Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W

Playing Hot

From 41 member  reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing, Refreshing

About the show

Pipeline Theatre Company presents the world premiere of this jazz concert-party-play hybrid, which takes you inside a brassy New Orleans dance hall, where the untold story of the birth of jazz is brought to life. More…

Retracing the rise and fall of Buddy Bolden, the radical trumpeter who pioneered America's Art Form, "Playing Hot" is neither play nor musical, neither biography nor period piece -- but a singular theatrical event in the style of jazz. With the help of a live brass band, Buddy's legend and infectious sound echo through time, riffing on history and pop culture much like his music riffed on the notes on the page. 

1h 30m | Already closed | Theater 511 (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (41)


Entertaining, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing, Refreshing
Avg Score

Refreshing, Fun & melancholy, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if you want to join a NOLA second line that leads to a dance hall celebration of the origins of jazz & the story of its forgotten originator.

Don't see it if ur not able to stand (& dance) for 90+ minutes & immerse yourself in the uplifting jazz celebration & somber recounting of its tragic OG.

Also This unique immersive piece is a lot of fun, yet still balances the up... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you like jazz music, enjoy to be on your feet and dancing, or immersed in the action.

Don't see it if you're looking for a traditional play. This was a mix of music, dancing, and acting vignettes.

Fun, Absorbing, Dizzying, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if fascinating and tragic true story of a musician lost to history told through music, parade, and live concert venue

Don't see it if don't want to stand--or want an immersive experience.

Also Overall, a tremendous amount of fun and the musicians involved incredi... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Fun, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if you love jazz, love New Orleans, want to learn more about the history of both

Don't see it if you want a fully developed musical; play is many small pieces stitched together

Different, Entertaining, Great music, Great staging

See it if you like a show that uses every part of the room, makes you feel like you are part of the show, enjoy jazz and are interested in its history

Don't see it if you don't like jazz, can't stand thru the show (there are limited seats).

Great singing, Great staging, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you love music and New orleans. A genuinely fun uplifting show teaching us about origins of jazz. Immersive and cleverly staged

Don't see it if If you cant physically stand. Most of the audience is standing throughout the show. And it can be loud (which i liked)

Delightful, Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if you like jazz; you want a hybrid concert/theater experience; you like dancing along with actors

Don't see it if you don't want to stand the majority of the time; you don't want to be encouraged by actors to dance during the musical interludes

Resonant, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if You love jazz. You are interested in the history of the New Orleans music scene. You enjoy being surrounded by the action.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy New Orleans Jazz. You have difficult standing throughout a show.

Resonant, Quirky, Clever, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if You are okay with unorthodox staging, you like live music and interactive theatre and enjoying learning.

Don't see it if You are unable to “give yourself” to a performance; you will be standing, dancing; jostled and if you’re short sometimes you won’t see.

Great staging, Refreshing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You love jazz music and are interested in seeing innovative, immersive storytelling.

Don't see it if You're uncomfortable with standing for a 90 minute show.

Great music, Indulgent, Clever, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you like live music, New Orleans jazz; you're curious about the history of jazz

Don't see it if you don't want to stand for over an hour; you don't want to be forced to dance; you prefer non-interactive shows

Also It's an inventive production of a sad story, and they make the best of... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Cliched, Banal

See it if You're satisfied to endure amateurish theatrics for a dose of expertly done trad jazz...overseen by former Miles Davis man Marcus Miller.

Don't see it if You can't stand (needlessly) for almost the entire show, and cringe at a lead actor who blows great horn but can't really act.

During previews
Part lively, part slow, Awkward, Sad, Great music, Thought-provoking

See it if The lively “dance party” segments are a lot of fun. The musicians are excellent. I learned about an important person in music history.

Don't see it if Music 85 book 65. A sad bio. I stood for most of the time, then sat on a bench for a depressing ending. Dialog & acting were a bit dull.

Also If you are going to go immersive, I think you have to go all out. If t... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you like to be part of the party - marching, dancing, clapping to the beat as the story and the music surround you with highs and lows.

Don't see it if you do not like participating in the action as the design of this production requires you to take part. You don't like to end on a sour note

During previews
Great dancing, Great staging, Entertaining, Ambitious, Clever

See it if Father of jazz is forgotten because he didn't record; but for one night he's celebrated w/ vignettes & dance party.Mash-up Beyonce/DianaRoss

Don't see it if Brass playing "hot (too brightly)" indeed in the tiny former Ars Nova home.Only 2 dance numbers don't justify standing in club w/o seating.

Also Meet in park.Grab beads.Join Dixieland procession for two blocks as th... Read more Read less

During previews
Good music, Overrated, Slow

See it if You'd enjoy the fun "big band" songs that start the show & are played for a bit periodically. The "tour guide" scenes are fun.

Don't see it if You'd feel claustrophobic forced to remain in a tiny "pen" in the center of the theater while 4 stages are used around you.

Also Space is way too small for people to dance and move; you're practicall... Read more Read less

During previews

See it if Tries to piece together the father of Jazz's story, sprinkled with snippets of contemporary commentary. Fun musical interludes.

Don't see it if Very loose story structure, heavy use of stereotypical characters, or uneven acting annoy you. Mostly standing room only (about 10 seats).

Also Ticket from Show Score for $5.

During previews
Great music, Ambitious, Delightful, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if You like jazz, especially brassy jazz, and you're willing to stand for a while

Don't see it if You can't stand through the whole thing and don't feel comfortable boogieing with them.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Entertaining, Ambitious, Great staging

See it if you like jazz music and want to see a fun show. Standing for most of show wasn't bad, since you are always turning to see different scenes.

Don't see it if you don't like dark spaces or jazz music. There are seats for some people, so you can enjoy the show without being in the center standing.

Also I enjoyed the enthusiasm of the show, but I really did not like the en... Read more Read less

During previews
Important story, Entertaining, Dizzying, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you want to learn about the lost father of Jazz, Charles "Buddy" Baldwin. His compelling story and achievement rise above the bipolar book.

Don't see it if you can't stand for more than an hour or don't like being part of the show. Absurd breaks weaken what could otherwise be a powerful story.

During previews
Fluffy, Slow, Quirky, Great jazz music, Ambitious

See it if You love any experimental form; talented actors except the lead (he’s a much better musician than an actor); great live jazz band;

Don't see it if Want a well-directed believable storytelling; the playwright should have done more historical research; too much standing/disco time

During previews
Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Enchanting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want an interactive show that binds music, dance, acting with a story telling of the history of Jazz how it started with Buddy Bolden.

Don't see it if You want a structured play.This is just like the music they played.There are multiple stage, and u stand for the entire show(except the end)

Also From beginning to end, this made me feel like I was in a party. The ac... Read more Read less

During previews
Improvises with buddy bolden's story, Playful with history, Non-actor lead, Lukewarm dramaturgy, Hot band

See it if you love jazz, live music, immersive staging, standing, and a talented assemblage of actors and musicians.

Don't see it if you need story, characters, sitting.

During previews
Ambitious, Energetic, Amateurish, Clever, Great jazz music

See it if You love jazz. You are interested in seeing the work of a young, enthusiastic team.

Don't see it if You are a highly discriminating theater goer. The story is cliched. The acting is uneven. Steals a lot from Jelly’s Last Jam.

Also This is a fun, if amateurish production. It’s a thrill to hear the liv... Read more Read less

During previews
Overrated, Slow, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if You don’t mind wasting time on a very amateurish production of a time in history that really could have been much better.

Don't see it if You are not into New Orleans style jazz and have better things to do.

Also The cast is very talented! What a waste of their talent!

May 2nd, 2019
"Endearingly messy...Offers a composite portrait of Bolden that is decidedly PG and largely good-humored. The show, directed by Bradley, keeps changing viewpoints in an enthusiastic if unruly manner...'Playing Hot' often trips on itself by wanting to take on too much, and some of it borders on ca...
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May 3rd, 2019
“Clearly the work of young, enthusiastic, but relatively inexperienced theater-makers. Johnson and Armento’s book is erratically structured and unintentionally borders on parody. Even the central character...comes across as two-dimensional...Despite these criticisms, I nonetheless still ended up ...
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May 6th, 2019
“It’s almost like the show is a way to actively learn about this lesser-known piece of jazz history while also having a fun evening out...The dance breaks where cast members...encouraging audience members to let loose make for a lively show...The performers are all solid, particularly the musicia...
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