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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
Avg Score

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

Relevant, Compelling, Great acting, Revue-like, Fluffy

See it if You want to see a compelling story about the relationship between four very different women

Don't see it if You want a conventional book musical. The songs did nothing to advance the plot, and were very irritating in disrupting the narrative flow

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

Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you like the idea of seeing 3 generations of women, all of whom have great voices; if you love The York Theatre, Where Musicals come to Life

Don't see it if you are homophobic; if you only like big Broadway splashy musicals (in which case you're missing a lot of great entertainment)

Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if I so enjoyed this musical. Plus I loved what it stood for - finding “common ground” in a time of such divisiveness.

Don't see it if If you don’t love small non flashy musicals.

Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a well sung small cast musical that tells an interesting family story.

Don't see it if you like large scale musicals with lots of scenery and costumes.

Entertaining, Great singing, Funny

See it if If you want to see an all woman musical. Great songs

Don't see it if If you are interested in seeing something believable, the story is not very believable

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

See it if you want to see a tale that is extremely relevant to our times

Don't see it if you don't approved of same sex relationships

Delightful, Absorbing, Funny, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if family dramas appeal to you, and you want to hear a lot of punch, on a small stage. Great singing, sweet musical, enjoyed even by jaded teen

Don't see it if you find inter-generational conflicts tiring, if you want jazz fingers and a big production

Great singing, Edgy

See it if you like musicals with a feminine theme...

Don't see it if you don't like shows about the narrowmindedness of Bible thumpers and their hate for those who are different than they are...

Funny, Cliched, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you have a particular interest in inter-generational relationships with complications.

Don't see it if you don't care for a story about an aging hippie and her right wing, religious daughter and open minded granddaughter.

Great singing, Great writing, Ambitious, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if For Unexpected Joyous production portraying 3 generations of talented women & the "Unexpected" 4th woman a knockout bluesy gutsy singer

Don't see it if Don't like musicals-are offended by unexpected relationships (gay & multi-racial) But--see it--a gem of a show.

Also This small Off Broadway production is big on talent & originality. Bet... Read more Read less

Boring, Forced, Average, Disappointing, Amateurish

See it if you are up to just another one average musical with no sparkle, creativity or imagination. The acting is forced , the voices average.

Don't see it if I wouldn’t recommend to spend your time on this one. It doesn’t deliver anything new or will touch you in any way. Boring.

Entertaining, Great singing, Funny

See it if You like plays about family relationships

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with plays about a gay relationship

Great singing

See it if You like shows with strong female leads. Like good singing.

Don't see it if You expect a complex story with complex characters.


See it if You want to relax and enjoy a handful of enjoyable songs with a capable cast.

Don't see it if you want to have something to chew on beyond "it's okay that we're all different if we tolerate each other"

Also The play's lack of any distinct political or philosophical stance migh... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great singing, Relevant, Cliched

See it if You are interested in a musical about three generations of women. The characters are stereotyped. The singing, music and acting are terrific

Don't see it if You are conservative or don’t like all female casts

Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Relevant, Delightful

See it if you enjoy a great singing and an intergenerational family tale. Solid performances from the entire casts. An enjoyable evening out!

Don't see it if you are looking for a big production musical. If you have issues with diversity.

Ambitious, Great singing

See it if You’d enjoy 3 generations of white women reflecting on how the 60s free love/folk rock phase impacted their lives. (As you’d expect.)

Don't see it if You’ve seen anything like this before. The performers are good singers, but there’s not much new here, and you can see what’s coming. Yawn.

Great singing, Fluffy, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if you want an entertaining , predictable musical about mother/daughter relationships. Most characters are tropes. Celeste Rose was great

Don't see it if you are looking for something with great dialogue. this at times felt stilted.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Fun

See it if You want to hear some good singing.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a mother trying to open the eyes of her daughter to real love.

Clever, Entertaining, Relevant

See it if You were a "challenging teenager" or parent of one.. if you enjoy pop culture music sung by four very talented women

Don't see it if You are homophobic, offended by cursing, or are a devout evangelical christian.

Also This show was a delight....a fascinating intergenerational tale highli... Read more Read less

Great singing, Delightful, Entertaining, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if you want to hear some lovely voices

Don't see it if you don't like musicals

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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