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Unexpected Joy

From 140 member  reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Funny, Relevant

About the show

The York Theatre Company's world premiere musical centers around three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions, and a week together where change is in the air.  More…

In modern day Cape Cod, Joy, a baby boomer and proud hippie, is holding a memorial concert for the other half of her popular musical duo, Jump & Joy. When her tightly wound conservative daughter and her sweet rebellious granddaughter arrive from Oklahoma, the sparks fly as one family seeks to find the common ground in their different values, dreams and goals. A heartfelt and comic story that celebrates diversity and acceptance, 'Unexpected Joy' weaves folk-rock, pop, and blues in bringing together a family that hasn’t experienced true joy together for decades.

Member Reviews (140)


Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Funny, Relevant

Entertaining, Great music, Good story, Great singing

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.

Also Thi was very enjoyable for sure. ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Good music, Relevant

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

Great singing, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Delightful

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.

Funny, Entertaining, Indulgent

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.

Delightful, Entertaining, Cliched, Great singing, Great music

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.

Also The music is wonderful. It's a cast album I would consider buying. The... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Spectacular singing by all four. Spectacular lighting, Great tale re: the generational gap.s A 97% & a 99% gets the 98%

Don't see it if Minimal sets but it fits the play perfectly.Only negative.... it should play on and on and on.

Cliched, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Amusing

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

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if You want to see a country/pop/rock musical about families w/different POVSs. You enjoy realistic portrayals of women. You want great singing

Don't see it if You don't like country-inspired musicals. You prefer shows w/larger production values.

Entertaining, Great singing, Relevant, Cliched

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.

Great acting, Great singing, Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if High energy musical with beautiful ballads and great group songs. Realistic fast paced and a tale of acceptance in a family.

Don't see it if You'd prefer a classical show instead

Good singing, Nicely staged, Entertaining, but flawed, Some surprises, Well-intentioned

See it if Like musicals, family conflicts, small casts, a surface look at differing viewpoints. It's a good, but not fantastic show. Still, fun.

Don't see it if Are homophobic/very religious, want depth, don't like women-centric, mother-daughter themes, dislike Carpenter's style folk/pop/country.

Also There's a nice break-the-fourth-wall conceit of presenting a concert t... Read more Read less

3 vastly different lovely voices singing in vastly different styles., Cliched, Slow to evolve

See it if You want to see a small, intimate musical tackling HUGE issues, in shorthand, with varying degrees of success. Diff musical styles used.

Don't see it if You dont like simplistic takes on serious issues esp: Christian Right vs Aging Flower Children. Artificial situations setting up tension.

Also This seemed different from the usual York Theater fare. I really didn'... Read more Read less

Funny, Great singing, Relevant, Resonant, Refreshing

See it if you’d enjoy a comedy-drama about mothers and daughters butting heads, and finding their own values may not reflect those of their parents.

Don't see it if you have a closed mind or object to robust swearing in a church.

Great singing, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you want some terrific music sung by 4 talented women. Only drawback is corny plot that has a message.

Don't see it if lesbian related plots are not for you.

Also Just extended thru Memorial Day weekend.

Delightful, Great singing, Relevant, Heart-warming, Funny

See it if you enjoy a sweet, little musical that has a surprising edge. Thoroughly enjoyable throughout.

Don't see it if you are looking for a show with a complex plot or lavish dance numbers.

Great acting, Great staging, Funny, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a play that will have you laughing and you get to hear some great singing and you would sing along if you knew the words.

Don't see it if You don't want to have a good time and see three generations of female singers hash out some family issues.

Also I had a good time. I was laughing and totally enjoying this play. The ... Read more Read less

Great singing

See it if My heart filled up each time the grandma, daughter, and granddaughter harmonized. Politically polarized family uniting through singing.

Don't see it if All women casts, lesbians, or sight of smoking cannabis scare you. Dislike multiple singers harmonizing in many songs.

Also Ticket from Todaytix for $27.50.

Unexpected indeed!, Clever

See it if You enjoy riding the wave of female-only shows, or if you want to hear several good, new songs in the context of a reasonable good show.

Don't see it if You like to see men on stage as well as women, or if you don't like female-centric musicals.

Clever, Romantic, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You want to spend 90 minutes with 4 women representing the various stages of life and relationships , with strong singers

Don't see it if You like your musicals to be light and include dancing and have men on stage

Banal, Cliched, Fluffy, Ambitious

See it if You like dramas about parents and children and Christians and non-believers fighting about low-stakes things.

Don't see it if You need characters to be more than just their stereotypes.

Delightful, Relevant, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a beautifully crafted musical about , family, beliefs, & acceptance of 3 generations of family singers told heartwarmily.

Don't see it if You don't like gay themed musicals about family conflicts and acceptance

Entertaining, Great singing, Funny, Resonant

See it if Great musical with a Bonnie Raitt sound about 3 generations of women’s relationships, with a twist

Don't see it if This is an all women cast but men do play important roles in the story. Give this little gem a chance!

Funny, Slow, Dated, Great singing, Great acting

See it if You like folk/rock/gospel artists like Carole King,, Mavis Staples. Want to see 4 great female leads. You want to see a show with your mom.

Don't see it if You want a really well written book. You don't like the musical genres above. Want to see a big show.

Also I went to see this on Mother's Day with my mom. On the whole I enjoyed... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want a wonderful, heart warming show featuring great actresses and singers, a day at the York Theatre, and wonderful music.

Don't see it if You want elaborate sets, don't want to go to the E Side. No reason NOT to go.

Great singing, Entertaining, Relevant

See it if You like musicals about inter generational family dynamics in 90 minutes with strong women characters

Don't see it if You want a searching deep exploration of the choices we make

May 3rd, 2018
"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-s...
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May 3rd, 2018
"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 informa...
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May 8th, 2018
“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 ...
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May 7th, 2018
"'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 genuinel...
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