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The Mad Ones

From 17 critic and 89 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Cliched, Great acting, Disappointing, Resonant

About the show

59E59 and Prospect Theater Company presents this new musical that immerses audiences in the complex inner life of a young woman and asks: when every choice feels like life and death, how do you turn the key? More…

Mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved...Samantha Brown balances on the edge of her future, car keys in hand. As she sits in the driver's seat, she faces a choice: will she follow in her mother's footsteps, or take the dare of her impetuous best friend and chart a new path?


"The production has a well-developed story, great staging, and a memorable score...People of all ages can relate to this touching and humorous story...The four-person cast of 'The Mad Ones' is a dream team...These Broadway stars master the thoughtful, clever dialogue along with the charm and spirit of the musical score...Rich, contemporary songs with live musical accompaniment that beautifully express the themes in the show." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A fun and heartfelt musical road trip through a young woman's mind...What carries the show is the relationship between Sam and her best friend...The chemistry is quite effective...Occasionally a sort of ‘concert tone’ takes over, and all this musical flair begins to detract from the story...A fun show with great music and an honest message about being your own person...If you like new musical theatre at all, or even just good music in general, don't miss ‘The Mad Ones.'” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“Kerrigan and Lowdermilk lay bare Sam's dilemma with considerable tenderness and wit...The first half is both intriguing and a little bit frustrating...But the second half suddenly, sharply comes to life...Brackett handles this material with sensitivity, keeping the first half from seeming too precious and zeroing in on the conflicts that drive the action to its conclusion...It takes some time to get going, but, on its own terms, it has some exquisite moments." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"The premise is striking and very uniquely investigated within the smart book and songs by this fantastic writing team. The numbers are powerful and fantastically crafted and performed, but the intricate details become a bit foggy as the piece accelerates forward. The songs, although majestically sung, start to blend into one another, losing the distinction of meaning and purpose between them...As written, it’s still an impressive venture and one we were glad to go on." Full Review

Reviews Off Broadway

“A musical of both youthful exuberance and heartbreak...The cast has the pipes to carry the show beautifully...Most of the songs are very good: catchy and fun or serious and soulful. There is an over reliance on the metaphor of a car as freedom, which grinds after a while...The sparse direction of Brackett is perfect for the space...It is a spare story in a spare space and he allows the actors to fill it with pathos and song." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Directed by Stephen Brackett, if you’re of a certain age you’ll most likely relate to the woes of youth as presented here in 'The Mad Ones.' Kerrigan and Lowdermilk surely have a way with words and lyrics and there are some genuine laugh out loud moments...The downside: the show attempts too strenuously to get its points across but it doesn’t always work as words crisscross and lines become blurred." Full Review


“Occasionally sluggish with no plot, no narration, little focus, slivers of flashbacks. The songs evolve out of memories. The lyrics are incisive and emotional. The music is contemporary and often repetitive...Many of the songs are belted and these performers are up for it. A fine orchestra in the balcony adds melodic harmonies. With a solid cast, changes in the characters emerge subtly through the show...This show will appeal most to coming-of-age viewers with many ‘if only’ moments to face.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Samantha takes about 90 or 100 minutes to dither, which isn’t very engagingly dramatic. She and the others do become dramatic when singing about their various emotional conditions, and these accomplished singers frequently maximize those moments. But it’s not the same thing as raising the dramatic stakes—only repeating Samantha’s predicament so that the Kerrigan-Lowdermilk songs begin to sound too much like each other." Full Review


“The drawn-out opening number is a young woman alone on the relatively bare stage singing a lackluster song about driving. It’s not a very promising start...The mostly harsh music is heavy on the strings and has repetitive, thumping motifs. The lyrics are simple and declarative and inspire the cast to at times border on yelling...It’s only fitfully compelling but could strike a chord with those have an affinity with the subject matter.” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“A well-performed, small-scale, dramatically inert new musical…The fuzzy narrative has very little punch, the effect being more an episodic assortment of emotional reactions to various stimuli than dramatic actions. Too much teeters not only on the brink of over-familiarity but on the banal…Kerrigan and Lowdermilk's score favors songs requiring big, belting voices, which the company very capably provides…Well sung as the songs are there's a sameness to them that blends one with the other.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"Kerrigan and Lowdermilk are good at crafting catchy theater pop...Under Stephen Brackett’s fluid direction, the vocally gifted performers deliver the songs with conviction. But Samantha is a cipher, and the show is weighed down by stock characters, familiar metatheatrical devices and multiple clichés. Although 'The Mad Ones' might be enjoyable as an original cast album, on stage it has the same problem as many an angsty teen: It’s not as original as it thinks it is." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“A coming of age story that is propelled by the Jack Kerouac’s iconic 1957 novel ‘On the Road’ but laden with clichés, superfluous situations and a skimpy script that tries to invent reasons to perform fourteen musical numbers...The musical numbers are written in the Broadway belt fashion and after a while acquire a sameness that diminishes the crisis or turmoil at hand. The cast is nothing less than remarkable...Not an unpleasant experience but nothing exceptional or groundbreaking.” Full Review

Off Off Online

“You can recognize a Kerrigan/Lowdermilk song by its refusal to settle for one note per syllable; the pair never met a melisma they didn’t like...But a little melisma goes a long way, as does a lot of fortissimo, and the songs, like the story, become repetitive and fatiguing in their sameness...’The Mad Ones’works as pop music, but not as theater. The plot rambles, as befits a memory play, but without any sense of forward motion, the story simply spins its wheels.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“The unpretentious little musical, has almost no dramatic tension, with a thin plot that serves mostly as a frame for showcasing the songwriting team...The performers deliver on all the charm, energy, and humor they can muster. With the exception of two of the numbers, however, the score itself is mostly unmemorable theater pop...If Kerrigan and Lowdermilk want to ramp things up, they would do well to listen to the kinds of heart-thumping musicals the cast members have on their bios.". Full Review

Village Voice

“It’s an intriguing but empty shell, a husk of a musical from which the nourishing substance inside is inexplicably absent. This is a pity. Everyone involved clearly has talent, including the authors...The piece itself appears attractive and solid while it’s going on, but the solidity vanishes in retrospect...Nor does ‘The Mad Ones’ offer a compelling male alternative to balance this one-dimensional female dialectic." Full Review

The New York Times

"'The Mad Ones' is a nonstarter...It feels like a claustrophobic, overheated road trip. We’re the ones stuck in the car...Too much rewriting has over-narrowed the characters into one-note clichés...Their tuneful songs reward flashy vocalism and are generic enough to flatter many kinds of interpretation. But only sometimes are they truly theatrical...The rest of the 14 songs, stacked like pancakes and nearly as identical, glop together...Plays are not playlists." Full Review


"Musical cliché...Kerrigan and Lowdermilk set their confused story to a generic musical theater score...Director Stephen Brackett's staging is efficient...After sitting through 100 minutes of muddled plotlines and passionate wailing, it is hard not to see 'The Mad Ones' as a musical tribute to YOLO...If you want to see a great musical, I suggest you hit the road, Jack." Full Review

Sad, Refreshing, Great singing, Clever

See it if you love talented singers, with more singing than dialog; you enjoy stories about high school seniors

Don't see it if you don't want to see a show that might make you sad (hint, one of the teens dies but you know that early on)

I loved this bright, inventive 4 hander with a very talented score and cast.

See it if You like relatable, accessible music. You like to see good singing, well directed in a small minimal stage. Great band, nice orchestration.

Don't see it if You mind screeching. The lead sometimes oversings but she has a delicate soft modulation so the screech can be unlearnt. You want BIG..

Also This is actually a nice turn on a tale of youthful discovery. The clas... Read more Read less

Resonant, Relevant, Profound, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if you love talented women singing their brains out. Loved the balance of the cast, 3 females & 1 male-finally a show representing real life!

Don't see it if you aren't interested in teen angst or pop musicals, of if sets or choreography are your favorite parts. Set was just OK & barely any dance.

Also I loved it but want to see lots of little tweaks. Could be funnier; co... Read more Read less

Resonant, Great acting, Exquisite, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if you like coming of age stories

Don't see it if you don't like new musicals

Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Great music, Great singing

See it if You enjoy nonstandard music/harmonies for the genre, family/friend dynamics, challenges of entering adulthood,fast-paced staging

Don't see it if Need a big splashy set,don’t care for small ensemble theater, like traditional show tunes

Also After the show, I was really surprised to see so much negative press. ... Read more Read less

Resonant, Great writing, Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You like small musicals about emotions and real life. You want to see something fresh with a great score and songs. You like DEH.

Don't see it if You want a musical with big production numbers or a fancy set. You can’t sit still for over 90 minutes!

Also Frankly I thought the songs and score were far superior to DEH, and th... Read more Read less

Tear jerker, Riveting, Absorbing, Profound, Great singing

See it if You liked Next To Normal. This seemed to push a lot of those same buttons for me, maybe a bit more light hearted, at least at first.

Don't see it if You don’t understand metaphor! Or if you don’t remember what it was like to be 17 years old and have your whole world seen so possible.

Resonant, Quirky, Funny, Great singing

See it if you love a great score and amazing performances from the whole cast of powerhouses. A thoughtful story about youth and choice.

Don't see it if you're a fan of more linear story based shows and more classic musical theater. This style is very folksy and contemporary.

Underrated, Moving, Funny, Great singing, Great acting

See it if you’d enjoy an affecting musical gem w/a great score & A+ performances. The audience audibly sniffled at the end. P.S. I NEED A CAST ALBUM!

Don't see it if you’re wrongly influenced by the inexplicably low Show Score average. I am normally in agreement w/the majority here, but NOT in this case.

Resonant, Great singing, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you like to see 4 talented singers perform as a team. Also some wonderful lighting.. And Jack K. lives again. H.S. to Univ. prob lives ..

Don't see it if If you need more scenery or if you never faced the H.S. graduate problems.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great singing

See it if You liked next to normal or dear evan Hansen. Has a vibe of both if stripped down. Amazing performances. Needs tweaks but still loved it.

Don't see it if You don’t like emotional stories about high schoolers and teen angst.

Clever, Quirky, Great writing, Refreshing, Intelligent

See it if You want to see a new musical (or if you've seen this show in another form before, and you're interested in what changes have been made).

Don't see it if You don't like diverse musical influences, or have a hard time relating to young people.

Relevant, Intelligent, Must see, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if You're a fan of great singing in a story that speaks to the place of women today

Don't see it if you don't like plays without an intermission or are looking for a traditional big musical with a chorus and dancing

Clever, Great acting, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if The score is very strong and the performances are terrific. Nicely staged and I loved the use of the harp.

Don't see it if Nice coming-of-age show that's great up until about the last 20 minutes-it should have been cut by about 10. I really enjoyed it though.

Pop-y, Refreshing, Great singing, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you want to discover & become a fan of Kerrigan and Lowdermilk

Don't see it if you hate newfangled pop musicals, want a big orchestra sound, dislike indecisive protagonists

Also This show has “early work” all over it to me—in the best sense. The ta... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You loved Evan Hansen and the angst of millenials

Don't see it if Your not interested in the pressures applied to young adults as they confront the next portion of their lives

Funny, Great acting, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if you would like to see a good off-broadway show. The show can be improved upon a little but still we all enjoyed it. The singing was great.

Don't see it if you can't sit for 1 40 mins without an intermission. The show can be trimmed a little. The lyrics for the songs get repetitive.

Great acting, Resonant, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if A women’s coming of age Kerouac On The Road musical. Good music,staging, In the style of Next to Normal

Don't see it if You don’t want to be reminded how fragile life can be

Resonant, Confusing, Great music, Great singing

See it if You want to see a musical with a lot of potential in development. Fascinated to see how it will progress!

Don't see it if You like a fully formed product or want light material.

Ambitious, Relevant, Resonant, Cliched, Great singing

See it if you want to see a great coming of age story with phenomenal singing.

Don't see it if you want big staging with lots of sets and costumes.

Great singing with confusing plot, Great singing, Confusing

See it if You love to hear people belt. The songs and the actors' voices are good.

Don't see it if You want an elaborate set (there's not much of one) or a clearly defined, linear plot. People I went with were confused.

Great score, great singing, great sets, ridiculous plot, disappointing

See it if You love the music to Dear Evan Hansen, like coming of age tales, and care about singing. Acting by two female stars is outstanding.

Don't see it if You don't like coming of age tales and you care about a credible plot that makes you care about the characters. Or want to see Ben Fankauser

Also I was a bit late so there's that. But Ben Fankauser, who was out for A... Read more Read less

Engaging cast, Nice harp, Melodic, Non-existent set, Great singing

See it if you like melodic songs and enjoy good voices and singing. The ensemble - harp, violing and guitar - is great. Decent musical experience.

Don't see it if you are interested in a story more than in music. It also gets somewhat repetative towards the end. The male role is cut too short.

Cliched, Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to see the great performances from the two leading ladies. Generous score mostly for entertainment value; other elements lacking.

Don't see it if you're looking for great songs. Most were pleasant, yet forgettable. The play itself is entertaining throughout, but cliched/predictable.

Entertaining, Fluffy, Quirky, Indulgent, Great singing

See it if You still feel close to or nostalgic for your own teen angst moments...I did, and really enjoyed some of the moments.

Don't see it if You’re expecting the next Dear Evan Hansen...this lacks the level of complexity and the stakes that make it relevant to an adult audience.

Cast & Creatives (17)