New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Portal

From 12 critic and 89 member reviews
Members say: Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious, Excruciating

About the show

Equal parts rock concert, movie, and theatrical performance, this immersive spectacle chronicles one man's epic journey in pursuit of a woman. More…

Audiences follow Dante through majestic deserts and alpine mountains as he seeks the beautiful and mysterious Beatrice, while also being pursued by his own inner demons. Is his quest real? A dream? Or an allegory of our own desire for transformation? Inspired by Burning Man, Pink Floyd, EDM, and world mythology, 'The Portal' seeks to entertain and offer an experience of transcendence and empowerment.

1h 30m | Already closed | Minetta Lane Theatre (West Village)

Theater Pizzazz

"We find unmistakable shamanistic glory in 'The Portal'...Billy Lewis, Jr. delivers a scaled back performance, recalling all of the fervor of Hedwig. The loud music is felt through his entire body...With every sense of guidance and no sense of gravity, 'The Portal' stops just short of full-scale success. What is missing in Luke Comer’s spectacle is the weight." Full Review


“Self-discovery is an oft-explored theme in the world of the theater, but Luke Comer has attempted to change the mold by packing his spiritual tale into a contemporary rock odyssey. Though there are certainly thoughtful questions that arise from spending an evening at ‘The Portal’, this theatrical journey that promises enlightenment and self-discovery never quite lands the intellectual punch it intends to deliver.” Full Review

The Reviews Hub

"The trippiness of this unstructured approach will surely appeal to the Burning Man crowd, but those expecting a more traditional narrative may find themselves at a loss…It is still possible to have a perfectly wonderful time at ‘The Portal.’…Jessica Chen’s magnificent choreography is consistently theatrical, and highly enjoyable…The entire cast is fully committed, and very capable, keeping most audience members engaged regardless of the production’s shortcomings." Full Review


"The overactive echoing and distortion that seems intent on making the lyrics indecipherable may be an artistic choice...The live performers certainly give game efforts, but Comer's direction does little more than designate entrances and exits...The Portal' doesn't seem intended for a theatre crowd. But if you're in the mood to just veg out and cleanse your brain by taking in a light bombardment of sounds and images for an hour and a half, it may provide a pleasing escape." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"'The Portal' is a cheesy experiment of culturally appropriated mysticism, but its production values are remarkable…'The Portal' has its advantages as a piece of digital film-based performance, but it lost me at its content—a cheesy and repetitive dreamscape without an endgame…’The Portal’ is probably better suited to an arena or an outdoor concert venue than an off-Broadway theatre. Its purpose is more experiential than narrative, and therefore should be treated as a concert first." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Kind of like being on someone else’s acid trip, but you wish you were also on drugs...Lewis Jr.’s powerful voice is obscured by the echoey quality of the microphone, making the lyrics barely discernible. There are apparently 16 musical numbers but they all sort of blend into each other. There is some poetry spoken at different points but don’t expect it to make a whole lot of sense...While the odyssey’s narrative is esoteric, the cinematography is commendable." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“'The Portal' is what one might have expected to encounter on the West Coast during the height of the post-hippie/New Age movement of the late '60s/early '70s. It's burdened...with a drearily portentous, allegoric narrative presented via a silent film that makes sense only if you've read (and remembered) its plot outline...'The Portal's' message is all well and good,...but the show's buried in such a mountain of self-conscious pretension that it may exceed a NY audience's climbing skills.” Full Review


"Not only is its mystical wisdom a generic mashup of Campbell and Jung, but its theatrical staging is mushy and lethargic…A serious sound-balance issue renders most of the lyrics incomprehensible. When a line or two does sneak through, one begins to understand that the overpowering music might be intentional…Billy Lewis Jr. has genuine rock pipes and a gorgeously pure falsetto. Sadly, his talents are misused in this ill-gotten project." Full Review

Washington Square News

"Live theater is a jewel that obtains its rawness only when the audience can witness the story unfolding by the work of the performers. With its heavy use of video, ‘The Portal’ lacked this thrilling component…The show’s excessive amount of spinning images, bright lights, monotone songs and apocalyptic costumes became overwhelming and distracting…Audience members likely left the theater with more of a migraine than a deeper artistic awareness." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The only reason 'The Portal' is worth discussing at all is that it unwittingly functions as a kind of warning about where stage design may be headed...So solemn in manner and so vague in its intentions that at times it's hard to believe the whole thing isn't a joke...Really a film with live music, singing, and dance accompaniment, all of which are deployed to little effect...I certainly had plenty of questions, but will confine myself to only one: Why does this production exist?" Full Review

On Stage Blog

"'Portal' shambles on slowly, like the awkward hybrid of Pink Floyd concert, modern dance workshop, student film, VFX mix tape, and self-help book that it is, eventually reaching a bewildering non-conclusion...There is nothing to this show. Nothing at all. For all its pretensions at a deeper understanding of the universe, and a subversion of the musical theatre genre, it is one of the shallowest, least insightful shows playing in New York right now." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"Completely unbearable...The lyrics are barely intelligible and glancing at the musical numbers in the program doesn’t clarify anything...The music offers no variety or clarity into what this any of this is all about...Jessica Chen’s choreography offers very little for the imagination but I can’t blame her. She doesn’t have much inspiration. Nor can I address Luke Comer and Paul Stancato’s direction because the word doesn’t suit the outcome." Full Review

Great singing, Enchanting, Must see, Epic, Hyper-energetic!!!

See it if You like seeing non-linear shows that have a trippy vibe to them. The singing is phenomenal and the band is like Santana meets Grateful Dead

Don't see it if You are narrow-minded about multi-dimentional universes or you don't like seeing a show that is both a multimedia & musical event all-in-one

Absorbing, Edgy, Enchanting, Great singing, Hypnotic

See it if Can see beyond what is in front of you, like rock opera, can open your mind, understand Dante or want to trip in someone's else's mind.

Don't see it if Are close minded, never read or heard of Dante, don't like rock, need a linear show, if you listen to opinions of others w/o experimenting.

Also I for one waited as I saw the low numbers in ratings. I took the chanc... Read more Read less

Quirky, Slow, Indulgent, Ambitious, Disappointing

See it if you miss the Fillmore East, bubble fractals, incomprehensible singing with mystic overtones. There are also beautiful projections of scenery

Don't see it if you are expecting a play let alone an interactive experience instead of a music and dance performance. There is a weak suggestion of a plot

Unintentionally hilarious, Banal, Cliched, Shallow, Dumb

See it if you can go with friends and not take this show seriously at all. Tear it apart later over drinks. Make it an inside joke.

Don't see it if you're expecting a really deep exploration of the Divine Comedy or religion/death/spirituality. You get offended at cultural appropriation.

Also When it started I instantly knew what I was in for. This production is... Read more Read less

Confusing, Slow, Quirky, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You like multimedia, noisy confusion

Don't see it if You want a story

Ambitious, Confusing, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if you like experimental multi- dimensional theater with good original music and dance in an intimate space.

Don't see it if you want fully developed story (i didn't know where it was going) or expecting recognizable songs to rock out to- expecting Pink Floyd-nope

Cliched, Indulgent, Repetitive, Slow

See it if you have taken rec drugs and want a visual and audio experience that goes well with that state (but let someone else drive you to the venue)

Don't see it if you would be bored by 90min of an utter lack of variety in sounds (music and percussion) and in choreography

Indulgent, Slow, Pretentious, good visuals, over long

See it if You appreciate some pretty visuals and a good looking, hard working cast.

Don't see it if An acid trip is not your idea of entertainment. Pretentious & overly long even at 85 minutes.

60's acid trip, Bath of images & sound, Picks up where trip of love leaves off, Incoherant, Pretty powerpoint presentation with live action & music

See it if new age sensibilities are your thing, want something 2 match tripping experiences, you need 2 arrive high on life or some other substance

Don't see it if you have no toleration for the new agey, need story markers to help you along

Disappointing, Dizzying, Confusing, Quirky, Slow

See it if you want something different.. thats about all I can say..

Don't see it if you don't want to waste 2 hours.. Luckily the show was cut short for technical difficulties, so we only got to see like 30 mins..

Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Insipid

See it if you like rock music, psychedelic images and jazz dance.

Don't see it if you like character based theater with a plot, an arch and thought provoking content.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if Avoid. This show was so boring, slow and insipid. So many missed opportunities.

Don't see it if You have something else to do.

Boring, monotonous, disappointing!!!!

See it if very boring!!! bad singing and acting

Don't see it if you value your time and money

Excruciating, Indulgent, Insipid, Slow

See it if you like vaguely tribal music and cheesy videos taking you on a mystical journey of self-discovery or want to bore yourself into a coma

Don't see it if you have anything better to do with your time or you'd rather take a tap or stare off into space daydreaming or ANYTHING ELSE possible

Confusing, Dizzying, Excruciating

See it if You want to encounter what it would be like to live inside a Pink Floyd video but completely sober and sad

Don't see it if Don't even think about it

Excruciating, Dizzying, Intense

See it if you have taken a lot of drugs before hand and want to look at the pretty lights.

Don't see it if bright lights or loud sounds bother you...or if you want something that makes sense.

Also About halfway into this show I realized that it wasn't going to get an... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if See it if you are open to being mesmerized by breathtaking visual effects, a beguiling trip through the psyche, & powerfully great music.

Don't see it if Don't see it if you have no imagination, are unforgiving of minor flaws, and are locked into only accepting the banal and the mundane.

Also I saw The Portal in previews, and although I could see that certain el... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Entertaining, Intense, Slow, Quirky

See it if you like chanting, vision quests, a good looking cast and live music

Don't see it if trip images bother you

Confusing, Slow, Excruciating

See it if You like the Avant-Garde, and repetitive music. Dummer was talented, song in the middle was good. But not worth seeing the play for it.

Don't see it if A 90 min discombobulated odyessy involving video of a guy wandering around a strange landscape accompanied by tribalish music doesn't appeal

Enchanting, Epic, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Profound

See it if You are interested in challenging the status quo & open to being immersed in an other-worldly experience. This is performance art.

Don't see it if You are impatient and want the usual theatrical entertainment.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Refreshing, Great staging, Resonant

See it if You want to embark on an amazing multimedia journey

Don't see it if You want to see a traditional musical

Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing, Indulgent, Hilarious

See it if you're currently tripping on Ecstasy, or you're a friend of the cast.

Don't see it if you have literally any other use for your time or money.

Also For experimental theatre to actually work, to move its audience, it ha... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Edgy, Intelligent, Must see, Masterful

See it if You want to feel alive, and like a mix of Pink Floyd, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Clockwork Orange,Planet of the Apes,Tommy and Santana

Don't see it if you can't grasp a non-linear mixed media masterpiece using dance,live music and great visual effects

Also Just can't understand all the negativity here on Show-score...Bah Humb... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if It's a journey inside the self. Looking at all the parts that make us human. It's a mind-bending trip taking you places ancient and new.

Don't see it if If you need linear story that stays within safe borders.

During previews

See it if You enjoy a mix of multimedia, dancing, singing, fractals and live action on a big movie screen. With characters roaming thru the aisles.

Don't see it if If you're only interested in traditional theater and hate concerts and dance shows.

Cast & Creatives (20)