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Ghost Quartet

From 10 critic and 54 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Absorbing, Quirky, Clever, Enchanting

About the show

New York Theatre Workshop presents this surreal chamber musical from Dave Malloy ('Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812') in which murder ballads, doo-wop, jazz noise, and raucous campfire drinking songs collide. More…

'Ghost Quartet' is a haunted song cycle about love, death, and whisky. A camera breaks and four friends drink in a quartet of interwoven narratives spanning seven centuries: a warped fairy tale about two sisters, a tree house astronomer, and a lazy evil bear; a retelling of Poe's 'The Fall of the House of Usher;' a purgatorial intermezzo about Scheherazade; and a contemporary fable about a subway murder. Featuring 'The Great Comet' stars Brittain Ashford and Gelsey Bell. Ages 21 and up only.

British Theatre Guide

for a previous production “Anybody within reach of Edinburgh should not miss out on this delight. The show is impossible to categorize. Is it a concept album played live, a musical, a theatrical performance or a concert? It is all of these and none…An intoxicating 70 minutes…A remarkable finale…The atmosphere may be dark but it is always playful and tuneful, aided by the presence of four fine musicians…It may not be easy to categorize but 'Ghost Quartet' should be on everyone’s must see/hear list.” Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production “A happily haunted song cycle…Directed with unobtrusive cunning by Tippe…On occasion the whimsy threatens to thicken to the clotting point. But the show never slows down enough to lose you, because Mr. Malloy is so infectiously in love with the dark arts of storytelling in all its forms…One of the most ingenious and affecting finales I’ve come across in years…Let’s just say that Mr. Malloy and company find new ways for guaranteeing that this exultant production’s melody lingers on.” Full Review

New York Post

for a previous production “Musically, Malloy reaches equally wide, his score an ingenious patchwork of folk, rock and jazz. But the best way to enjoy the show is to simply lose yourself in its otherworldly atmosphere, which easily goes from surreal to eerie, from touching to playful…Annie Tippe’s staging seems simple, but is actually ingenious…The finale is even better, one of the most wonderful staging coups of the season and too wonderful to be spoiled.” Full Review

Time Out New York

for a previous production “There’s not a linear story to follow, but the material coheres on a rich, intuitive level. Far less theatrical and character-based than Malloy’s ‘Great Comet of 1812’ this is an experiment in mood and evanescence, a chance to get inside the singer-songwriter’s head and savor the superb musicianship of his collaborators…They turn the Bushwick Starr into a cozy den of antique lamps and Persian rugs...Maybe like me, you’ll want to make it your regular haunt.” Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production “‘Ghost Quartet’ is nothing if not complex. But in its tangled web lies deep, dark magic as many ghosts emerge into the light…The whole thing is almost literally entrancing, as you strain to catch meaning while simultaneously reveling in the sheer fertility of creation on offer. The performers are superb musicians and compelling performers. My only reservation was how much of the show took place in near darkness.” Full Review

Three Weeks Edinburgh

for a previous production "Dave Malloy’s ‘Ghost Quartet’ feels like a dream and a nightmare: overwhelmingly beautiful, complex, soulful and gripping. I’m still not sure what it’s about though, as the narrative itself is kept purposefully vague...This emotional resonance is backed up by incredibly talented musical orchestration. The show brilliantly oscillates between musical genres, displaying an incredible variety of instruments and stunning vocal abilities...Absolutely lost for words." Full Review

The Wee Review

for a previous production “A thoroughly enjoyable musical theatre performance that captivates and entertains…The musicianship on display is magnificent and majestic…At times the story does get a little bit lost in all the music and buoyant disorder that is being played out on the stage…An inventive show that combines upbeat folk music and twisted storytelling with haunting and beautiful results. The story is enjoyable and the songs memorable.” Full Review

Broadway Baby

for a previous production “A spellbinding song cycle-come-musical…The story feels summoned somewhere in the air between them, an electrifying presence, untethered to conventional blocking and choreography…As a narrative, however, it falls back on quite procedural motifs, and is difficult to piece together in the live setting, especially with so little staging. Whilst the whole is hard to assemble, 'Ghost Quartet' never loses its audience. Moment by moment, the vocals are full of mood and conviction.” Full Review

The Scotsman

for a previous production “The four musicians not only sing but play a dazzling range of instruments between them. Bell and Ashford create some devastatingly fine harmonies...They manage to create a sense of intimacy and mystery. Casting their spell over the audience, they invite us into their weird, melodic, occasionally disturbing world and send us out into the Edinburgh night just a little bit haunted.” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production “It's an intoxicating blend of lyrics and sounds...There is a rich vein of dark humour both in the lyrical exchanges and in the use of unfamiliar instruments…While there is no strict narrative, the characters are luridly crafted...Principal vocalists Ashford and Bell have complementary yet contrasting styles, but it's Malloy's engrossing songwriting skills that are the focus here. Try to imagine a song cycle curated by Tim Burton and directed M Night Shyamalan.” Full Review

Epic, Great singing, Clever, Delightful, Absorbing


Don't see it if No. See it

Thought-provoking, Must see, Great singing, Ambitious

See it if You like the cast. You like Dave Malloy's music. You don't need a straightforward plot.

Don't see it if You need a plain plot or fully staged show. You don't like experimental shows. You're afraid of the dark.

Also More brilliance from Dave Malloy. Indescribable.

Exquisite, Riveting, Great singing, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if You love live acoustic music, dreamy otherworldly experiences, A plus level singer/songwriter talent, and great story telling in an intimate

Don't see it if You like crap like Phantom of the Opera or Cats.

Must see, Refreshing, Intelligent, Clever

See it if you are a fan of dave malloy and have an open appreciation for all genres of music

Don't see it if you are expecting a linear story which much character development

Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Great singing, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if You love great singing, music, and storytelling in intimate settings.

Don't see it if You dislike complex plots, or if you only enjoy large scale productions.

Also If you can snag tickets, get them! We enjoyed every minute of this sho... Read more Read less

Must see, Masterful, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Clever

See it if you are a Dave Malloy fan, appreciate non-traditional storytelling and a superb score

Don't see it if you have issues being in complete darkness, want a more linear story

Also I only took one point off for the floor cushions - they weren’t the co... Read more Read less

Riveting, Quirky, Great staging, Great singing, Delightful

See it if you love theatre!This is another Dave Malloy gem.Funny.Beautifully written & performed.Intimate setting.Totally involving.LOVED it.

Don't see it if you are dead!This show is as good as it gets.The run is sold out for a very good reason.This is brilliant.It's the next great thing. GO!!!!!

Haunting, Enchanting, Riveting

See it if you are a fan of great music and are looking for a unique theatregoing experience.

Don't see it if you are afraid of the dark. There is a decent portion of the show in pitch blackness.

Also This show isn't a typical show. It used music, lighting, and bits of s... Read more Read less

Must see, Great singing, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if You are looking for something different - can enjoy quirky, non-linear storytelling

Don't see it if You want a fully staged production - have qualms about sitting in total darkness for several minutes

Also It might be more of a concert - but the singing and the story/stories ... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Riveting, Ambitious

See it if Atmosphere and intimacy can sweep you away in the words and theatrics of a song-cycle.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with unconventional lyrics and storytelling.

Hilarious, Intelligent, Great singing, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you are a Dave Malloy fan, if you want to see a play that is so intimate that it seems that is been played at someone's living room

Don't see it if if you don't like nonlinear narratives, if you are afraid of the dark

Resonant, Epic, Intelligent, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You love Dave Malloy and want to hear more of his imaginative work

Don't see it if Murky plot frustrates you, if you need to know every single thing that happening

Absorbing, Exquisite, Must see, Great singing, Enchanting

See it if You know/love any of the 4 incredibly talented cast members, want a transformative unique theatre experience, to listen to gorgeous voices

Don't see it if You want a clear, linear plot, are uncomfortable in darkness, or don't like interacting with actors in close proximity.

Must see, Entertaining, Absorbing, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if You love Dave Malloy (esp his storytelling and theatre works), Brent Arnold, Brittain Ashford, and Gelsey Bell and very intimate settings

Don't see it if you are afraid of the dark (entire act 3 is played in the dark), don't like non-linear storytelling or small scale productions

Also I think a lot of people come into Ghost Quartet thinking it will be li... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Quirky, Great singing, Exquisite

See it if you love Dave Malloy's music, unique and intimate theatrical experiences, spooky/ghost stories, or whiskey.

Don't see it if you want a show with a simple plot.

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound

See it if you like ghosts, fairy tales, past lives, highly talented musicians, indie-folk-rock music, and an innovative, compelling story.

Don't see it if you don't like confusing and complex story lines, non-conventional staging and harmonies.

Intense, Must see, Edgy

See it if you love a delicious spooky story, super-intimate settings, and good whiskey

Don't see it if you need splashy visuals or a neat, linear storyline

Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Great writing, Exquisite, Enchanting

See it if Wonderfully meta, and non-linear. Amazing if you are interested in experimentation in musicals. Great ghost story.

Don't see it if You dislike things that can be a bit "weird" or you need things to be linear.

Quirky, Great singing, Enchanting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you're looking for something different, with music and incredible storytelling through those songs - but not a musical by any means.

Don't see it if you can't follow a complicated plot (though it seems simple by the end!) and want clear characters and literal staging.

Riveting, Must see, Quirky, Confusing, Haunting

See it if you're a fan of Malloy, Comet, & co. Or gorgeous singing and folksy tunes. If you've ever wanted to drink bourbon at a wonderful show.

Don't see it if You want a linear narrative or consistent story. This Quartet veers wildly through time, styles, and characters.

Also To borrow a phrase from Tony Kushner, I spent most of this show on the... Read more Read less

Must see, Masterful, Great writing, Great staging, Great singing

See it if You love seeing dazzling performers weave you into an intimate evening of haunting otherworldly mystery.

Don't see it if you prefer linear plots.

Absorbing, Quirky, Confusing, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You're in for an immersive experience. Listen to the songs beforehand, so it'll be easier to follow the different characters and timelines.

Don't see it if You don't like nonlinear stories. (Or if you're afraid of the dark--there is one scene in near-total darkness)

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Dizzying, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You love seeing an intimate, low-budget group create a sweeping story -- with almost no visuals to boot

Don't see it if You're looking for a musical that's not asking you to do a lot of its heavy lifting

Also I was haunted for weeks afterwards not just by the story this show tol... Read more Read less

Quirky, Dreamy, Masterful, Great singing, Enchanting

See it if The beautiful and mysterious in magical environment attracts you. Or you like whiskey with your theater.

Don't see it if You want a linear plot and predictable characters.

Original, Beautiful singing, Intricate storytelling, Spellbinding

See it if Inventive weaving of several haunting stories told in song & music by wonderfully attuned cast. Blends of folk, soul, jazz music create...

Don't see it if ...sort of concept album of eerie old & new tales. No linear plot but it doesn't really matter if the stories confuse you. Super finish too!

Cast & Creatives (10)