Joe’s Pub at The Public presents a bittersweet and off-kilter new musical about a couple who join a colony in outer space. Directed by Tony nominee Leigh Silverman. More…
The brainchild of Ethan Lipton, 'The Outer Space' features the playwright/songwriter/performer narrating and singing the tale of two people who buy an old spaceship, and trade the noise, pollution, and overpriced rents of Earth for the vast beauty and treacherous terrain of the final frontier. But can they survive the mission?
"This is what cult classics are made of–storytelling genius mixed with musical mastery...Ethan Lipton has written the stellar book and lyrics...The four musicians have composed a score that is complex and stirring...Director Leigh Silverman has created a tight ship–with just the right pace, so we receive every nuanced word and lyric with ease. There is a fantastic balance between humor and heartache...Take yourself to 'The Outer Space'–you won’t want to come back." Full Review
“Sly, grumpy and just delightful…In numbers that lean on jazz, soul, funk and pop, Lipton turns his raspy tenor to clever rhymes…Do we really need another show in which a white guy vents his economic insecurity and foul mood? Turns out we do…This thumpingly humane show isn’t about getting away from it all or getting back to it all. It’s about learning to get over yourself, wherever you are, and adopting the small practices and habits that make you and yours a little happier.” Full Review
"Remarkably, Lipton is able to sustain this thinly veiled allegory through a gentle deadpan delivery. His dulcet growl is reminiscent of Garrison Keillor…At first glance, this jovial evening of story and song doesn't ask much, but if you listen closely, you'll notice that it brushes against the most personal of questions for New Yorkers: When will you admit that the rat race you found so intoxicating as a twentysomething is tiresome and fruitless?" Full Review
"A charmer...I realize this probably sounds unbearably twee in the telling, right down to the William Accorsi-like rocket ship hanging over the stage. But in the performance by Ethan Lipton, who wrote the whole thing with Vito Dieterle, Eben Levy and Ian M. Riggs–brilliant instrumentalists who also add vocals–it’s ruefully hilarious and pretty irresistible." Full Review
"Lipton charismatically carries us along this journey in a soft-spoken, NPR kind of way. His baritone vocals won’t blow the roof off of Joe’s Pub, but it’s a soothing, unique delivery that complements his band’s terrific musicality...Lipton is at ease under the direction of Silverman, who gently guides this mission to outer space and inner exploration...I’m not sure I was any closer to discovering 'the dream of letting go.' But it was still worth the ride." Full Review
"A funny, pointed, and strange story…‘The Outer Space’ makes something of an art form out of off-the-wall and out-of-left-field…In keeping with this approach, ‘The Outer Space’ is full of non-sequiturs and digressions. But these are funny non-sequiturs and digressions full of a kind of folksy urban social commentary…In short, ‘The Outer Space,’ helps the audience, just like that space-traveling couple, get away from it all, albeit just for 80 minutes or so.” Full Review
“The show's musical numbers are an enjoyable, melodic mix of American styles— notably folk and soft rock. All are vibrantly delivered by Lipton and his back-up trio of musicians…It's the music and the musicians presenting it that make ‘The Outer Space’ an enjoyable theatrical ride…Mr. Lipton also has a wonderful way with words which is evident in his lyrics as well as his spoken dialogue…Silverman's direction enhances the flow between narrative and musical numbers.” Full Review
"Lipton is an oddly engaging performer, with a singing voice that hovers around a half-whisper and an endearingly understated comic sensibility...Lipton creates a charming fictional world...The success of 'The Outer Space' hinges on Lipton’s unassuming charm, his chipper songs, and his endearing way of delivering them. Lipton is backed up by a very skilled set of musicians, who collaborated with Lipton on the score, but who nonetheless looked rather bored with the proceedings." Full Review
"A funny, insightful allegory...Lipton’s songs are quirky delights. His rhymes are original and satisfying and his lyrics are joyful in their simple brilliance. Each time he sings, he employs a unique concept and executes it in a way that brings pleasure derived from experiencing truth and heartfelt wit...Occasionally the monologue part of the tale got a bit lengthy. The allegory wears a little thin...My only complaint about the show is the venue itself...I had to strain to hear the words." Full Review
"Directed by Leigh Silverman, this trippy captivating piece is drenched with humor and a folky charm. Lipton leads us down the most charming path through discovery and exploration with his beautiful voice and fun eccentric style...The non-sensical imagery that Lipton creates with his wacky hilarious delivery and wonderful honky tonk sound is a joyous experience to behold." Full Review
"Lipton’s witty imagining of outer space sounds less like the final frontier, and more like a pretty conventional suburban street, but the stage of Joe’s Pub is too small for anything too elaborate, so Lipton’s lyrics must marry instead to costume and scenic designer Zinn’s interplanetary-themed drapes, lit enchantingly by Ben Stanton...The songs are a warmly waspish marriage of the domestically mundane and the Space Age." Full Review
"Lipton, as both writer and performer, still makes an excellent everyman, with nerdy honesty, gently acerbic wit, and sweetly sincere enthusiasm...The band is versatile and the songs well-crafted, drawing on elements of different American musical traditions...But polish has also smoothed off a few of Lipton’s spikier edges and more pointed critiques...The show is charming and genuinely funny but the commentary hits less hard...It’s a hopeful message–and one that feels a little oversimple." Full Review
"'The Outer Space' looks and sounds pretty much like Lipton's previous entry, except this time the fellows are dressed in faux-astro jumpsuits...The collection of melodies is certainly a pleasant one, mixing various degrees of jazz, bluegrass and pop rock, and Lipton's whimsical lyrics and plainspoken vocals have a warm everyman attractiveness that draws a listener in, but 'The Outer Space' merely orbits around its simple theme, with little gravitational pull of its own." Full Review
“Dressed in a blue jumpsuit, Lipton delivers this tale with unassuming charm…But although it’s often clever, ‘The Outer Space’ gets trapped in too strict an orbit around its central joke: interplanetary travel as a metaphor for leaving the big city and moving to the country. By the time Lipton got to the pleasures of a Mercury Public Radio pledge drive, I found myself spacing out a bit." Full Review
"It's probably not an entirely fair criticism to say that nothing really happens, but I doubt that Lipton cares about that...What starts out as an amusingly oddball evening becomes more and more like one of those Mercurian days, as the premise is stretched ever thinner. If you're already a Lipton fan, you'll find this to be an evening of gravity-free fun. If you prefer plots, characters, and tightly structured songs with perfect rhymes, don't blast off with this one.” Full Review
“The show is an attempt to recast Everyman issues in sparkling new terms…That's the direction in which Lipton is trying to head, but too much of what he does is setting our troubles against a different backdrop without much adaptation...More often than not the result feels fake and forced…The songs could elevate things, but they're constructed around the same down-to-Earth philosophy…This is exacerbated by the light, genial country flair of the music." Full Review
for a previous production “Intriguing and humorous, but at times, depressing…Most entertaining, for me, was the music. The narrative is crazy and inventive, and we could follow it and relate it to our own lives. What makes the production so unique and captivating is the use of music in telling this tall tale…'The Outer Space' is a new imaginative musical journey that explores many of today’s day-to-day situations in a wisecracking science-fiction context…A zany yet thought-provoking evening!” Full Review
See it if if you enjoy quirky shows with subtle songs and totally unpretentious and talented performers
Don't see it if if you require glitz and show-biz or subtle humor doesn't work for you
See it if You're open to following a space fantasy about a couple who leaves earth; you appreciate quirky, intelligent story telling and a jazzy score
Don't see it if You tend to be literal-minded and are looking for showy/handsome lead singers rather than artful raconteurs of trippy narratives
See it if you want to see a gem of a one-man show (with 3-piece band). People have likened it to Garrison Keillor/PHC & that's pretty accurate!
Don't see it if you're looking for a more traditional plot-driven play, or don't like one-person shows. It's part concert, part monologue/play/stand-up?
See it if you love a good storyteller, music in the vein of They Might Be Giants, or sci-fi as a way of attacking profound contemporary themes.
Don't see it if you don't like one-person shows or aren't up for something a little out there.
See it if You like Ethan Lipton's "No Place to Go," or you like story tellers in general. This is not a traditional musical or play.
Don't see it if You expect characters and dialog, or a story that is advanced via music. This is basically a one-man show with a backing band.
See it if you want to hear a fun, hilarious, and moving musical story about a couple moving to space, while experiencing realistic tensions.
Don't see it if you want compelling visuals. It's basically a story being told to you, not shown to you.
See it if you want an adorable, wacky, slightly campy experience that's more of a concert than a musical. It's charmingly thoughtful and self-aware.
Don't see it if you're expecting a fully choreographed show or a large stage and set. Also, the lead singer is a good narrator but a middling singer.
See it if you enjoy cabaret performances or quirky stories and music (with a strong message about finding personal happiness and fulfillment).
Don't see it if you're looking for a staged performance/traditional theatrical experience.
See it if you're an Ethan Lipton fan (and if you're not, you should be) or enjoy a quirky view of life on an angle.
Don't see it if you aren't up for letting reality go and enjoying the ride through Ethan's very funny eyes!
See it if you like Garrison Keillor-type monologues and great small bands. See it if you like lyrics that make you think and that you can relate to.
Don't see it if you are expecting a real musical with lots of songs and dance.
See it if You'd like a low key standup comedy cabaret musical which riffs on urban complaints, celebrating a life of having all the right problems.
Don't see it if You must always be serious, seeking only high art. You disdain an evening of lightweight fun.
See it if you don't need the frills of Broadway in order to feel connected with the characters. It's a simple production that is sweet & meaningful.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy eclectic musical offerings. It's easy to follow but not a straight forward, spoon-fed story line.
See it if you like folksy music, science fiction, or shows staged in an intimate setting. Also - this is a great show if you appreciate subtle humor
Don't see it if you prefer big, audacious shows. It's cabaret style staging and there's less of a book and much more of a narrative through song
See it if You enjoy eclectic music, good lyrics, a quirky story--and you live or have lived in NYC.
Don't see it if You expect a real plot and a musical with a full cast of performers.
See it if you like cabaret, stand-up or one-man shows. The writing is clever and absorbing, and the topics are universal. Great music.
Don't see it if Don't like being in close quarters with your seat neighbors. They really cram you into those seats.
See it if you have ever considered getting away from it all but never thought about the practicalities of what that would mean.
Don't see it if you expect real science fiction or any attempt to make living in outer space logical..
See it if If you love off Broadway and the Public Theater. This is a clever play that keeps you thinking after the applause. Lipton is amazing and fun
Don't see it if If you want a simple show without much depth. If you are not willing to experiment with mindful art.
See it if shows with slightly unusual plots don't bother you; if you don't mind minimally-staged shows with small casts; if you like dry humor.
Don't see it if you want a show with a coherent musical voice, you don't like shows with a lot of very snappy writing where not every joke is obvious.
See it if you want to see something out of the ordinary. More song-cycle than traditional, I was surprised how entertained I was.
Don't see it if you not in the mood for a real "out there" show where you do need to pay a little attention. Or wanna see HAMILTON.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies