Already closed | 1h 20m | Chelsea

Bars and Measures

From 54 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Relevant, Intense

About the show

Centering around two African American brothers, this new drama from Urban Stages explores the love of music, brotherhood, and faith. More…

From the show:

Bars and Measures tells the story of two African American brothers. One a classical pianist, concert performer, educator. The other a jazz bass player/composer. One a Christian. The other a Muslim. One living in freedom. The other in jail. Separated by bars, the brothers try to reconcile their differences through the language they know best. Music!!! A journey through faith, family, melody and time.

1h 20m | Already closed | Urban Stages (Chelsea)

Member Reviews (54)


Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Relevant, Intense
Avg Score

Strong singing/acting, Ambitious, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if you're interested in music (jazz, classical), sibling bonds, entrapment, Islam, prisons, romance. Strong performances bolster uneven script.

Don't see it if you want a clear take-away. Muddy ending. At times slow, awkward. But enjoyable music/interesting story. Nice set in nice small theater.

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Intelligent, Intense, Relevant

See it if You’ve had conflicting feelings about Christian/Muslim relations, government intrusion-especially since 9/11. If you enjoy jazz even better.

Don't see it if You want only rainbows and unicorns in your life. This is a big slice of serious. Entertaining. Well written and acted. Some great music.

Also There’s a lot to like here. Everyone brought their A-game. Not just a ... Read more Read less

Cliched, Thought-provoking, Overrated, Great staging

See it if If you want very good staging, acting was also good. A story of 2 brothers/ different religions talking and philosophizing about life & rel.

Don't see it if Islamic rants are not your thing. It takes approach that they are victims which is confusing. If you dont like political shows.

Creative, Thought-provoking, Angry, Complex, Relevant

See it if Two brothers try to carry on their relationship through music, but deeper issues of trust & betrayal prevail. Complex realistic themes.

Don't see it if You expect more music. This is an angry play, with a lot of shouting and little humor. I liked the few softer moments.

Intense, Fabulous music, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if a creative approach to family drama entices you. The music is marvelous both for itself & for the connection it creates between characters

Don't see it if jazz is not your thing or sibling issues are triggering for you.

Play w music: based on true story of trial & conviction of black muslim jazz musician, tells interesting story of brothers separated by politics, joined by music

See it if powerfully illustrates how US prison system mistreats Muslim w controversial political views; actors talented musicians

Don't see it if meandering; story arc predictable; music could be used more effectively/see below

Also Music is used as a central element of the story, serving as the backdr... Read more Read less

Cliched, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting

See it if you have the view that"someone" flew into the towers on 9//11. One brother keeps giving reasons why he gave money to a terrorist group.

Don't see it if you believe that there is no excuse for giving money or support to terrorists or if you don't like political rants.

Also I liked the way jazz was used. In the beginning of the play, music bro... Read more Read less

Fluffy, Slow

See it if You want to see a play that deals with the relationship between two brothers, one of them is incarcerated

Don't see it if You are expecting the music to capture you

Also While I don’t like musicals I do like plays with music in them. I was ... Read more Read less

Great set/lighting, Absorbing, Musically interesting, Nicely staged

See it if Like jazz. Story of 2 bros w musical bond that bridges their religious/world view differences. Interesting POV of an unexplored subject.

Don't see it if Want something light. Need clear dramatic resolution. The script has holes but effective staging throughout keeps it interesting.

Resonant, Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if Two terrific performances in a small play that really packs a punch.

Don't see it if If you want fluff, this is not for you

Also The play has just been extended.

Great acting, Great writing, Refreshing, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if Powerful & timely drama on the topic religious bigotry against Islam. Playwright shares the lives of 2 close gifted brothers & Jazz.

Don't see it if You feel uncomfortable about Islam, this is not your play

Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intense, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a solid and relevant piece of theatre produced by a wonderful company.

Don't see it if You dislike plays about musicians wherein the actors do not have the technical abilities to convincingly play the music.

Also “It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Great staging, Great acting, Profound, Absorbing

See it if you like complex life stories based on real life events; enjoy musical components blended into the script;

Don't see it if you get upset by themes involving prisons or Islam; or only enjoy upbeat themes as this play can be heart-breaking at times.

Also All four actors were very talented. Shabazz Green and Roderick Lawrenc... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if This show powerfully touches on music, criminal justice, race and religious conflict and really makes you think while holding your interest.

Don't see it if If only light breezy entertainment holds your interest, maybe you should pass on this one, but you'll be missing a strong experience

Great acapela jazz, Misinformed & misleading script

See it if you like jazz, & would like show on 2 brothers' testy relationship, 1 Muslim, charged w/ terrorism. Great set.

Don't see it if you're sick of theater laced with political rants & lies, or know anything about Islamic ideology & its basic commitment to violent jihad.

Also A large percentage of alleged post-9/11 attacks on Muslims, later expo... Read more Read less

Bars above par

See it if Nice contrast of brothers drifting apart, yet still bonded by a common love of music. Venue feels like meeting an old friend.

Don't see it if Mentally exhausted by yet more Muslim characters and their complicated relationships to the US. Tip of the iceberg. My patience is waning.

Also My expectations were greatly exceeded. I liked the early banter and la... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Intense

See it if So Entranced by the music, that took me a while to be involved in nuanced story. Well written, excellent acting-particularly brothers

Don't see it if Want simple singular story and clear bad guys ( although there are some here).

Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Cliched

See it if family,religion are not just an empty sound for you. If you were/are in a similar situation and want to be devoted to your relatives

Don't see it if Dislike music, prison talks, all Muslim whatsoever, black box theatre,small lobby, etc,etc

Biographical, Contained, Sincere, Political, Topical

See it if you appreciate "based-on-a-true-story" scenarios involving two brothers; you dig music as a metaphor (esp. in regards to classical and jazz)

Don't see it if you're fairly socially aware and looking to deepen your knowledge of the prison-industrial complex or our country's rampant Islamophobia.

Also Memorable Quote: "How do you pray for your enemy with broken hands?"

Confusing, Great casual singing, Great acting

See it if into a show about Jazz, Islam and brotherly dynamics

Don't see it if hmmm... I thought this ultimately has a niche appeal

Also The best part was the wonderfully-naturalistic acting and lovely casua... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a drama about the love of music 2 African American brothers share, & the politics and religion that separates them

Don't see it if You want to see a comedy or musical, not interested in jazz, politics and religion or easily offended by profanity

Great singing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Ulike jazz&complex relation betwee 2 bros:one,a Christian, classical pianist living in freedom&the other,a Muslim jazz playerliving in jail*

Don't see it if Uninterested in multicultural plays outside your own niche;you expect a documentary, do not go.It is a PLAY w partially fictionalized story.

Also *Well written, acted and directed.... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you like plays featuring jazz, brotherhood, and the experience of Muslims in the criminal justice system.

Don't see it if you're expecting a full-on musical or even just a play with music. The jazz scenes are sumptuous, but not enough if that's all you want.

Also It's an unusual combination of topics, but indeed this play is based o... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Great writing

See it if A wonderful exploration of feelings fears family and profound interactions expressed in word and music. We take this journey together

Don't see it if This is excellent intelligent theater which invites the audience to think and question Maybe you’d prefer something lighter and fun?

Great play & acting + the skat singing was a treat!, Must see, Great writing, Riveting

See it if you like plays about familial conflict, social justice and jazz music.

Don't see it if ...can't think of a reason why anyone would not like to see this play.

Also The performances of the cast were great. This play reminded me so much... Read more Read less

October 29th, 2019
"Notes From Jail: Jazz unites two brothers, one accused of plotting terrorism, in Idris Goodwin’s play."
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October 27th, 2019
"To a large degree, 'Bars and Measures' is a play of ideas. It is not necessarily the kind of play that puts you through an emotional wringer. But it may make you think about your allegiance to members of your own family and to consider at what point blood may no longer seem thicker than water."
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October 29th, 2019
"Includes several interesting developments but it also has questionable contrivances…Seemel’s production elicits perhaps half of the emotion possible in this fraternal and political environment. I suspect…there’s a lot more passion…than this too measured production is conveying."
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Cast & Creatives (3)