New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Evolution of Mann

From 14 critic and 50 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Clever

About the show

This new musical comedy explores love in all its forms and how to build a lasting relationship in the 21st century.


"The Evolution of Mann" follows Henry Mann, a thirty-something year-old single New Yorker eager to settle down…or so he thinks. After receiving an invitation to his ex-fiancée's wedding, he and his lesbian roommate embark on a quest to find his soulmate, his perfect date. Starring Max Crumm.

1h 30m | Already closed | The Cell (Chelsea)

Pup's Books

“From the opening note, this small musical is a delight...With clever lighting...and an excellent instrumental ensemble...The music is melodious, and well-crafted. The lyrics are consistently funny, tuneful, and to the point. They move the plot along with sometimes wicked humor, while allowing comments and reflections to be made as needed. The orchestration is superb...The cast was extraordinary...All in all, this thoughtful work was stunning, with cheerful music and a happy ending.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"It is a little gem, bearing resemblances to the 'Tales of Hoffmann'...That a musical could be produced at the tiny Cell theater demonstrates creativity writ large...The clever book was written by Dan Elish who also wrote the meaningful lyrics with Douglas J. Cohen, who also composed the music. The music is organic—it conveys what it’s meant to convey, but it’s unlikely you come out whistling any of the tunes." Full Review


“A romantic comedy about dating and love in the 21st century...The cast moves effortlessly amid the scenes with some impressive vocal stylings...The telling of Henry's story is clichéd at times...but thanks to the authenticity of the actors' portrayals, it's easy to invest in the story...’The Evolution of Mann’ has a lot of potential and is a great date musical...Any adult could relate to the heart of this show. It's a witty how-to for establishing lasting relationships.” Full Review


"The writers often veer into clichés, but explore them with freshness and candor, even dealing with Henry's embarrassing reaction when he embraces Christine after their first date ('Hard'). There is one shtick, a much-repeated dirty phone call, that was unnecessary and increasingly annoying. Meant to test one of the character's faithfulness, it just didn't work." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"Offers a cute, sweet, lighthearted look at the familiar theme of one Millennial navigating the ups and downs of relationships...The solid cast is backed from behind the upstage curtain by a tuneful trio...The amusing songs and simple rhymes are consistent in style...A light and fluffy look at contemporary love, fine performances, and a pleasant evening of entertainment." Full Review

Motherhood Later

"The likeable threesome actors are put thru their paces in the 90 minute, no intermission musical comedy, and each is nimbly up to the task. Crumm has a high energy presence and tackles the awkward Henry with full commitment and gusto. Trimm is a chamelion charmer...While offering no major revelations, 'The Evolution of Mann' is entertaining light fare in a cozy space." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"Catchy music and lyrics...The songs that tell the cumulative story are the best part of the show, making more of an impression than the requisite dialogue...’The Evolution of Man’ could use a bit of tightening. It is only 90 minutes...but Henry’s plight and searching begins to feel over-extended. However, the geniality of the cast is steadily pleasing and there is a tidy ending that you may or may not see coming.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A pleasant enough escape for 90 minutes, especially as performed by the likable cast...The music is generic and the lyrics aren't much better, but there are some bright spots in the score...Where writers Cohen and Elish really succeed is in the hilariously groan-inducing musical that Henry is writing based on ‘The Great Gatsby,’ the funniest thing in the show. Also to his credit, Elish writes an ending that, while still hopeful, does not go the completely predictable route.” Full Review

Melinda's Malarky

"Mann's evolution from a self-pitying mess, to a heartless cretin, to a humble and considerate human being is uninspiring. Nonetheless, the talented collaborative musical score & lyrics by Douglas Cohen and Dan Elish offer some uplifting numbers that elevate the overall production...Trimm's impressive singing voice and versatility is notable. Still, much of the musical numbers tend to blend and the story overly sentimental." Full Review

Theater Life

"A moderately well performed but ultimately tired rehash of familiar tropes, with too few original ones…Under Joe Barros's brisk, minimalist staging, sometimes done with choreographic precision, the transparently artificial plot works itself out…It's pleasant enough on the ears but the melodies, most on the upbeat side, are largely in a generic, pseudo-Sondheim mode, too many being sound-alikes. Cohen and Elish's lyrics are usually better than the music." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“If you don’t mind fluff ‘The Evolution of Mann’ is just right for you. The cast is as talented as can be, the direction by Joe Barros, smart, the music tuneful, but I seriously wondered who is this show audience?...Crumm brings more to the character than the script does. Trimm is a wonder bringing a distinctive life to each of the women she plays...It’s not that I didn’t like this show, but I wish they had shown real emotions that just didn’t lie on the surface.” Full Review

Off Off Online

"The greatest strength of 'The Evolution of Mann' is the revolution of its women...Trimm convincingly gives each persona a look, life and sound of her own...Another much-missed presence is that of a choreographer. In lieu of dance steps, we are often served up exaggerated mannerisms and gesticulating arms. Missed chances abound including figuring out something clever to do with the 20-foot-long phone cord that Henry and Gwen have...attached to their wall-mounted landline." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“It feels stuck in its own personal time warp...If the score wanders all over the map in terms of quality, it does have a few nice things...We're supposed to be charmed by the self-involved, immature Henry, but it's an uphill battle...He's a pro, but, really, there's a limit to what anyone can do with this material...The conflicts are forced, the gags are a little moldy, and the behavior of the natives only superficially resembles that of human beings.” Full Review

The New York Times

"The cliché-ridden new musical...Henry’s biggest challenge involves deciding who is meant for him...Common sense dictates the answer, but musicals, and love, don’t run on common sense. Still, watching a handful of romantic comedies for guidance would have saved a lot of anguish...Elish collaborated on the lyrics with Cohen, who composed the bland tunes that never test the cast, but he bears sole responsibility for the book." Full Review

Charming, Heartfelt, Enchanting, Refreshing, Company-esque

See it if you want to hear new songs that are hip (without the hop), sincere and touching and a story that is old, but made new here.

Don't see it if your heart has lost any notion of romance and/or sentiment along the way. This is touching in a way that old movies used to be--finally!

Also It reminded me of Company, in not only content, but I remember seeing ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in quirky characters, some awesome character development, some great songs and some rocking vocals.

Don't see it if if your looking for something super intellectual or you dont like songs at all,

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You enjoy seeing a new original musical comedy that is well directed and has endearing characters.

Don't see it if You hate musicals, need heavy plots and high drama.

Also I went to see this show and had no idea what it was about. But from th... Read more Read less

Cliched, Great staging, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if you like fluffy, funs shows about the ups and downs of dating. Yes, it is cliched but there are some nice twists too.

Don't see it if you are looking for huge laughs, dance numbers or high drama. This small show is cute, pleasant, and charming.

Clever, Funny, Good acting, Delightful

See it if you like funny musicals about the modern search for love

Don't see it if if you don't like romantic comedies or if you get claustrophic in small tight theaters

Ambitious, Good singing

See it if you enjoy shows in intimate venues off-Broadway

Don't see it if you prefer larger musical productions

Funny, Uneven, Unsatisfying, Great acting, Fluffy

See it if you're looking for a fast-paced rom-com on stage.

Don't see it if you're looking for something that has something to say about anything. This is pleasant but not revelatory.

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Great singing, Overrated

See it if You REALLY like this genre and don't want to miss yet another entry into it. Like the cast, they're good.

Don't see it if You want an engaging plot, tuneful clever songs, a show with something new to say. Don't want to see unfunny comedy and filler side plots.

Also This was disappointing. Many previous shows in this genre like First D... Read more Read less

Cliched, Great staging, Ambitious, Fluffy, Resonant

See it if ur curious & b aware it's a limited run; if u want 2 be part of a unique space. if u like 2 see costumes that both current & vintage.

Don't see it if cliche' lyrics r not ur thing; r if sometimes they get to "cutsy"

Also the company gave it their all & each actor was sincere & genuine in hi... Read more Read less

Run of the mill

See it if romantic comedy is your choice of hill to die on.

Don't see it if romantic comedy is not your choice of hill to die on.

Delightful, Clever, Entertaining, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You enjoy seeing something new and clever, and where you get to see 3 performers with genuine talent, and you like good music and lyrics

Don't see it if You need to see millions of dollars splashed out on a stage, rather than a good product


See it if Must see for fans of contemporary musical theatre. Charming and endearing performances. A well crafted 3 hander.

Don't see it if If you are cynical about relationships and young 20 somethings looking for love.

Clever, Funny, Great acting

See it if You love hilarious musical comedies that are not only funny but also reflect the way people seeking relationships behave (and misbehave!)

Don't see it if You're looking for a serious drama or a show with a large cast.

Delightful, Clever, Funny, Great writing, Refreshing

See it if Joyful and “bigger” than the intimate space it was in. Lyrics were smart and funny, music hummable, and better than some Broadway shows.

Don't see it if Don’t see it if you only appreciate over-produced, frothy musicals!

During previews
Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Clever

See it if You're tired of seeing bland musicals based on popular movies. THE EVOLUTION OF MANN takes interesting detours and has a melodic score

Don't see it if It's you're looking for a big splashy mounting (but that's also part of its charm.)

Also I was impressed with the inventive direction and staging. Also, the sc... Read more Read less

During previews
Delightful, Funny, Great singing, Great staging, Very enjoyable

See it if You like musicals. You want to laugh. You want to see a fun, cute, enjoyable performance by a talented cast. You want to enjoy a night out.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals. You don't want to be entertained by a great cast in a great space.

During previews
Great singing, Great acting, Wonderful original songs, Funny, Great staging

See it if you’d appreciate a great score with clever lyrics performed by a dynamic and incredibly talented cast

Don't see it if you’re looking for splashy sets, big production numbers, or a serious drama

Also Max Crumm and Allie Trimm were especially talented vocalists. The stor... Read more Read less

During previews
Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy great singing & acting, a clever book, and spectacular music.

Don't see it if you require a splashy musical with comfortable seats.

Also Seeing this show in this very intimate theater is like digging in the ... Read more Read less

During previews
Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Romantic

See it if you want to see a romantic and charming musical. The actors are spectacular. Great plot and insight into the world of modern dating.

Don't see it if you only want to see big splashy Broadway musicals.

During previews
Clever staging / very entertaining, Cool lighting & projection, Relevant / touching / absorbing, Great singing & acting / fine music & witty lyrics, Funny / sweet / refreshing / enchanting

See it if you like musicals &/or romantic-comedies. Very funny best-friend lite-fare, w/moments of warmth & tenderness. Ok damn-it, I teared-up twice.

Don't see it if you're not into cutesy 'he-better-grow-the-F-up-soon' stories. This one's worth seeing. Ok damn-it, I have a man-crush on Max Crumm. Sue me.

Also Rolled my eyes when we 1st walked into The Cell...... Read more Read less

During previews
Great singing, Great staging, Refreshing, Clever, Funny

See it if You like intimate settings and few characters. You enjoy watching an actor rule his stage. You enjoy actors switching roles onstage.

Don't see it if You need a million characters and giant spectacles. Don't see it if you hate being close to the actors.

Also Sort of a watered-down Company. Great draft but it needs more musical ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Romantic

See it if You want to see a mix of The Last 5 Years, Falsettos, and Friends. Enjoy unabashedly saccharine rom-coms.

Don't see it if You are specifically looking for a piece that will challenge you intellectually or present new ideas to you.

Also "What's the matter with Henry? Nothing at all!" -The Evolution of Mann... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Cliched, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Cute characters, enjoyable music, smart and funny. Cliched theme, but well done. Allie Trimm was captivating in her multiple roles.

Don't see it if You have had enough of 30-something NY'ers seeking soulmates. You don't want to see a small lighthearted musical.

During previews
Great singing, Cute, Quirky

See it if You enjoy a small theatre experience with great singing and typical romcom with some interesting songs

Don't see it if You enjoy big productions with big classic songs

During previews
Delightful, Entertaining, Cliched, Fun

See it if you want to see show with good off-Broadway potential with a little intelligent editing

Don't see it if If you need a fully developed show with a cast with Broadway quality voices.

Also Allie Trimm is brilliant with a wonderful voice and handles her multip... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (11)