Whisper House (2022)
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Whisper House (2022)

Whisper House (2022) NYC Reviews and Tickets

(52 Reviews)
Members say
Great singing, Disappointing, Slow, Quirky, Absorbing

The Civilians' new musical ghost story offers a haunting tale of loss, love, and forgiveness. 

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Member Reviews (52)

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913 Reviews | 928 Followers
Enjoyable, Needs work, Promising, Great music

See it if Great melodies but lyrics don't always move plot + repeat too much. Great singing acting. Enjoyable.

Don't see it if script in combination with music needs work/synergy.

888 Reviews | 1017 Followers
Good music, Uneven, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy shows with a bit of mystery. The cast is talented.

Don't see it if You like the songs to further the plot or development. The music is good but acts as more of a mood than a plot or character device.

546 Reviews | 1879 Followers
Slow, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if It just didn't work... the songs, the singing. It was weird, and inconsistent but for no reason. Samantha Mathis gets lost. I love her.

Don't see it if You want a high quality and interesting show. This is not that.

754 Reviews | 124 Followers
Funny, Refreshing, Quirky, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if you appreciate a bit of seriousness in a musical - Japanese internment, childhood displacement, racism, youthful errors, ghostly revenge, et

Don't see it if you have trigger issues around abandonment or death of various sorts including drowning. Also death based humor might be a deterrent.

716 Reviews | 157 Followers
Overrated, Excruciating, Disappointing, Cliched, Banal

See it if you like ghost stories, Duncan Sheik music, stories set by the sea, shows bathed in darkness & mystery, the work of the Civilians

Don't see it if you don't like predictable stories, dragged out plot lines, forgettable music, unimaginative staging & poor set design

715 Reviews | 108 Followers
Great writing, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great acting, Clever

See it if you like a musical with a simple but effective set, realistic and sympathic characters with 2 ghosts thrown in.

Don't see it if you like a musical with big musical and dance numbers and lush music. The songs are simple and are used to get the plot across. Read more

543 Reviews | 133 Followers
Good band and orchestrations, Slow, Quirky, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if you like ghost stories where the ghosts get most of the stage time; great band; good music by Duncan Sheik

Don't see it if Not ready for prime time; amateurish; underdeveloped; ghosts do most of the singing; interminably slow; at least the ghosts are having fun.

479 Reviews | 262 Followers
Overrated, Excruciating, Slow, Disappointing

See it if you like slow-moving chamber musicals. This piece has been around for a long time. It should have been in much better shape.

Don't see it if you have other options.

Critic Reviews (9)

The New York Times
January 20th, 2022

"If the show spends about 85 of its 90 minutes inclining toward tragedy, its creators have something gentler in mind. The ultimate theme of “Whisper House” is that we must love another or die, a comforting thesis in a moment that demands — in every auditorium — so much mutual faith and care. Then again, there are the paired, smirking ghosts to imply the contrary. Turns out you can love another and die."
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Time Out New York
January 20th, 2022

"Directed by Steve Cosson, Whisper House works fine when the living characters are given room to breathe; Mathis—with a clubfooted limp and an old New England accent—gives a simple, affecting performance at the story’s center. And Sheik’s moody music, whose emotional pull transcends the libretto, is rendered well by a six-person band led by Wiley DeWeese (who is also one of four people credited for the very fine orchestrations). But there’s only so far the show can travel when it’s chained to the dead weight of those two drowned specters. “Things are broke and way past mending,” they sing with typical gloom, and perhaps Sheik and Jarrow should heed their advice. They have done what they can to build Whisper House, but it may be time to give up the ghosts."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
January 20th, 2022

"There’s only one shocking moment in Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s listless new musical Whisper House. Ideally, we would be spending more of the musical with our hearts in our throats (as opposed to our eyes on our watches): It’s supposedly a thriller, with two homicidal ghosts wafting around. But sadly there are no intentional scares in this show — neither the creeping, existential sort, nor the jump-at-a-loud-sound sort. Even the everyday horrors, the way that people disappoint each other, fail to raise a single goosebump. At one point, though, a character deliberately breaks a lovely prop, and the audience gasps. That object had value, you could hear everyone thinking, and he shouldn’t just chuck it around."
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January 20th, 2022

"Luckily, Steve Cosson's lucid direction keeps the story on track and makes us eager for more, like campers around a fire. Lighting designers Jorge Arroyo and Jeff Croiter create a world of shadows for this gloomy New England setting. Sound designer Ken Travis not only engineers pristine sound balance (a difficult thing to do when the orchestra is elevated on the side of the house), but he simulates the boom of a realistic naval skirmish. He also creates the eerie whispers that haunt our protagonists."
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New York Stage Review
January 20th, 2022

" In Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s bleak, beguiling chamber musical Whisper House, two of the seven characters—the ones who open and close the show, and do the most singing in between—address the others, and the audience, from beyond the grave, and they’re among the most alluring and spiteful spirits you’re likely to have encountered."
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January 22nd, 2022

The songs which are mainly sung by Alex Boniello (usually with a guitar) and Molly Hager as the ghostly narrators are folk ballads which though lovely sound like a continuation of the same song. While the theme of racism against Asians is extremely timely, the treatment is wedded to the 1940’s and seems to be many years late. There is a great deal we do not learn about the characters which leaves holes in the plot. The tale is very derivative of earlier stories with the same tropes: haunted lighthouse (Thunder Rock), boy goes to live with strange relatives (The Grass Harp), malevolent ghosts, one male, one female (The Turn of the Screw), etc.
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Front Row Center
January 24th, 2022

"Overall, Whisper House is a sweet and simple story of acceptance in all its forms: accepting yourself, accepting those around you, accepting your circumstance, and giving yourself the generosity needed to continue to be a beacon of light for yourself and those around you. It’s running at 59E59 through February 6 and worth catching if you are able to."
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Exeunt Magazine
January 20th, 2022

"Jarrow’s play takes very little time to effectively flush out the characters and create meaningful relationships between them. It’s a sharp, economical bit of writing and confirms him, after his stellar work on SpongeBob Squarepants, as an incomparable librettist. We meet Christopher, Lily, and Yasuhiro only at a time of upheaval. We don’t get to know them outside of this, but Jarrow still finds a way to show that there’s a lot more life under these dampened souls."
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