See it if If you like a simple story that has good acting, singing lighting and has humor.
Don't see it if If you do not like musicals. If you don't like hippie moms whose daughter is unaccepting of her lifestyle.
See it if You like women's stories, great music & singing. The music is more polished than most off-Broadway shows.
Don't see it if Parts of the plot are not believable. Needs a bit of work. A slow song needs to be cut or a few of those shortened. Drags the pace down. Read more
See it if You enjoy comedic family dramas where differences of opinion cause tension. Good music and performances by cast.
Don't see it if At times the show verges on "cheesy" (The characters a band where named 'Jump & Joy') however overall it is a sweet show
See it if You want a lighthearted but not fluffy show. Surprisingly full of thought provoking and real subject matter yet never gets bogged down.
Don't see it if You don’t want to see a musical that tackles some current controversial topics.
See it if Nice singing but the show lost me by the forced and poorly delivered message. The young daughter had a nice voice. (See tell us more)
Don't see it if You want an elaborate show with a compelling story. This isn't that. Note: my wife and I disagreed on this one. Read more
See it if you enjoy musicals with pop-rock scores about families with LGBT & religious issues, sweet cast with hearts in the right place
Don't see it if you don't like musicals or stories with favorable gay content, don't like pop-rock scores, not a fan of new musicals
See it if you enjoy an intelligent show about 3 generations of women with different political and religious views. Somewhat clichéd plot, nice lyrics.
Don't see it if you are an Envangelical Christian or do not believe in gay marriage. A bit preachy and predictable plot.
See it if you want a joyous celebration (w/plenty of domestic drama along the way) of 3 generations of women led by a rebellious folk star matriarch.
Don't see it if you are turned off by stereotypes (militant lesbian, evangelical preacher's wife & recalcitrant daughter, etc) used to contrive the drama. Read more
"The show had its premiere on Cape Cod two summers ago with a different director and cast. Revised since then, it retains both its primary strengths — Hood’s music and Russell’s lyrics, though their title song is still underwhelming — and its fatal weaknesses: Russell’s strained plot and sitcom-shallow dialogue, and a central character so self-absorbed that you have to wonder what Lou, who is a catch, sees in her. Mason’s performance...is the least assured in an otherwise strong cast."
"The end result is like what you'd imagine would come from a Netflix version of 'The Brady Bunch' — it has some leeway for edgier content but doesn't exactly know how to use it...The show seems to lose sight of the fact that it is preaching to the converted, not relaying new or revelatory information. The book's weaknesses become even more frustrating when compared to some of the truly lovely songs...Don't expect anything unexpected in this musical."
“Sweet, funny and very entertaining new musical...Sure, the plot can be a little contrived, but Russell's words are filled with wit and sincerity and Hood's music, played by music director Beth Falcone's four-person band, is a catchy blend of pop styles. Directed by Amy Anders Corcoran, the York Theatre Company's production is swift and light, but the show blasts into high gear when the four talented cast members raise their voices in rousing harmonies.”
"'Unexpected Joy' lives or dies on the audience caring whether this fractious little family holds together. But all the characters do is restate their positions, repeatedly, rendering the question unimportant and uninvolving...Admittedly, 'Unexpected Joy' goes down easily, thanks to some genuinely funny wisecracks, a passel of tuneful songs, and a quartet of performances that make everything seem better than it is."
"A cheerful, rousing celebration that also boasts surprising complexity in its characters and their warped relationships...Credit composer Hood and especially librettist-lyricist Russell, who really, really knows how to write women...What may catch you unexpectedly is how equitably Russell has dished out the good and bad human traits among these four...Corcoran's direction is unfussy, and she allows pauses and silences where they're warranted, a rarity among directors of musicals."
"It does give credulity quite a stretch, but it doesn’t test it to the absolute breaking point...Many 'Unexpected Joy' audiences will forgive its unexpected story line because the Bill Russell score, which has solos for all as well as duets and trios and quartets, is so pop-music-gospel-music strong...One of the unexpected joys of this production is the glorious singing on every song."
"Well-intentioned but wan...The show’s setup—and its hazy framing device—is a memorial performance for Jump. A little predictable, but convenient, as it gives Joy, Rachel, Tamara, and Joy’s friend Lou (Allyson Kaye Daniel) an excuse to stand around and sing a bunch of songs, concert-style...Getting from song to song—that pesky libretto!—is the problem. Russell has a knack for one-liners, but not for plotlines."
"The accomplished score and vivid performances transcend the clichés making the predictability seem fresh...Russell’s appealing book expertly charts everyone’s backstory, sets up topical debates and resolves personal battles with an optimum amount of sentiment that doesn’t become cloying. The natural flowing dialogue contains much wit...Corcoran’s work with the cast is superlative...'Unexpected Joy' isn’t groundbreaking but is good-natured entertainment that’s affectively presented."