"Their distinctive gifts never manage to merge into any satisfying whole...New York is known as a place where seeming mismatches make for exciting marriages. That hasn’t happened in this case, at least not yet. Though the show officially opened on Sunday night, it was still a work in progress...a little haphazard spontaneity might have been welcome in a show that, despite the melancholy bubbliness of the onstage band, consistently failed to register as fresh." Full Review
"Four hard-working actors, ably assisted by a resourceful costumer and a nimble props master, make a mighty effort to play the 20-plus characters in 'New York Animals.' Steven Sater’s ambitious but disjointed play scores style points for being staged in a basement cabaret, a cool setting for Burt Bacharach songs that sound like no Bacharach songs you’ve ever heard. The sardonic lyrics by Sater suit the caustic tone of the music, but his sketchy vignettes do not a play make." Full Review
"Lacking a cohesive theme, other than that life sucks, the dramatic portions seem to go on forever, with the performers playing so many roles it's difficult to keep track of the characters — not that you have any particular desire to. Thankfully, the original songs by Bacharach provide welcome compensation — even if they have only a vague connection to the dramatic material...No matter how much post-opening tinkering is done, 'New York Animals' looks headed for extinction." Full Review
"The play itself seems to have aged poorly…The idea of cross-sectional commonality with far-fetched, coincidental links seems at least as old as the fax machines and Princess phones that show up frequently in the story...The individual tales are dated, too…And an odd, outdated air of condescension hangs over the entire proceedings…The songs are a wonderful relief but…the relationship between the few, neat songs and the strung-out play is strained and alienating." Full Review
"There are eight million stories in the naked city, and 'New York Animals' can't manage to decently dramatize even one of them…The songs are spiky with attitude and rife with regret, but they may as well be radio waves from Mars for all their relevance to the play that surrounds them…The characters constitute the thinnest of clichés...'New York Animals' is a cab ride to nowhere, a trip filled with talkative bores who can't stop advertising their uninteresting problems." Full Review
"While the show itself has some problems, the production has none at all. It’s a miracle of frugal ingenuity, the kind of mega-ingenious zero-budget staging that makes you wonder why Broadway even bothers…If 'New York Animals' sounds a bit awkward, that’s how it plays, and Mr. Sater’s sketches would profit much from being more pointed…But there’s already much to like about the show, starting with Mr. Tucker’s staging and the performances of the five actors." Full Review
"Although an intriguing attempt, this production was not able to achieve the level of cohesiveness needed to make converging stories transform into one mosaic...There simply is not enough time to dive into the depth of twenty one characters in two hours, some of which is devoted to the inspiring musical numbers...For the present, it might be enough to observe these artists creating, developing, and performing a new work and, ironically, achieving a complex theatrical connection." Full Review
"'New York Animals' is ultimately disappointing, feeling like less than the sum of its parts...Despite the familiarity of the sketches and vignettes, the cast is excellent...'New York Animals' is an ambitious show...Unfortunately, the total product is an uneven blend of wonderful songs and minor dramatic scenes which attempt to create a portrait of a city that is long gone without having anything profound to say about the lives of its inhabitants." Full Review
"'New York Animals' celebrates this complex array of the sad, the lonely, the desperate, the frustrated and, occasionally, the successful or contented...Barsha and Lampert could perform these songs without the interspersed theater and it would be a magical night. But it’s the combination of Sater’s story and the performance of his and Bacharach’s songs that paint a wistful and nostalgic tableaux of an era that one might not have considered, until this telling, to be in the irretrievable past." Full Review
"A lot of Mr. Sater’s characters and situations feel a little too familiar. And while some are better rendered than others, nothing in the play is especially surprising or revelatory. Yet for all its shortcoming this organism has potential. The show is still developing and there is reason to be optimistic. Even as is, on the whole, 'New York Animals' is entertaining, especially for fans of Bedlam." Full Review
"It can be a fine line between archetype and stereotype, but Sater's characterizations tend to the latter while clearly intending the former...It's admirable that they avoided yoking everything to a contrived plot — but they also avoided drama more or less altogether...Sater and Bacharach paint a very monochromatic picture of a many-hued city...You'll probably see a more exotic sampling of Gotham on your walk back to the subway." Full Review
See it if you enjoy being in the middle of the action (NYA is performed thru-out the room's cabaret) and love Bacharach (well sung by Jo Lampert!)
Don't see it if you want insightful sketches about NYers. With millions of stories to choose from, how do you get such unilluminating material?
See it if you want to hear Jo Lampert's stunning vocals plus tunes by Bacharach and Sater. You want to witness Susannah Millonzi's star-making turn.
Don't see it if you need a strong, cohesive book.
See it if you can forgive a uninteresting script to enjoy strong performances, clever staging and good music.
Don't see it if you have had enough of self-absorbed and annoying characters in your daily life or if you've sworn never to sit in cabaret chairs again.
See it if Jo Lampert (and her voice and her haircut and her outfits and her earrings) is astonishingly charismatic and talented. A real find.
Don't see it if I think Bedlam is one of the most brilliant theater companies in NYC but this is a rare misfire from them. Less then the sum of its parts
See it if Fun, sultry music and an ambitious range of performances from small number of actors (all in a suave atmosphere) suits you.
Don't see it if You like clearly defined plots or get squeamish with actors breaking the 4th wall.
See it if you enjoy solid actors playing multiple roles, watching various plot lines weave together, cabaret-style theater, and a jazzy lead singer
Don't see it if you want a coherent plot or script, you feel uncomfortable with sitting in the stage, or you want a fresh perspective on NYC free of tropes
See it if You love really intimate minimal but imaginative staging.talent was really good.
Don't see it if You're looking for a full blown story . these are sketches of NY moments with cabaret style Burt Bacharach interludes that feel a bit disjoi
See it if you enjoy Bacharach music. wonderfully melodic songs beautifully sung by Jo Lampert; hard-working, talented actors. Good band and bandleader
Don't see it if you want something very traditional
See it if you're interested in the intersection of music and theater; a new type of show where music is part of the acting, and vice versa.
Don't see it if You're not interested in original work on the frontier of a new kind of theater. This is an original show; if you want traditional, don't go
See it if you want to experience great performances by a strong cast.
Don't see it if following one actor as multiple characters is difficult or cliched character tropes of 90's New Yorkers hurts your soul
See it if you really need a night out and have time and money to burn.
Don't see it if you're looking for a developed show or for Bacharach music, download his greatest hits and listen to that instead, it'll save you time & $.
See it if you're a fan of the movie "Crash" with a story about a location and not specific characters.
Don't see it if You want good writing, a clear plot, or have sensitivities to subjects of miscarriage/infant loss (which they fail to warn audiences about).
See it if the prospect of having Bacharach back with strong new tunes scintillatingly presented in an exquisite setting makes you purr with pleasure.
Don't see it if the tame book of cliched urban situations stretched out to 2&1/2 hrs will bring out the animal in you. There's nothing meaty on these bones.
See it if you like extraordinary talented group of actors/singers/musicians in a cabaret setting
Don't see it if you want to be uplifted: If you don't like dark skits about lonely people and everything wrong with the living in the city
See it if you enjoy intimate theatre. The skillful blending of the songs with the scenes and the musicians' and actors' performances were lovely.
Don't see it if you are interested in seeing a large scale BROADWAY show and/or you prefer straightforward, linear storytelling.
See it if you like an intimate space, jazz/r&b fused music, & unconventional staging & storytelling.
Don't see it if you aren't willing to wait for the payoff or an complicated plot that doesn't have a big enough payoff.
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