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

During previews
Great staging, Great writing, Must see, Healing, Inspiring

See it if This show will take all the awards. It's the best you hope a play will be-leaving you educated, inspired & wanting to be better yourself!

Don't see it if You dislike new musicals. Otherwise, go! Creatively staged with a terrific cast & great original material/adaptation & Sam Gold's direction~

During previews
Refreshing, Resonant, Must see, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You want to see some of the best of the best in musicals telling a lovely story. Has some chinks in act two, but I sense a transfer!

Don't see it if You find the topic of racism distasteful, especially when tackled in the context of previous time periods.

Also Sacyon needs to win awards. ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great staging, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy musicals with a strong plot. The singing is very strong.

Don't see it if you're looking for a light musical that avoids serious issues. Although it's based in the past, the racial issues are still true today.

During previews
Slow, Insipid, Overrated, Great singing, Cliched

See it if you're a fan of the sentimental book which was much more absorbing. Excellent singers but bland, static production.

Don't see it if you like catchy music of a uniform style. Predictable and hokey plot.

During previews
Relevant, Refreshing, Great singing, Delightful

See it if Beautiful story, great adaptation, wonderful score.

Don't see it if There’s no reason not to see this. It’s still in previews, a bit rough, but nothing that can’t be fixed.

During previews
Entertaining, Disappointingly insipid lyrics, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you want to enjoy some wonderful singing and a relatively loyal adaptation of a beloved book

Don't see it if you find insipid lyrics/elementary rhymes distracting—there are some smart lyrics about race happening elsewhere off-Broadway, but not here.

During previews

See it if You like Duncan Sheik's music (Spring Awakening, Alice by Heart). The vocal performances and acting are wonderful.

Don't see it if You want tunes you can hum and songs that serve the story. The book was wonderful but the music fell flat for me.

Also The gospel rock songs were crowd pleasers, largely due to the power of... Read more Read less

During previews
Profound, Must see, Great staging, Great singing, Enchanting

See it if You want to see a good and refreshing new musical, it has one of the best original scores I’ve ever heard and the cast is amazing

Don't see it if You don’t want to see anything about racial problem.

Also The book still need some polishing but it’s very potential.

During previews
Great acting, Gorgeous music, Great singing, Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if You liked the book or movie. Like the music of Duncan sheik. Are interested in stories revolving around civil rights

Don't see it if You dont like musicals. Want more of an elaborate set. Don't like stories with themes of race, religion or abuse

Also I really liked this. I enjoyed the songs that were put to the story. T... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if EXcellent writing. acting. and direction for a very relevant and important topic. Important to see!

Don't see it if timely topics do not interest you

During previews
Ambitious, Relevant, Great singing

See it if the story of the novel appeals to you and you relate to great singing.

Don't see it if you didn't like the book.

Also All the voices are excellent down to the smallest roles. The creation ... Read more Read less

During previews
Resonant, Absorbing, Ambitious, Relevant, Great singing

See it if Wanting to hear a wonderful new score sung by powerhouse performers.

Don't see it if Looking for a glitzy or large-scale musical.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Profound, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You loved the book & the movie and the story moves you

Don't see it if I saw it in previews & it needs some work so don’t see it if You are looking for an experience as meaningful as the book or movie.

During previews
Loving, Magical, Relevant, Absorbing, Great singing

See it if See this if you love a gem in the making. The music is beautiful and the voices even better. The story is loving and the cast is super!!!

Don't see it if Don’t see it if you don’t like musicals. It isn’t as polished as it will be in the near future I hope.

During previews
Slow, Ambitious, Great singing

See it if You enjoy a stage full of great singing voices (sometimes overwhelmed by loud orch). The score soars at times, seems like filler at others.

Don't see it if You expect a big musical production - you'll be met with a nearly bare stage and a ring of chairs.

During previews
Entertaining, Great staging, Great singing

See it if Great singing

Don't see it if At points contest was hard to watch

During previews
Enchanting, Absorbing, Profound, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if You like musicals, because this was right up there with some of the Broadway musicals. If you like stories with strong WOC as leads.

Don't see it if Racism and child abuse are central themes of the story and it is very uncomfortable to watch people being abused. If you are too sensitive,

Also This show really moved me. The voices were unbelievably strong and I t... Read more Read less

During previews
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if A fan of the book or movie, or the prior work of Lynn Nottage & Duncan Sheik. Like to experience new musicals in development. LaChanze!!!

Don't see it if Not in the mood for a more serious, issues-oriented story with themes of race relations, abuse, & violence.

Also The source material has many subplots, some of which come off a little... Read more Read less

During previews
Well intentioned and relevant

See it if A new musical set in Civil Rights era South. Appealing younger cast members, excellent LaChanze & company. Energetic music & dance on stage.

Don't see it if Based on the movie and Color Purple-ish in its dramatic arc. Music and lyrics are earnest but mostly generic.

During previews
Resonant, Must see, Great writing, Great singing, Great acting

See it if you are interested in the original story and want to see a great musical version of it with absolute powerhouse performances.

Don't see it if you want to wait till it goes to Broadway

During previews
Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Intelligent, Riveting

See it if You want to experience a refreshing & insightful coming of age story in a dark period of US history well directed, performed & great score.

Don't see it if If you like big splashy musicals, show stopping songs & lots of choreography. You don’t like dark, uncomfortable musical drama with depth.

During previews
Resonant, Profound, Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Holy cow. The music, the singing!! If you love to see a cast just sing it out, see this show.

Don't see it if I can’t think of a reason.

During previews
Great writing, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if If you read the book or not. It’s a thoughtful, accessible, well put together show. All great: acting, singing, writing, sound, sets, bees!

Don't see it if You don’t like shows with strong women leads.

During previews
Enchanting, Slow, Great singing, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a very good example of how to adapt a rich source material into a faithful adaptation.

Don't see it if The musical kept feeling like it was holding it's breath but never letting go - the moments that should have taken us away didn't happen.

Also I think my main issue with this adaptation was that the enchanting but... Read more Read less

During previews
Slow, Refreshing, Delightful

See it if You loved the book by Sue Monk Kidd or music by Duncan Sheik

Don't see it if everything being on stage at once is confusing or the slow pacing of the book was a drag for you

Also There is some truly delightful and interesting music here, though some... Read more Read less

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)