Already closed | 2h 30m | Chelsea

The Secret Life of Bees

From 179 member  reviews
Members say: Great singing, Absorbing, Entertaining, Relevant, Great acting

About the show

Based on the best-selling novel by Sue Monk Kidd, Atlantic's world premiere musical comes from the creative team that brought you "Sweat," "Spring Awakening," "Working," and "Fun Home." More…

South Carolina, 1964. Lily Owens, a restless white teenager, struggles with her merciless father and the haunting memory of her mother’s death. When Rosaleen, her black caregiver, is beaten and jailed for asserting her right to vote, Lily’s rebellious spirit is ignited. She and Rosaleen escape on an adventure where they are taken in by a trio of black beekeeping sisters. While Lily tries to unlock the secrets of her past, she and Rosaleen find solace in the mesmerizing world of bees and spirituality in this extraordinary tale of awakening, fellowship, and healing. 

Member Reviews (179)


Great singing, Absorbing, Entertaining, Relevant, Great acting
Avg Score

Must see, Fun but still important, Great singing, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if You want a wonderful experience, for fantastic singing & creative but not exact retelling of the Secret Life of Bees & to see LaCHANZE

Don't see it if You are only looking for a challenging treatment of race with commentary on current racial politics - Lynn Nottage keeps it relatively light

Also Both Sue Monk Kidd's novel & this script & songs by Lynn Nottage have ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Intelligent, Great singing, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a new musical in an intimate setting with great talent. The music/lyrics are great.This is a chance to see this off-Broadway

Don't see it if You don't want to see a new musical. You didn't like the movie.

“you can’t keep running from things that scare you”

See it if for creatives Nottage, Sheik, Birkenhead and amazing cast including LaChanze and Saycon Sengbloh.

Don't see it if I’ve only seen the movie and love how they have shifted the focus of the story...

Also ... but I feel like Lily has lost her spirit in this version. ... Read more Read less

Gorgeous, Great singing, Masterful, Must see, Absorbing

See it if You want to see an absolutely superb cast tell a beautiful story. Duncan Sheik’s score is incredibly stunning. The voices of this cast A+++!

Don't see it if You don’t want to be transported back in time to a story of prejudice & violence. A story that is just as relevant today. Leaves you in awe.

Resonant, Great use of drumming, Great singing, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if The lush, gorgeous music and harmonies expressed by the women. The evocative spare staging. The dialogue about racial inequality

Don't see it if You did not like the original book, you don’t like stories involving racial injustice. You don’t like non traditional musicals

Relevant, Great staging, Entertaining, Enchanting, Clever

See it if .. you'd enjoy an original musical about the South in 1964 Great score. Great performances.

Don't see it if .. no reason not see it.

Intimate, Riveting, Great writing, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if you like the book or movie, are a fan of Lynn Nottage and Duncan Sheik, and want to enjoy an uplifting civil rights era personal story.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with the themes of racial and domestic violence. If you prefer "grand" musicals, this has a pared down set.

Literary, Sentimental, Great staging, Great singing, Enchanting

See it if you like Southern tales, poignant stories.

Don't see it if you're expecting the book as you remember it - a lot of liberties were taken with the story.

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if you want to be blown away by incredible singers and heartfelt performances. The talent onstage in this show is breathtaking.

Don't see it if you need a big dramatic payoff. There's tension, and there are challenges and disturbing parallels to today, but it's all pretty "almost."

Great singing, Great acting, Exquisite, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if you love new musicals - this one is soulful and beautiful. Beautifully staged and sung.

Don't see it if You are looking for big, brash and sassy. This is a contemplative piece

Resonant, Dated, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if you want some good music in an innovative adaptation. Saw it early in previews.. hopefully tightened up.

Don't see it if you want a polished razzle-dazzle musical. This ain't that.

Great writing, Great staging, Great singing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you loved the book and want to see a spectacular musical adaptation.

Don't see it if you don't like to see plays based on a book you've read

Great singing, Absorbing

See it if for the music. It's glorious

Don't see it if You are looking for a full representation of the book on stage.

Interesting potential, Too long, Dull, Great singing, Disappointing

See it if Want to see a tribute to strong women in the face of southern racism circa 1960s. Don’t expect new insights or moving staging, Great voices

Don't see it if You expect fresh perceptions on racism, feminism, or the search for love. This is not a bad production, it just has little new to offer.

Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing, Great singing, Meaningful

See it if you want to see a meaningful story with fabulous singing

Don't see it if you have a problem dealing with the cruel white redneck men of South Carolina in the 50s

Decent, Resonant, Relevant, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Marvelous music, sung wonderfully with a story that holds your interest and has a reasonably happy ending.

Don't see it if Looking for a unique story. No big reveal here historically or otherwise. Maybe we expect too much from Nottage. It was interesting, but ...

Must see, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great singing, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy musicals with more intimate staging. The singing is incredible - even if some of the writing is a little weak.

Don't see it if you expect the book........

Intelligent, Entertaining, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if It was a great book,I didn’t read it,see the show. Moving,sensitive,wonderful

Don't see it if You might want to go to 20th street,other then that don’t miss it when returns in an other iteration

Resonant, Disappointing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you would like female powered stories told in broad swipes.

Don't see it if you are bothered by melodrama and white violence against African Americans (because it is depressing, not that the truth shouldn't be shown)

Also Clearly the producers want to bring this ambitious play to Broadway bu... Read more Read less

Disturbing, Resonant, Relevant, Masterful, Great singing

See it if For fantastic performances, intelligent writing-book, lyrics&music-and a story to stay with you in today’s too similar times.

Don't see it if You need sweet stories and clear cut happy endings. T’aint happening here.

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

See it if You love quiet musicals, are interested in exploring the personal fallout of the civil rights violence of the 1960s

Don't see it if You prefer big, glitzy, happy musicals

Great staging, Intense, Riveting, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if You have a heart and a pulse. The singing blew me away within the first three minutes of the show and continued to delight until curtain.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable ugly crying in public - the show grabbed my heart and never let it go.

Delightful, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if An exciting evening filled with talented sIngers and absorbing story telling

Don't see it if You read the book or saw the movie and didn'tenjoy eitherone

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to hear some beautiful singers singing some beautiful songs and see the onstage musicians rocking up a storm.

Don't see it if you want a seamless experience. It's a choppy show -- the music and the book don't flow well together.

Great acting, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if you're a fan of the book/film and want to see a show with strong female characters.

Don't see it if you're not a fan of Sheik's music

June 13th, 2019
"The problem isn’t the added songs. The score, by Duncan Sheik and Susan Birkenhead, is in fact quite beautiful...What’s more, the songs are sung gorgeously by a cast that’s equally powerful in solo numbers and ensembles. The problem is what the songs are added to, and how much had to be cut to m...
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June 13th, 2019
"'The Secret Life of Bees' turns out to be all buzz and no sting...It leaves some of the city’s best voices without much to sing about...Their vocals are glorious but the show doesn’t seem to know what story it is telling, or how to tell it...One gets the sense that everyone involved is trying to...
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June 13th, 2019
"Musical theater brings out all that’s effective about 'The Secret Life of Bees' while dexterously downplaying its less convincing elements...It’s always heartening to encounter a production that truly feels like a fruitful collaboration and whose various team members are all joyfully pulling the...
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June 13th, 2019
"Some of the most gorgeous female-forward musical storytelling seen on a New York stage in some time...The show features a book by two-time Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage, a warm, expansively melodic score by Duncan Sheik, descriptive lyrics by Broadway veteran Susan Birkenhead and sensitive direct...
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Cast & Creatives (5)