimentality and broad-stroke cliché...We learn enough from the musical, which briefly sketches the women’s disgraceful treatment after the war, that it can’t get away with selling us a generically upbeat ending." Full Review
"'The Hello Girls' contains everything a musical needs: potentially interesting characters, conflict, drama, melody, diversion, and message. It’s impressive. And it’s frustrating...They have an important story to tell, but Mills and Reichel stint on the character points that would make us care sufficiently...They’re more conduits for plot progression than people...Mills’s music has its pleasures...Despite its well-turned score, it struggles to feel like more than a tutorial." Full Review
See it if you want to see an original musical. Endearing characters, great music and lyrics, great staging, and a perfect ensemble of actors.
Don't see it if Just see it...it is simply wonderful! This is a story that I knew nothing about, and it was told in a very entertaining and moving fashion.
See it if you love musicals with great music, singing, acting, staging and a story set in the past about women breaking barriers that resonates today.
Don't see it if you don't like original musicals that are set 100 years in the past during World War I, but that have themes that seem very modern.
See it if -- take your daughters, here is a story every young woman needs to know about, so moving and so beautifully performed. Amazing musicians !
Don't see it if There is no reason not to see it....unless, as another reviewer wrote, "unless you are dying," and even then, think about your last activity
See it if If you care about history, WW I, or how significant a group of women could be in difficult circumstances, this is for you. Bring your girls!
Don't see it if You may be tired of so many shows about women and their travails -- this is not that! This is a rarity, for sure.
See it if you like musicals and are happy when they succeed at what they are after....the subject is new here maybe--the form is not.
Don't see it if You want to see something "new"---there's a lot to love here and its executed flawlessly---but there's not much "new."
See it if you like talented casts, clever staging, an interesting story, and effective songs. This show is a delight. It really works. Really good.
Don't see it if you need elaborate sets and effects. Or if you are not interested in staging of historical events such as this. But it is well done so come!
See it if you appreciate well-written original scores, multi-talented actors, interesting historical stories, or feminist themes
Don't see it if you desire spectacle or splashy sets and choreography
See it if enjoy new musicals reminiscent of older ones. Megamusical in the making. More is more! More songs, lovable chars, uncynical belief in honor.
Don't see it if all your favorite musicals are post-Rent; you prefer rock/contemporary pop.
See it if Well produced musical about the women who enlisted during WW 1. Great story and excellent cast in this historical show.
Don't see it if If you are not interested in historical musicals.
See it if Want a story with a message that you could follow clearly Enjoy a small scale musical with talented performers Want to appreciate the histo
Don't see it if Need a giant orchestra Looking for a standard musical love story
See it if You want to see an original musical about real life events. You are interested in a show about women who made a difference.
Don't see it if You want a show with elaborate sets. You don't like musicals. You don't like shows centered around wars
See it if The entire cast is excellent, not only do they sing well but they also play the instruments The choreography is outstanding
Don't see it if you are looking for a full blown musical or are a misogynist
See it if You like shows with multi-talented casts - live music -cleverly staged production, interesting topic - women in WWI.
Don't see it if You don't like shows related to war, you only like large fancy bway productions.
See it if Great off broadway theater. Wounderful production. A product of women operators durning the war. Historically musical.
Don't see it if Don’t know why one shouldn’t give this show a try. Unless you don’t like shows of women & history.
See it if Strong cast of women wartime switchboarders band and bond. Original Peter Mills jazzy chambre musical. Lots to like on that small stage,
Don't see it if Character development could've been stronger with padded time of 2.5 hrs.This confection would've been perfect as an only elonged single act
See it if you want to see a musical that's tight and memorable. This one's going places.
Don't see it if you dislike historical themes and you don't like actors who also play instruments - they're amazing.
See it if Like reality-based stories, music that hits sweet spot, multi-talented cast who act, sing AND play instruments, enjoy little known history.
Don't see it if You don't like musicals or wartime stories, can't appreciate early feminist activism, want more of a set, don't like actors as orchestra.
See it if Interested in seeing a show based on a little known true WW1 story. Multitalented cast of actors/singers/musicians. Great orchestrations.
Don't see it if not interested in war stories, musicals. 2nd act too long. Might be improved with some trimming.
See it if A delightful retelling of little know role of women in WW2. Great singing and acting, great music, great costumes. Compelling and fun!
Don't see it if multiple storylines and clever casting--fun music are not your thing. Maybe don't like shows about women's history?
See it if musical based on a WWI event when the US Army was forced to call upon women for competence in the communications system on the front lines
Don't see it if don't want the actors also playing instruments (although they all do it excellently); want rock music rather than jazz-blues-ragtime;
See it if to learn about part of our history that most of us didn't know about. Multi-talented cast--actors sing and play instruments. Nice music.
Don't see it if you aren't interested in historically based plays. A bit repetitive, would be better if about 20 minutes shorter but still well worth seeing
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