Closed 2h 15m
This Ain't No Disco
Chelsea
63

This Ain't No Disco NYC Reviews and Tickets

63%
(135 Reviews)
Positive
39%
Mixed
39%
Negative
22%
Members say
Great singing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Cliched

About the Show

This world premiere musical from Stephen Trask ('Hedwig and the Angry Inch') and Peter Yanowitz (The Wallflowers) is part rock opera, part impressionist tone poem set in the nightclubs and art world of 1979 NYC.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (135)

48
Great singing, Quirky, Cliched, Disappointing, Insipid

See it if You like musicals that are overstimulating, but not at all deep or thought-provoking.

Don't see it if You want the next Hedwig. This is a complete mess on every level & will likely go down in history as a flop people wish they’d seen.

62
Great singing, Great staging, Disappointing

See it if you wish to see a show about the rise and fall of Studio 54. The singing is very good and some of songs are memorable.

Don't see it if you like a well developed musical. This one needs work, especially in the first act. Fewer numbers and more character development necy. Read more

Critic Reviews (30)

July 24th, 2018

“The tone-deaf, cliché-clogged rock opera...From the joyless frenzy of its opening number...’This Ain’t No Disco’ wears its retributive grimness like a suffocating, Lycra spandex shroud...Screeches like a repressive, single-message scold. Its electronic music repeats key phrases with an insistence that makes you long for the jolly melodic variety of Philip Glass...Such monotony fails to evoke the differently monotonous pop hits of disco...’This Ain’t No Disco’ just ain’t no fun.”
Read more

August 3rd, 2018

“Tresnjak’s production adds to the sense of fiasco with Brown’s busy but formless choreography and Sherwood’s you-are-nowhere set which at one point wobbles scarily when someone dances on it, providing the show’s single moment of genuine suspense. The cast is attractive and the music has drive, but every good thing about the show is strangled by inanities...If Rubell and Warhol aren’t rolling in their graves, they surely are rolling their eyes.”
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“While there’s plenty to look at, there’s seldom much of substance to hold on to. And despite a host of strongly sung performances, what’s there often feels flattened by a high-energy but unmemorable score and a storyline anchored by cliché...Struggles to get us invested in its cast...A lot of plot, but the problem is that we don’t care much about any of it...Sacrifices the potential effectiveness of small moments to a heady dependence on flashing lights and forward motion.”
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“Despite the impressive pedigree of talent...’This Ain't No Disco’ seriously flounders...The show's main problem is its diffuse, unfocused book. Overstuffed with characters and subplots that we never care about...Tresnjak's staging and Brown's choreography prove more busy than exciting...A handful of terrific numbers, but most of the songs are unmemorable...Lyrics are sometimes jaw-dropping, but not in a good way...Lacks the right moves to give it future life.”
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“Lyrics from a song in the new musical ‘This Ain’t No Disco’...will make us yearn for the golden age of disco...This new musical is just as dumb as that dopey lyric...The costumes are imitative, the performances are caricatures, and the choreography is awful...All energy and no style...The repetitive music doesn’t lean into the changing trends, while the choreography just re-works the same old steps for tired feet...’This ain’t no disco’, to be sure.”
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“Hot mess of a musical...As manically unfocused as a club queen on a coke bender, it is at once thematically overstuffed and emotionally barren...Plenty of driving melodies that get our toes tapping for a minute or two before ceding ground to the next track. By the end of the evening, we're hard-pressed to remember any of them. The same could be said of the scattered book...In lieu of precise direction, the cast reverts to clichéd sensationalism...As edgy as a pair of safety scissors.”
Read more

August 1st, 2018

"It's hard to believe that three book writers labored to create this cadre of cartoon figures...The score has its moments...'This Ain't No Disco' moves quickly, possibly to prevent unwanted thoughts from arising about the book's general implausibility...Missing from the production is the sense of exhilaration -- of getting away with something -- that was the main allure of places like Studio 54. The young, gifted cast gives it their all...Overall, 'This Ain't No Disco' perplexes."
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“A hot mess...’This Ain't No Disco’ is dead on arrival...The clunky book...is a tired collection of clichés...A sung-through pop musical, and a lousy one at that...Tresnjak has directed 'Disco' with a feverish desperation that can't hide the fact he's trying to spin straw into gold without much success...One wishes the cast would apply the same energy they give to Brown's choreography to the lyrics they're singing...Lazy enunciation with the bad sound mixing results in much being unintelligible."
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“A troubled new musical from a talented creative team...This tiresome show confirms how a poor storyline can scuttle even the brightest of musical talents...Score is a muddy combo of dud lyrics and thudding, percussive tunes not especially redolent of the era...One can almost forgive the clichés of the book and the dreariness of the score if these guys had managed to communicate something of the fun, the sexiness and, yes, the romance of those high times in New York."
Read more

July 24th, 2018

"The production may capture some of the style and pulse of NY...but deeper quirks and contradictions are either brushed over or left unexplored...The music—the show’s best feature...is unabashedly lush and quite soulful at times, injecting predictable glimmers of glam into melodies that can soar with pop and theatrical savvy. If only the characters were drawn with as much invention...Never dull, and even intermittently thrilling, it still leaves opportunities not fully realized."
Read more

August 7th, 2018

"The alternately wistful, thoughtful and passionate score, with the emphasis on disco anthems, carries the show along at a breakneck pace until the crazy plotlines unwind abruptly to reveal a pretty, domestic ménage, satisfactorily landing the survivors of the craziness in a micro-mutual admiration society, a bit of a cop-out, perhaps, but a relief from the preceding mayhem."
Read more

July 24th, 2018

"I'm not sure what I find most confusing about 'This Ain't No Disco,' the ambitious if hopelessly muddled rock opera now debuting: the show's title (since the action takes place at Studio 54, which was definitely a disco) or its misguided attempt to contextualize the last year of 54, remind us of the power wielded by Warhol, and tell the fictional stories of several people, none of which are ultimately all that interesting. Too often, the show has as little focus as a broken Instamatic."
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“A loud, long, and lively musical...Lyrics are occasionally discernible, and the score is comforting in a way that you would expect from its mixture of new wave and rock. While none of arias either demand...any extended displays of enthusiasm, their interpreters are generally excellent...The book offers us a bevy of seedy, oddly familiar characters...The production generally fulfills its obligation to afford us the glitter of Studio 54 as well as the grimness of wallowing in the ‘Mudd’.”
Read more

July 25th, 2018

“The music is great, the dancing is perfect, the lyrics are very funny, the actors are very alive and into it...It’s a good story. We relate to it and the characterizations are solid...But these stories are totally predictable. If the performances were not so tight, the music and lyrics...not so infectious, we might not be so entertained...I predict this show will be a sensation, because the work of this ensemble on the stage is flawless. I just wish the story had been pushed to braver limits."
Read more

July 30th, 2018

"'This Ain’t No Disco' in general, is not cool or edgy in the manner that made Studio 54 iconic and memorable. It’s crass and overtly sexual without being sexy in the least, throwing unnecessary simulations of blow jobs and dirty words at is us constantly...These seasoned actors all do compelling work, but in reality, this isn’t about them, and shouldn’t be about them, but the unfocused book doesn’t seem to know that...The four stories we care about the most get lost or completely ignored."
Read more

July 29th, 2018

"For all its high-energy hedonism featuring handsome half-clad bodies, 'This Ain’t No Disco,' doesn’t elicit desire or delight or nostalgia so much as it does confusion...It’s also confusing that 'This Ain’t No Disco' doesn’t look or sound much like the 70s Studio 54 scene...All these performers are clearly talented – although the ones playing the caricatures are more fun than the earnest strivers with whom we’re supposed to identify."
Read more

July 29th, 2018

"Frenziedly directed…it offers nearly sung-through disco and new wave music (little of it sounding like what it's a pastiche of) and sometimes indistinguishable lyrics…Cluttered, emotionally uninvolving book…With so much of these clubs' history easily available…(for some of us it wasn't that long ago), the reasons for its distracting blend of real and fictional personages are vague…Why not a book that accurately reflects the far more compelling drama of what really happened?"
Read more

August 3rd, 2018

"For all the visual richness of Tresnjak’s staging, it very rarely sounds like the Seventies. To write a rock musical about a disco palace is a little odd to begin with, but it’s stranger still to make a show that doesn’t aurally transport its audience to the era it means to evoke...The show’s book is a tangle of plot lines peopled with thinly drawn characters...If it adds up to anything, it’s a jumbled examination of greed and ambition and voracity for fame. But the glitter here is all just dust."
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“Classic example of a problematic book working mischief on an excellent score. Thankfully, ‘Disco’ is almost nonstop singing, and Trask and Yanowitz show a true gift for melody...They’re calling their new musical ‘a rock opera’. I missed the rock, but did hear some very fine ballads, patter songs, bubblegum, rap, and disco...Tresnjak’s direction fails to disguise the book’s flaws, but he keeps the story moving even when it takes one of many wrong turns.”
Read more

July 27th, 2018

“A hodgepodge, although a very vigorously staged and choreographed mess, with songs that only occasionally hit an emotional mark. ‘This Ain’t No Disco’ ain’t no winner, although there is plenty to ogle and all of the performers, main and supporting, work their often-shaking butts off...Misfired efforts to forge an involving drama. The total effect of the rock opera is numbing. One waits in hope that it can somehow be pulled together convincingly."
Read more

August 1st, 2018

"The self-described 'rock opera' attempts to depict a community but produces only stereotypes and derivative songs...There are individual moments of excitement...But the storyline is overly familiar...Instead of insightful commentary and portraiture of a bizarre and intoxicating era, we get warmed-over tropes of innocence corrupted accompanied by pedestrian tunes and lyrics...'This Ain’t No Disco' ain’t worth your time."
Read more

August 4th, 2018

"Some of 'This Ain't No Disco's' tunes are catchy but the overall score lacks cohesion...Their narrative totally fails to deliver. Its dialog, delivered in rhyming couplets, isn't nearly as clever as it wants to be. The multiple storylines are convoluted and ultimately make no sense...And the characters are so sketchy that it's hard to invest in what happens to any of them...The attempts at cinematic staging are clunky...The diverse and largely young cast is energetic but uneven."
Read more

August 6th, 2018

“‘This Ain’t No Disco’, an original rock opera about the art, music, and dance club scenes of 1979 New York, ain’t kidding...Bland and soulless, overstuffed, overdone, and under-dramatized, with a cacophony of characters, ideas, and issues offering only a sprawling, shallow story that is neither unique, distinctly tethered to the history of the setting, or frankly, engaging. This isn’t just a flop, but a belly flop—the likes of which you rarely see on stage in New York anymore.”
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“It’s tough to discern what story the creators aim to tell...It could be one about access and escape, fame and artistry, the primordial uptown-downtown tug-of-war...But it is rarely any one of these for long, and the result feels like a shopworn grab bag without much clutch...A new-wavey pop-rock score that lacks the boldness and tart flavor of his cult hit ‘Hedwig’...A book overstuffed with plot...Director Tresnjak struggles to differentiate uptown from downtown."
Read more

July 24th, 2018

"Under the puzzling disjointed direction of Darko Tresnjak, it remains if the intent of the work is history or parody, comedy, tragedy, or morality play; the result is a shallow, disconnected, and unsuccessful mish-mash, with no believable characterizations, no incisive humor, and no authentic evocation of the period...Rife with clichés, stereotypes, and anachronisms...Predictable storylines...Cast tries too hard to compensate for the unsuccessful material.”
Read more

July 25th, 2018

"The result, then, is rather pointless and dull, stuffed with forgettable tunes and anchored by a boilerplate Star Is Born narrative...At one point, Warhol eulogizes, 'If you make a building out of lights, when you turn them off, it disappears.' But we were never shown the lights in the first place."
Read more

July 25th, 2018

“The frenetic, floundering rock opera...Tresnjak directs a determined cast...At two and a half hours, ‘Disco’ makes your head spin...packing in so much it's impossible to maintain focus...As for the music, you'll be disappointed if you're hoping for disco — more like punk rock, with some country-sounding ballads thrown in. A good show may be lurking here, but right now it's all too frantic and disjointed.”
Read more

July 25th, 2018

“There are some good songs here...But this musical ain’t no disco...Part goofy mockumentary, part serious documentary, part ‘if I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere' story, ‘This Ain’t No Disco’ focuses on a number of oft-told stories...The direction and choreography are borderline frenetic...There are some decent songs...Maybe if you know nothing about Studio 54, you’ll find the story amusing. For me this was simply a wasted opportunity to recreate an iconic New York slice of history."
Read more

July 24th, 2018

“An impressionistic jumble of songs and scenes...What we don’t get, at least with any substance or continuity, is a through-line of character or plot, as a succession of different people vie for attention and stage time. It’s impossible to get to know or care about anyone and Tresnjak’s relentless production is a visual and aural assault course, with dizzyingly blinding lighting...A succession of pulsating electronic beats from which tunes only intermittently break out.”
Read more

August 6th, 2018

"Despite a top-notch creative team and an undeniably talented cast, viewing this musical requires a protective sheen for one’s vision. The production is too bright, too loud and too long – all of which, perhaps, are an attempt to hide the lack of substance in this story...An overambitious story of an assorted collection of cliched characters is set to song, with little emotion to inspire the audience’s investment...There are simply too many characters to keep track of, let alone care about."
Read more

Watch This Next (16)

97
Must See!
10K+ Reviews
Opens Sep 14
NYC: Midtown W

This hip-hop infused tuner about America's founding fathers won 11 Tony Awards inc. Best Musical.

Buy
93
Must See!
20K+ Reviews
Opens Sep 14
NYC: Midtown W

In its 17th year, this all-ages musical spectacle tells the untold true story of the Witches of Oz.

Buy
92
Must See!
4K+ Reviews
Opens Dec 11
NYC: Midtown W

2017 Tony winner for Best Musical, this show is about being young and surviving the modern world.

Buy