New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

Rags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future

From 10 critic and 56 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Relevant

About the show

Ars Nova presents this world premiere sci-fi folk concert set 250 years in the future.  More…

You might not remember the last time Beaux Weathers and her band played, but Rags Parkland does. Back for an intimate, one-night-only gig, Rags will play the revolutionary songbook that carried us to where we are today. Meet the music that powered the change. Join The Future.

1h 30m | Already closed | Ars Nova (Midtown W)


“One of the most surprisingly delightful and imaginative musicals of 2018...’Rags Parkland’ does cultural appropriation the way it ought to be done, which is to remix, reimagine, and reposition pre-existing forms to create something wholly original...We realize the immense wonder of Butler's galaxy as the evening progresses...Butler and Fein tantalisingly tease out the world beyond the room...Powerful performances make these circumstances feel real." Full Review

Theater Reviews from my Seat

“This musical cleverly conjures a future world and the song lyrics reflect on those times...The conceit is original, thrilling, topical and timely...The lyrics are poetic and deep with truly memorable, occasionally haunting storytelling that demands focused listening. Packed with talented performers, the cast is committed to this show...As a result, this musical is simply out of this world terrific...Wholly unique and effortlessly satisfying, this new musical is a winner on any theatrical pla... Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Provocative and devastatingly smart...You will no doubt be blown away. And I mean that in the best possible way as I attempt within this review to reveal nothing except an idea of the electric magnificence that explodes from that cramped stage...It’s a deeply immersive weaving of rebel politics and simple passion for existence sung from a futuristic time. It’s drenched in old American folk music directed with style and emotional connectivity." Full Review

The New York Times

"A show for men, women, and any sentient robots passing through...A little musical with big, sad, beautiful ideas. It packs so much story into so little space that physicists will quail...This fusion of folk and science fiction is niftily sui generis...Butler’s music, a plangent folk style that broadens into roots rock, makes just about every syllable count. The show’s construction is so deft and its narrative so tantalizing that breathers are almost unbearable." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Butler is a master at fusing futuristic concepts like the civil rights of cyborgs with anthems that spark righteous anger and empathy...He has been developing this show for eight years, and that dedication has paid off with a glorious, deeply felt score that moves beyond folk to include R&B and classic rock...Rags may be crooning about the fights of tomorrow, but Butler is clearly planted on today's battleground." Full Review

Off Off Online

"The score includes clever references, melodic and chromatic, to such past masters as Guthrie, Dylan, Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash and, especially, Young, without undercutting the originality of Butler’s musical sound...Butler is a formidable presence, who connects immediately with the audience and doesn’t so much sing as act his solos with the emotional intricacy of a seasoned musical-theater performer...A captivating, toe-tapping fiction." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"A streak of dark humor runs through the play, but its message is dead serious and perennially timely. There’s no story to spoil, but to describe the evening’s turns and divagations in too much detail is to steal a little of its flame...'Rags Parkland' traces, in a scant 90 minutes, nothing less than the birth of an artist. Heady stuff for a sci-fi folk concert, but 'Rags' is never ponderous or morose...Most importantly, the music rocks....The cast’s musicianship is uniformly stellar." Full Review


“Provocative, thoroughly entertaining musical...What is played during the 90-minute musical is a kick-ass 13-song set list. Butler and the musician/actors contributors the score play a wonderful mix of rock, jazz, blues and torch songs...Butler’s Rags is a born troubadour. Sargeant’s Beaux is a powerful presence with a powerhouse voice...While Broadway plays it safe with jukebox musicals and movies-into-musicals ‘Rags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future’ sings for its life – and wins.” Full Review


“In this sci-fi folk musical, Rags and the band, The Future, bring music to life in a world where it has been criminalized and in a time when even applauding such things can be treasonous...The show is a concert...There is little backstory...As Rags sings, the audience is swept away on a journey...Butler has created a world that is rich and fully-formed, and chosen to present the story in the most immersive way possible...It is a testament to the power of song.” Full Review


“Butler’s quirky concept is pleasurably realized by the intense efforts of the ensemble and the accomplished technical team...Fein’s polished staging combines straightforward musical performance sequences with energetic flourishes...Sargeant is dynamic...with her powerful vocals and soulful presence...Like the best of sci-fi, ‘Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future’ has thoughtful allusions to the present while being wonderfully entertaining.” Full Review

Delightful, Masterful, Refreshing, Quirky, Dynamic

See it if You like Sci-Fi, Bob Dylan Concerts, and or Heartstrings being tugged at

Don't see it if you can't stand seats without backs/ you clap on 1 (just leave!)/ you bully star trek or star wars nerds

Also Andrew Butler is a genius.... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Delightful, Progressive

See it if you want to feel empowered, enjoy Folk music, enjoy SciFi, and FYI - this is top 3 of 2018

Don't see it if you expect a pure musical - it’s kind of a concert / musical. But FYI everyone that we’ve talked to loved it.

Great singing, Masterful, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if You want to see what would happen if a few blade runner replicas & a couple of human forms formed an underground folk jazz rock band.

Don't see it if You don’t like folk jazz rock music and quirky storylines

Also This should have an ongoing life. This show was so brilliant and capti... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Absorbing, Great singing, Great staging, Must see

See it if You like sci fi that expects an intelligent audience and doesn't explain, warm and compassionate grooves, and interstellar protest music.

Don't see it if You need plot explanations, you don't like sci fi, you like tidy resolutions, you're conservative or don't like thinking in the theater.

Also This show was incredible. Immersive without making your audience runni... Read more Read less


See it if you enjoy being enveloped by a truly "complete" show, enjoy intimate connection, and rapturous screams, shouts, and forlorn toots.

Don't see it if you dislike immersive environments and non-traditional scores

Also A tight, remarkable new piece with a kickass cast. The connection that... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing, Intelligent

See it if A great time bending musical. Emotionally resonant. Very well acted, sung, played. Perfect in our current political climate.

Don't see it if You don’t like intimate theater with depth.

Clever, Great singing, Epic, Refreshing, Quirky

See it if you want to see an uplifting, kinda-concert/kinda-play evening of theatre infused with revolution, sci-fi, wonderful songs, & love

Don't see it if you don't like blues- or folk-inspired music, or smiling, or joy. Or mentions of robots. Or humorous/thoughtful veiled political undertones

Great singing, Relevant, Intimate, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if Outstanding folk rock concert. Oppressed outcasts in the future struggle to express their humanity. Small space with great acoustics.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy folk rock, or science fiction that is relevant to today's politics. Buy a reserved seat or bring a cushion.

Delightful, Edgy, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if you like good experimental shows that really work and are affecting and moving

Don't see it if You want a traditional musical from the 1950s

Also I came not knowing what to expect, but I trust Ars Nova as a producer ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Enchanting, Great singing, Resonant, Clever

See it if ur a fan of blending genres. A sci-fi folk concert evokes Whedon's Firefly vibes. Surprisingly poignant and political. Great world-building

Don't see it if you want story to be plainly presented. You're looking for a traditional musical

Clever, Great singing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You like a little bit of sci-fi mixed in with your evening of musical rebellion.

Don't see it if You want a straight forward musical, are politically conservative, or want really comfortable seats.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Relevant, Resonant, Quirky

See it if If you want something unique, new, and totally engaging; if a folk musical about robots sounds awesome; if you want to feel a bunch of stuff

Don't see it if If you need huge productions; if you need extensive choreography/direction; if strobe lights affect you

Also Wow, I really enjoyed Rags Parkland! It took kind of an odd premise (3... Read more Read less

Exquisite, Intense, Quirky, Resonant, Enchanting

See it if You want to experience something together.

Don't see it if You’re not ready for a perfect evening.

Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Quirky

See it if You love a great score and the idea of a folk-punk Blade Runner riff is appealing.

Don't see it if You need a Disney Princess in your musicals.

Great singing, Great songs, Clever and original

See it if Thrilling and thoughtful music. Dynamic and moving performances. Original conceit-underground nightclub 300 years in the future.

Don't see it if Only six performers. Very small performing space. Not a show so much as rock/folk-opera. No sets, and very in your face proximity.

Also When a lot of talent and creativity explodes in a small space you are ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Edgy, Quirky, Great singing, Funny

See it if you want something "different" and edgy and are OK with what amounts to a story told through songs (

Don't see it if you are looking for traditional musical theater

Also An imaginative, quirky story told through song. Imagine it's 250 years... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Profound, Resonant

See it if You want to experience innovative, beautiful new work that helps chart a new course for what musical theater can be.

Don't see it if You’re more concerned with ‘following what happened’ than ‘how did it make you feel’. This requires viewing outside a traditional lens.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Black women saved it

See it if You enjoy a good sci-fi story and want the chance to shout with your fellow audience.

Don't see it if You're not into folk. I'm not and while there were moments of the music that did it for me, I still found myself disconnected often.

Great music, Great singing, Entertaining, Relevant, What fun!

See it if you like folk music, a sci-fi story with romantic and political elements, incredible musicians & wonderful voices

Don't see it if you need an elaborate stage (there really is none) or plot that is clearly described; you don't like folk music or fun

Also Only disappointment is that there was no CD to purchase.

Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if Good music weaved through a story worth thinking about.

Don't see it if Small intimate settings aren't for you

Entertaining, Delightful, Great singing, Refreshing, Exciting

See it if you like feeling the bass through the floorboards. Guitar, banjo, accordion, sax, harmonica! Some cowbell! Focus is world-building, not plot

Don't see it if you’re too cool for the empire vs the resistance storyline; dislike concert-narrative hybrids with minimal sets & staging

Also Could (should) absolutely turn into a bigger musical. The songs are al... Read more Read less

Great singing, Clever, Intense

See it if you like a complete music theater package. The music was good, the script was good, i wish it came together better

Don't see it if you don't like an immersive environment or unusual music scores.

Absorbing, Great singing, Refreshing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you want to see a refreshing new musical with sci-fi premise. Great songwriting by Andrew Butler, powerhouse performance by Stacey Sargeant

Don't see it if you don't like folk and indie rock styles of music, prefer elaborate productions. Immensely entertaining but story is actually sad & tragic.

Great singing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if you you like immersive theater and connecting with performers

Don't see it if you prefer traditionally structured shows

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Relevant, Great singing

See it if The future is now ... music transcends time

Don't see it if Far from the traditional

Cast & Creatives (13)