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

Resonant, Edgy, Great singing, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if you are looking to be viscerally moved by the music talents of the cast. Also a cool aesthetic in terms of design.

Don't see it if you are a more classic or traditional fan of musicals.

Great band, Great score, Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you read the book and would like to see the story brought to life on the stage.

Don't see it if you expect a fully dramatized musical of the story. It hits the highlights and moves quickly between scenes on a fun but minimal set.

Also There is top notch talent on the stage - acting, singing, musicians. T... Read more Read less

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

See it if you want to see a well done musical adaptation of the book. You like great music, singing and a poignant story.

Don't see it if You like traditional musicals, or straight plays.

Thought-provoking, Enchanting, Resonant, Great staging, Great singing

See it if You enjoy musicals with emotional power and a range of musical styles.

Don't see it if You cannot tolerate presentations of violence.

Resonant, Entertaining, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if Vibrant production with very good Duncan Sheik music, Lynn Nottage book, and wonderful performances all around.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals with a message and religious undertones (although I thought it was more spiritual than religious).

Intelligent, Great singing, Relevant

See it if You loved the book or want to see a stellar cast with amazing voices. Duncan Shiek’s score is hauntingly beautiful.

Don't see it if You don’t like stories about prejudice or violence or a play set in an intimate setting.

Must see, Resonant, Relevant, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if You like musicals that are intelligent and thought provoking with an engaging plot and beautiful orchestration and overall performances

Don't see it if You are expecting a show with bells and whistles. You get soulful performances about overcoming the challenges of racial inequality

Relevant, Masterful, Enchanting, Great singing, Cliched

See it if you'd like amazing singing and musicality by all, very creative and empowering for women

Don't see it if A tale of racism in the south is too upsetting or you don't like musicals

Warm & uplifting, Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if terrific adaptation to musical. Excellent cast. Didn't look at my watch once. Saw a 2nd time and like it even more, they've fixed any issues

Don't see it if if you don't like hearty singing - some of it soulful, some in a fabulous barnstorming way. If you don't like humanity/ emancipation themes

Intelligent, Great acting, Great staging, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Great adaptation of the book, Strong female characters, coming of age story.

Don't see it if If you don't like folk lore. Females leading the show, teenage angst.

Delightful, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you love a great story and innovative music

Don't see it if you don't want a serious plot

Resonant, Profound, Masterful, Delightful, Great singing

See it if amazing vocalists and wonderful band perform a new book with deep and beautiful music, great acting and staging. you will be moved

Don't see it if you prefer a play, not interested in an emotion driven intimate musical that centres racial tension, or don't have 2.5h to spend in theatre

Intelligent, Relevant, Refreshing, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if you want experience a new musical with original content, outstanding performances/vocals, and an intriguing production stuffed with heart.

Don't see it if You are racist or closed to a moving story about civil rights. Avoid if you don't like music, drama, or thought-provoking shows.

Trite, Boring, Banal, Ambitious

See it if you want to see an amazingly talented cast amazingly underused, or you *REALLY* like atmospheric background music - Sheik's is amazing.

Don't see it if you value decent plot or decent songs. The book and lyrics are laughable.

Also What a missed opportunity. This story has potential and WOW this cast.... Read more Read less


See it if You’re into period pieces with incredible scores

Don't see it if You got stung recently...

Solid, Vibrant, Lacking, Uneven, Energetic

See it if You like stripped down show with high and low points and a few strong performances and song numbers that will probably win a lot of awards

Don't see it if You aren't into musical theater that relies on and champions exotic cult christianity or a weak lead ruins the whole thing for you.

Also Some very strong performances and one quite weak performance create an... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if You loved the book or movie. Wonderful cast ...singing and music is outstanding and clever. Very absorbing and profound.

Don't see it if You don't like an honest story that resonates in today's world. Race relations then and now!

Confusing, Slow, Indulgent, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if If you liked the book or the film,and curious to see what great writer and musician create

Don't see it if Don't like book of film

Unsubtle, Heavy-handed, Absorbing, Ambitious, Great singing

See it if You enjoy beautiful music from African culture, wonderful acting and a hint of the absorbing story from the original novel

Don't see it if You're not a fan of obvious on-the-nose lyrics, simplistic plotlines, and religious iconography. Or violent racist bullies using the N-word

Profound, Beautiful score, Great writing, Great acting, Enchanting

See it if you are a Duncan Sheik fan and anxious to see more of his amazing work.

Don't see it if you prefer to wait until a show has worked out all of its kinks.

Intense, Great acting

See it if You want to think in an evening at the theater, you like intense musicals with great casts, you want to hear really expert music.

Don't see it if You want something light, you expect Sondheim-level lyrics

Uplifting, Refreshing, Great singing, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if you are a fan of the movie, or if you are looking to experience a new, beautiful musical.

Don't see it if you only enjoy large-scale musicals.

Also I've been a fan of the book for years, but this musical still blew awa... Read more Read less

Exquisite, Great singing, Enchanting

See it if you love Duncan Sheik's gorgeous music. Singing and music are fantastic.

Don't see it if The story and staging are conventional, and one wants more from the writer of Sweat. Still a perfectly beautiful, traditional musical.

Relevant, Masterful, Exquisite, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You love an intimately staged production and top-notch ensemble performances.

Don't see it if You’re uncomfortable with genuine emotion and/or bee puppetry.

Great acting, Romantic, Slow, Resonant, Great singing

See it if You want to hear some of the best vocals in NYC. The acting is also quite good and I was engaged.

Don't see it if You want a big musical and if you don't do well with the topic of racial injustice.

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)