New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Wildness

From 16 critic and 24 member reviews
Members say: Enchanting, Original, Quirky, Entertaining, Edgy

About the show

Ars Nova, in collaboration with The Play Company, presents a new rock fairy tale that explores faith and doubt featuring indie-pop band Sky-Pony. More…

Sky-Pony is known for its highly theatrical live shows. This world premiere takes their unique aesthetic one step further, delivering a narrative-based event that explores the lines between theater, concert and ritual.

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

Times Square Chronicles

"This amazing score is worth the trip alone...The band and the singers are rebellious, free, passionate, talented and inspiring. Chase Brock’s choreography is a lot of fun as are the costumes. 'The Wildness' is directed with such imagination by Sam Buntrock. Not everybody will like this show, but I can guarantee millennials, those who love classic rock and those who love theatre that is expanding, will. I for one adore this show." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"'The Wildness' is super fun. And you should go. It’s sexy, smart, and honest. The aesthetic is one part steampunk, one part Rose Art unicorns, one part Atari, and one part Studio 54…All this plays out in the beautiful Ars Nova space on Kris Stone's long runway of a set. Director Sam Buntrock keeps us moving through the show with expert pace and precision…It’s a wonderful theatrical event worth checking out before it ends its limited run." Full Review


"'The Wildness: Sky-Pony's Rock Fairy Tale' is smart, thoughtful, and exceedingly well-executed, and it ought to be on the short list for a lot of awards this season. If you care about live musical theater — and in particular, live musical theater which only New York can deliver — go see this, as soon as you can." Full Review


"'The Wildness' just may be the most delightful cult meeting you'll ever attend...Cooper and Worsham make for a mesmerizing pair of heroes, balancing mature performance with the childlike innocence of a game of dress up...As these kiddie games gradually merge with the adult 'reality' the company so skillfully builds around our heads, the result is a tragic catharsis that will make you yearn for the simplicity of the past, yet communally embrace the confusion of the present." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The musical takes many twists and turns, shifts its tone on a dime, and delights with unexpected and whimsical meta-theatrics and rituals intended to build community amongst audience and performers...Much credit goes to the director, Sam Buntrock...While some might find the whimsy and emotions of 'The Wildness' a bit overblown, there is much to like in this production and many reasons to hope it’s just the beginning for a show that contains as much heart as it does invention." Full Review

Dramaturg's Diary

"The best work I’ve seen created by self-identified millennial artists has been deeply, achingly sincere. And another perfect example is Sky Pony’s 'The Wildness'...This blurring of fact and fiction–characters who are named for their actors, who are both real, and not real–creates a delightfully sticky and engaging immersive experience...'The Wildness' taps successfully into the sound and feel of the millennial sense of seeking and alienation." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"There’s stuff to be wild about in ‘The Wildness: Sky-Pony’s Rock Fairy Tale'...there’s also stuff not to be so wild about. But this evening of semi-immersive theatre—in which you’re squeezed into Ars Nova’s intimate venue on either side of a planked wooden runway, with TVs, projections, musicians, and lighting instruments all around and practically up your kazoo—is worth a visit, especially if you belong to the target audience of millennials who lapped it up like theatre manna when I attended." Full Review

As Her World Turns

"It’s a very cozy venue and the action took place mere feet in front of me for most of the show — an exhilarating way to experience this music and story. The whole night was imaginative, catchy, and fun. And Lauren Worsham, the co-creator and co-lead, was nearly 8 months pregnant when I saw the end of the show’s run. Her character does not wear much and she owned her body with a fierceness I have not seen on-stage before." Full Review

Village Voice

"This into-the-woods-and-back tale is belted with passion and verve by a great group of singers...The performers make this the rare concert musical that sustains the energy of an actual concert...It's relentlessly affirmative and more than a little wide-eyed, and it substitutes enthusiasm for nuance. But judging by the young people in the audience clapping, dancing, and singing along, it's also the kind of buoying affirmation we all need to hear once in a while." Full Review

The New York Times

"A cross between an exorcism and a wake. The show is also as cuddly as a well-worn plush toy. For in facing down the complexities of being grown-up, which include acknowledging the inevitably of death, 'The Wildness' retreats to the sanctuary of childhood...The production has been smoothly and attractively staged, with neatly synchronized choreography...The show’s treacle content is leavened by the sense of genuine pain that courses through the music toward the end." Full Review

Fuck Yeah Great Plays

"The company stomps and struts down the sparse runway-like set and gives 200% energy to a show that feels light on story at times...I loved seeing a sexy, punk-rockin' pregnant lady giving her all onstage. It’s a very inspiring, glitter-coated femme-positive show in that respect. And despite the hard-candy exterior, the whole thing is shockingly earnest. Only in the final moments, where the fairytale and the real life merge, does everything else snap into context." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"The music is energetic, high-spirited, and clever, if not incredibly memorable; the most interesting songs to me were the two that were quieter and weirder…But the vocal arrangements are terrific…There’s nothing particularly new here, but it still feels fresh and has plenty of charm; its blend of kitsch, camp, genuine emotion, high spirits and sincerity somehow works, perhaps better than it should." Full Review

Off Off Online

"Energetic and well sung, with an electrifying rock score, 'The Wildness' is undermined by a book that cobbles together elements that don’t always blend fluidly...If this sounds silly in the description, it is less so under Sam Buntrock’s excellent direction...Still, the script feels disjointed as it echoes a variety of sources...It only makes one wish that the collage-like book could match the quality of the music and performances in this respectable, if muddled, effort." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Jarrow's music is earnest, catchy and a whole lot of fun, and the company sings the hell of out of it—particularly the excellent Cooper. But it's forced to do all the emotional heavy lifting. 'The Wildness' hammers its fairly simplistic themes into the ground, all while delivering a predictable, half-baked story. It walks ground that's been heavily trodden before, and better." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"By the time the actors passed around a bag of Jolly Rancher candies for us to share, I felt I had had quite enough sugar for the evening...The members of the band are aces, and the director, Sam Buntrock, skillfully guides the action up and down the runway...So talented is everyone involved that one has a nagging feeling that they would be better off creating a more adult entertainment. The faux-innocent, mock-spontaneous tone of 'The Wildness' eventually wears out its welcome." Full Review

Stage and Cinema

"Musical tastes aside, 'The Wildness'' real malignancies reside in the show’s theater elements. The two storylines, the audience participation, the cast’s monologues, their attempts at improv—none of it works…Director Sam Buntrock is unable to get his performers to make the prosaic, sentimental texts work, and watching the actors struggle, it’s difficult not to feel embarrassed. The failure is catastrophic." Full Review

Enchanting, Funny, Must see, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you have a heart, a soul, nostalgia, a brain, a sense of humor, and/or all of the above.

Don't see it if you don't like rock music and you don't like moving stories.

Exquisite, Dizzying, Edgy, Quirky, Riveting

See it if You are adventurous!

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable in crowds.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Resonant, Original, Great staging

See it if you are looking for something quick, immersive, and sentimental.

Don't see it if you are searching for a more traditional, proscenium-based night at the theater.

Enchanting, Epic, Original, Exquisite, Must see

See it if Fun, energetic great songs with interesting storytelling!

Don't see it if You don't enjoy high energy, flashy FUN shows :P

Delightful, Absorbing, Dizzying, Edgy, Must see

See it if you love inventive staging, GREAT singing, original musicals. And/or if you feel a little lost in the world...

Don't see it if intimate (slightly environmental) stagings freak you out, or if you don't like rock musicals.

Absorbing, Original, Enchanting, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if you like indie rock music and intimate, semi-immersive theatre experiences

Don't see it if you're looking for a true musical. It's more like a concert with a plot

Absorbing, Enchanting, Edgy, Great staging, Quirky

See it if you long for your favorite rock band to write a musical, Sky-Pony has done just that. You will be welcomed into their Wildness.

Don't see it if you prefer a solid "4th wall" between yourself and performers. Not for those who desire to watch a show without investing themselves.

Immersive, Blissful, Campy, Fourth wall breaking, Gorgeous

See it if you like fourth wall-obliterating immersive theatre that plays with plot camp beautifully.

Don't see it if experimental musical theatre isn't your thing. Or if you hated the structure of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Clever, Enchanting, Original, Quirky, Funny

See it if You enjoy new musicals on the quirkier side

Don't see it if You dislike immersive-esque theatre or modern rock-pop

Energizing, Original, Entertaining, Clever, Great singing

See it if you're down to be woken up by excited performers with extraordinary voices in a non-conventional way of storytelling with music

Don't see it if -you're looking for traditional storytelling or a typical musical format -you like a seamless relationship between the music and the play

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant, Quirky, Enchanting

See it if a whimsical, interactive, thought-provoking rock musical sounds interesting.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy shows with audience participation or intimate, up-close settings.

Dizzying, Great staging, Punk-rocking, Intimate, Enchanting

See it if you've ever felt like an outsider in search of your community; you like fantasy, intimacy, rocking shows, and want to shed a tear or two.

Don't see it if you like complex, linear narratives, naturalistic settings, and can't abide a little earnestness; you don't like being interacted with.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Edgy, Quirky, Original

See it if You are looking for something a little out of the box. Part fairy tale. Part rock show with some audience interaction thrown in there.

Don't see it if If you more classic shows.

Entertaining, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if You like non-traditional theater You want to have fun

Don't see it if You are afraid of knives and blind folds :-) You care if a performance is a play or rock show You like comfy seats removed from the action

Entertaining, Ambitious, Original, Refreshing, Pregnant belly deserves its own credit

See it if you like audience interaction, breaking of the fourth wall, a modern - slightly hard to follow fairy tale.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a heavily pregnant person, you don't like loud music or need a definitive plot.

Enchanting, Fuzzy, Quirky, Unmemorable, Tuneful

See it if a scintillatingly played, fetchingly designed, tuneful musical packed into a room small enough to feel like a private party rocks yr world.

Don't see it if a weak story, thin characters, forgettable songs & an overriding tameness will kill your buzz, esp if you aren't into generic rock music.

Youthful, Great set, Unengaging plot, "just ok" score, Appealing cast

See it if you're ok seeing talented actors and musicians having a great time in a cool space, w/0 a story that makes you care. Some nice moments.

Don't see it if You prefer real stakes; the "fairy-tale" positioning doesn't excuse the dull plot. If you're offended by a very pregnant, prominent belly!

Confusing, Entertaining, Edgy, Original, Quirky

See it if You like immersive theatre, really good music, and a modern twist on fairy tales.

Don't see it if You dislike interacting with performers, or don't care for visually and aurally loud shows.

Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting, Exquisite, Relevant

See it if you enjoy live music, fantastical stories

Don't see it if you don't enjoy immersive theatre

Enchanting, Entertaining, Ambitious, Original

See it if You are into excellent rock music and a story that everyone can relate to -- presented in a non-traditional setting by very talented people

Don't see it if You are looking for a tired and traditional theater experience. This is not theater's for your mom's theater club.

Entertaining, Edgy, Masterful

See it if You love loud and great music and interactive entertainment.

Don't see it if You want a quiet and pensive kind of theatre.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if You enjoy awesome singers! Engaging - immersive storytelling

Don't see it if You don't enjoy awesome theatricality -

Resonant, Refreshing, Original, Confusing, Manipulative

See it if you love original rock musicals and radical fairy tales.

Don't see it if you like understanding the meta-story...much is made of the "creation" of the piece, but little meaning or resonance lands. A lot of telling

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Original, Breaks boundaries

See it if you enjoy theatre that veers away from the conventional. "The Wildness" is definitely a show that breaks the boundaries of musical theatre.

Don't see it if you do not like experimental theatre. Also, if you do like the conventional in your choice of theatre.

Cast & Creatives (19)