Twelfth Night (The Public Theater)
Closed 1h 30m
Twelfth Night (The Public Theater)
85

Twelfth Night (The Public Theater) NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(112 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
4%
Negative
2%
Members say
Entertaining, Delightful, Great singing, Clever, Refreshing

About the Show

The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park presents a re-imagining of Public Works’ 2016 musical adaptation of 'Twelfth Night.'

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Member Reviews (112)

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80
Exuberant, Delightful, Clever, Diverse, Joyful

See it if you want to feel better abt humanity. While TN doesn't closely follow WS, Taub's musical captures its essence. You'll find yourself smiling.

Don't see it if you only like traditional WS...or dislike musicals...or only like professional actors on stage. The aim here is different and it succeeds! Read more

78
Fun, Entertaining, Creative, Great music

See it if Great musical reimagining of the classic. Very fun and fast paced. Keeping the best/doing away with the rest.

Don't see it if You want your Bard served classic.

Critic Reviews (37)

The New York Times
July 31st, 2018

"A sweet alternative reality...summoned by Kwei-Armah and Eustis, and Taub...What they and their team have conjured is a Platonic ideal of the crazy salad that is New York City in the silly season...Taub and Kwei-Armah have extended the original play’s consideration of the ambiguities of identity to address an age in which the divisions between sexes and classes paradoxically feel both more porous and unbridgeable than ever....It’s empathy that makes this production feel like such a blessing."
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Time Out New York
August 1st, 2018

“Colorful, free-wheeling musical adaptation...As fast as it is loose: It has been trimmed to a fleet 90 minutes...Not much of Shakespeare's language remains, but the storytelling is lean and clear. In addition to Taub, who has a knockout voice, a few other seasoned performers anchor the cast adeptly...This production is about the spirit, not the letter; it's about making theater as accessible as possible...It's block-party Shakespeare, and everyone's invited."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
July 31st, 2018

“I found myself spending long portions of the ensuing ninety minutes wondering why, despite my sincere desire to be swept up in the show’s cheerful shenanigans, my heart wasn’t quite in it...The play’s tale...remains intact—and, I should say, perfectly legible—but the heartbeat of its text is dulled somewhat, chopped up to make room for songs instead of speeches...There’s a buoyant, throw-it-all-at-the-wall kind of energy at work that at times is successfully infectious.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
July 31st, 2018

“Illyria has never been so welcoming...This freewheeling version...proves a consistent delight. Purists may blanch, but everyone else will be thoroughly charmed....Despite the broad humor on display, the adaptation doesn't stint on the piece's emotional power...It's the amateur performers who truly make the evening shine, their energy and enthusiasm at being onstage entirely infectious...There have been other musical versions of the play before, but none as giddily pleasurable as this one."
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Entertainment Weekly
July 31st, 2018

“A 90-minute sprint that tosses out a lot of 17th-century verse in favor of contemporary lyrics. At times that does give the impression of two shows sewn, artfully if not seamlessly, together...Even the sometime use of sign, plus a brass band that trails Olivia, a smattering of sword play, and just the sheer size of the cast gives this 'Twelfth Night' a gleeful all-in feel. It rarely hits hilarious highs but delights with a steady insistence and overwhelms with a tidal wave of enthusiasm."
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Variety
July 31st, 2018

“The kind of outdoor summer theater that transcends bad weather...The co-creators take Shakespeare’s themes and wrap them in an ebullient package, making sure everything about this production says ‘welcome’. With a score of catchy tunes and ardent performances, it’s a happy marriage of a classic play with a contemporary execution...The co-directors create bursts of energy as they cram the stage with the colossal ensemble and draw gratifying performances from the cast."
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The Wall Street Journal
August 2nd, 2018

"At least as good as any of the new musicals that have opened in the past decade, and better than all but a handful of them. Indeed, Ms. Taub’s tuneful pop-soul score is reminiscent of a big-budget Disney show, only without the soul-shriveling slickness of a cold-hearted commodity musical like 'Frozen'... I can do no more in this space than suggest its limitless pleasures, not the least of which is a fetching performance by Ms. Taub as Feste, who is an accordion-toting street singer."
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Deadline
July 31st, 2018

“Vibrant, contemporary and very funny...This colorful, spirited production is a joy from start to finish...Taub’s lyrics cleverly convey the Bard’s tale with a decidedly contemporary edge...So generous in spirit is this production that even the vain Malvolio gets a big, Broadway-style number, not to mention some respect and compassion."
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AM New York
July 31st, 2018

“Entertaining, poignant and vital community-oriented theater...Integrating a catchy, pop-style score...’Twelfth Night’ is a fast-paced and accessible musical comedy adaptation...The professional performances are terrific...but the jubilant chorus is what is most striking and refreshing...Of the many productions of ‘Twelfth Night’ I have seen in recent years, this is by far the most bright and upbeat.”
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Theatermania
July 31st, 2018

"A musical with enormous heart and smarts to match its considerable spectacle...Theater that truly looks like NYC...One of the tightest productions I've seen from Shakespeare in the Park...Thoroughly delightful and heartwarming musical...Taub's songs are not only catchy but dramatically efficient, slicing through exposition and serving up objectives with a dexterity few other contemporary musical-theater composers possess...A truly stunning production.”
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BroadwayWorld
August 2nd, 2018

"If theatre be the food of love, the company played on, with the audience loudly cheering every quick reprise and dramatic exit through to the finale chorus, a heart-warming anthem of empathy extolling how much better the world would be if everyone just tried seeing it through the eyes of another...Despite the tremendous work by the theatre professionals, the highlight of any Public Works production is, of course, watching the community members of the ensemble."
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Lighting & Sound America
August 1st, 2018

“Shakespeare's unruly romantic farce is expertly trimmed down to a fast, funny, touching ninety minutes...Taub's songs effortlessly condense the action, revealing complicated emotional states and knotty plot points with ease...The production is loaded with delightful bits of business...Everyone has been thoroughly drilled and they appear to be having a ball...This version of Illyria seems like an earthly paradise.”
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Talkin' Broadway
August 1st, 2018

“The production, a restaged version of the show...thumbs its nose at the weather and delivers its own deluge of pure delight...The acting, dancing, and singing skills vary among the ensemble members...Even with all the running around, the very large cast, and the outsized production numbers, it is very easy to follow the plot, which has been boiled down to its essentials and configured into a joyful romantic comedy in which all ends happily."
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New York Stage Review
July 31st, 2018

"Taub’s score is Broadway-ready, and she is a smashingly good charmer of a performer...A veritable parade of delights...If the thought of a professional/amateur effort sounds worthy but somewhat academic, please obliterate that thought. Taub’s version can only be described as jubilant. By crowding 50 members of various community groups on stage, the entire place takes off. Amateurs, yes; but well-rehearsed, talented, and above all energetically engaged in every moment."
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New York Stage Review
July 31st, 2018

"How refreshing...to arrive at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater and enjoy a production that celebrates inclusiveness without reserve—and without pandering or preaching to the choir...Kwei-Armah, Taub and Eustis not only make 'Twelfth Night' accessible to the breadth of audiences represented by their company—which includes kids—but emphasize the differences and contradictions that can exist within each one of us. And leave us laughing, and dancing, in the end."
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TheaterScene.net
August 10th, 2018

"Shaina Taub's joyful and sunny updated musical version of Shakespeare's comedy, 'Twelfth Night,' is back in a full production courtesy of free Shakespeare in the Park and Public Works which premiered an earlier production for four performances during Labor Day Weekend 2016. This slightly trimmed and tightened version is even more entertaining and the witty contemporary lyrics make this fun for young and old, as well as Shakespeare veterans and novices."
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Theater Pizzazz
August 1st, 2018

“The production contains only a soupçon of its text...However, that doesn’t keep this production from being an entertaining lark...Taub’s accessible, upbeat and beautifully orchestrated, jaunty number are made all the better by a delightful primary cast...Puts the 'community' in community theater. It’s a fun, easy event that not only introduces Shakespeare to all comers, but provides a light-hearted evening of music and laughs.”
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CurtainUp
July 31st, 2018

“Solid direction and excellent music...Taub, who also plays Feste, is responsible for all of the excellent music and lyrics...A few of the actors struggle, and the performances aren't perfectly even. But the show gets a major boost from its main performers...Taub's acting isn't quite up to her music...Still, this is a minor issue since it can't override the quality of Shakespeare's work or the energy and enthusiasm of everyone working on this production.”
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Front Row Center
August 1st, 2018

"It is summer and time to give your fools a night off because Shaina Taub’s genius coupled with the creative mind of Kwame Kwei-Armah strike again...Get over there and stand in line for tickets...This show is a community effort, which brings to it the richness of collaboration of minds from all over our city...It was exhilarating to see this kind of inclusiveness in the piece...Alas, adaptations sometimes suffer a little loss of story line. But who cares too much when we are so entertained?”
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Stage Buddy
August 5th, 2018

"Although somewhat overcast with rain and thunderstorms in the forecast, the mood onstage for 'Twelfth Night' in Central Park at The Delacorte Theater couldn’t have been sunnier!...Listen carefully to the words of Taub’s songs and you hear a 21st century sensibility, especially in terms of feminism and acceptance...The combination of amateur and professional in the cast provides unprecedented energy, enthusiasm and spirit on the Delacorte stage."
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Front Mezz Junkies
July 31st, 2018

“Magnificently fun musical version of ‘Twelfth Night’...The brilliant and delicious Taub who not only wrote the intoxicatingly fun music and lyrical adaptation, but played the fool Feste with a perfect frivolity, the show perfectly encapsulates the charming treaty on love and attraction...The playfulness of the ensemble enliven every scene they participate in with energy and joy...Kwei-Armah and Taub get the balance just right, perfectly and enthusiastically bringing everyone together."
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Exeunt Magazine
August 2nd, 2018

"The intricacies of Shakespeare’s play recede to the background in The Public Works’ musical adaptation of 'Twelfth Night' at the Delacorte Theater, but due to the inventiveness of creators Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub, it doesn’t matter...The score is robust with lyrical dexterity and musically distinctive in its brass-and-accordion orchestration...In this production, Viola is the only character who seems like an actual person. The others are secondary to her."
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New York Theater
July 31st, 2018

"I found the new version just as entertaining– but also improved as a work of theater....I saw the blue cast members, who were noticeably more streamlined and in sync than what I remembered from 2016, undoubtedly because of the extra time to practice. They felt more like townsfolk from Illyria rather than non-actors thrilled to be on a New York stage...Taub’s songs are all tuneful...Taub’s 'Twelfth Night' makes an effort to make a seamless whole out of verses written four centuries apart."
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Broadway Blog
August 1st, 2018

"Taub has written music and lyrics for this adaptation, and the result is an absolute delight. Her work never meanders away from the play’s structure, but rather adds to the celebration, along with choreography by Latarro...The rest of the principal cast does their characters proud...'Twelfth Night,' among all of its flourish, evokes one word: joy. Every second is filled with it, from the silly machinations of the self-preserving Malvolio to Feste’s witty yet sincere commentary."
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C
July 31st, 2018

"'If music be the food of love, play on,' is undoubtedly one of the most famous lines in William Shakespeare's comic romance "Twelfth Night," and there is equally little doubt that the brilliantly varied music of Shaina Taub is the prime reason to visit the Delacorte Theater, where the Public Theater is presenting an often enchanting version of one of its summer staples."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
July 31st, 2018

"Freely adapted, considerably shortened…and heavily musicalized version…Taub has written a melodically delightful, unpretentious, and frequently enchanting score in the jazz, pop, and Broadway show tune modes…Conceptually, this is by no means a novel 'Twelfth Night,' although purists will surely rage at its desecrations…Essentially a 'Twelfth Night' primer, an 'Eighth Night,' if you will…entertaining as it is, its simplifications tend to patronize the wider audience to which it's reaching out."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
August 1st, 2018

"A downpour would begin anew, but the undeterred cast gallantly completed the show...There was so much fun being had that most of us could not be bothered to worry about being a bit soaked...The play lends itself to turning it into a romp in this free-wheeling, joyful conception...Hits the highlights of the play with the aim of providing sheer fun, thanks to the musical creativity, eager performances and an atmosphere that makes for delight in the park."
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Cultural Weekly
August 1st, 2018

"Gives off vibes of inspired nuttiness and celebratory sexual ambiguity...This latest updating...obliterates any memory of predecessors...Shaina Taub leads the orchestra with aplomb, plays the fool Feste with zip, and wrote the splendid songs which explore themes of gender switching and perspective. This infectious and fizzy spectacle rushes by in 90 minutes, a delicious summer cooler. What a pity it will gone soon. But that makes it all the more special."
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Stage Left
August 6th, 2018

"Get thee to the Delacorte before it is too late...A magical, festive, and highly accessible evening of Shakespeare that lifted my spirits, kept me grinning from ear-to-ear, and sent me out of the park and back into the concrete jungle of Manhattan with a pep in my step and a flutter in my heart...Musicals have a paradoxical power to simultaneously simplify nuanced ideas and heighten emotional resonance. The sacrifice of the former, here, is equally made up for by the pleasure of the latter."
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Daily Beast
August 1st, 2018

“A pared-back text and music and lyrics by the phenomenally talented Taub...The skill of Taub is to compose within and behind what already exists in the play. The makeover makes the characters more clearly understandable emotionally...Not only is every part of the stage used and splashed with color and activity, but, in the play’s final song, the evening’s overall theme is emphasized...Shakespeare at its most open-hearted and holistic."
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M
August 10th, 2018

"It’s not transcendent Shakespeare but it’s a sturdy chunk of entertainment...A joyful community celebration as well...Taub’s hefty score has a bright bouncy feel, with vaudeville-like character songs intermingled with soul-tinged ballads...Lorin Latarro’s choreography is pretty basic hip-hop, but to see it performed in unison by a legion of some 50 enthusiastic folks of all ages, shapes and sizes, is pretty impressive. So, it’s hats off to all these game citizens."
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Newsday
July 31st, 2018

"This is no ordinary production of Shakespeare’s much-loved romance, and not just because of Taub’s impressive contributions...Purists will likely quibble with some of the liberties taken. Everyone else will have a great time watching the antics as Viola dresses in grief as her brother, setting in motion a tangle of misguided relationships, but finding herself in the process...The whole production speaks to promise wherever you look, most especially in Taub’s direction.”
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The Wrap
July 31st, 2018

“There’s much to admire in the new pared-down musical version of ‘Twelfth Night’...The conventions of American musical theater allow co-conceivers Kwei-Armah and Taub to streamline parallel characters and storylines into multi-verse songs that don’t overstay their welcome...Finds a clever use for its plus-size ensemble...And while there’s a certain sameness to the score — there are no outright clunkers either."
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Film Festival Traveler
August 13th, 2018

"Unfortunately drops far too much of the Bard’s most sublime poetry and replaces it with Shaina Taub’s serviceable doggerel accompanied by her pleasant if unremarkable tunes...Luckily, the dozens of onstage performers are turned into a cohesive mass by Lorin Lontarro’s clever choreography to make this a satisfying communal event. Conspicuously missing are many of Shakespeare’s offhand insights."
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Magical MissTari Tour
August 13th, 2018

“Seeing such a diverse group of people onstage was inspiring...The highlight was the fantastic original score by Shaina Taub...She chose just the right spots to musicalize and her lyrics smartly jumped off from Shakespeare's text...A terrific marriage of text and music...I found this delightful, heartfelt and tuneful incarnation to be just the thing to see on a summer night...The performers were all terrific."
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TheaterScene.com
August 3rd, 2018

"A top-notch cast which blends the talents of both professional and community performers...Though there has been some tidy contemporary-edge adapting to tie the story up into a comfy 90 minutes, the spirit of the musical is admirably true to its source material and is only enhanced by the diverse and delightful songs...The integrated eclecticism in choreography, music and design reinforces once again the evening's message of inclusivity. 'Twelfth Night' is a joy from beginning to end."
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Medium
July 31st, 2018

"This wonderful show, performed in the open air Delacorte Theatre beneath the stars and passing choppers blends a cast of talented pros...New York City at its best...Taub floats between keyboards and singing with the band to joining the play on stage as Feste , the quick-witted — in this case- accordion playing- fool. The text and story are pure Shakespeare wrapped in present day costumes, props and songs with punch and humor that are pure Taub."
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