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Most Underrated Shows on Broadway

What was the most underrated show you’ve ever seen on a New York stage? 

Below are the answers to that question, which I asked in a now-ended contest to win tickets to a show I feel fits the bill. The shows below are  listed alphabetically, with excerpts from the explanations for their choice. I put an asterisk next to the shows I know enough about to agree they were underrated.  (Although the question included any show on a New York stage,, I’ve only listed the answers from Broadway.)   I  disagree with some of the most popular choices — American Psycho, and Bright Star, which I felt were rated accurately — and so adamantly disagree with some of the other choices below that it’s almost encouraging: It means that every show has its devotees.

 

 

(I link to my reviews when available.)

All Shook Up

“a silly but delightful 2005 catalog musical taking the tunes of Elvis and spinning them through a 50’s take on As You Like It.”

Amelie

“Tons of people warned me that it was boring,…but I loved it. It was sweet, cute, and quirky with lovely music.”

“Phillipa Soo was so good in it!”

American Psycho

“did not get enough love for its staging and lighting.”

“People missed the point of it being a satire and took offense to the material. At the very least, Benjamin Walker deserved much more recognition for his flawless performance.”\

“It wasn’t given a chance”

*Bandstand

 

“The music was joyful and haunting by turns, the dancing and acting were terrific, and the story hit the perfect balance: honoring and sympathizing veterans while refusing to exploit them. It deserved a much, much longer run.”

Big Fish

“the score and choreography were beautiful, and Norbert Leo Butz had wonderful chemistry with Bobby Steggert. It was emotional without being saccharine”

Bonnie and Clyde

“entertaining and beautifully acted and staged but the bullying press had it out for Frank Wildhorn who finally had a great score…”

*The Bridges of Madison County

“One of Jason Robert Brown’s best scores, just truly beautiful, moving music/lyrics, and incredible performances from Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale”

 Bright Star

“It had a catchy score, and some of my favorite performances. The story, while predictable, was so engaging in its presentation that I found myself taken in by it anyway.”

Catch Me If You Can

“It did have it’s flaws, but I thought it was a very smooth musical”

Chaplin

“the score was interesting, the performances great, costumes were wonderful, story was engrossing”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“It’s an incredibly flawed show… [but]  has important morals that ring true today, and I appreciate these kinds of “entertaining” shows that introduce children to theatre in a way that they can relate to and understand.

Chess

“It had such a short Broadway run and was panned by critics, but despite the issues with the book I absolutely love the score and would love to see this one back on Broadway.”

The Encounter

“Simon McBurney did an incredible job of utilizing sound and perception to tell the story of the explorer’s journey in the Amazon.”

Finding Neverland

“pure magic..it rekindled in me everything that I loved about musical theater,”

*Ghost

“…unique, wonderful special effects, excellent music, moving performances.”

“Caissie Levy was a standout, the songs and staging were beautiful and the story itself was classic.”

*Great Comet

“. Josh was fantastic but I think the marketing relied too much on him being the entire show. Denee, Brittain and the supporting cast were outstanding. Infectious energy.”

Groundhog Day

“The score was catchy and Andy Karl’s performance was incredible. It’s a shame to see it close so soon and with no recognition at the Tony’s.”

Honeymoon in Vegas

“Excellent ensemble cast and a game “old guy” played by TV-star Tony Danza who spent months perfecting a solo tap number”

 

If/Then

“a fascinating concept and wonderful performances ”

 

In Transit

“The performers were absolutely brilliant! It is a shame that it was only on stage for a few months. The reason why it was underrated was because it was entirely a cappella. At times as a viewer, I completely forgot no instruments were being used”

 

The Last Ship

“Sting’s score was just ethereal and transforming to listen to with an amazing cast that breathed so much life and spirit into it”

 

*Shuffle Along

“…it closed so quickly. Not only were the big names incredible, but the ensemble was one of the best I have ever seen..”

 

*Side Show

“the music is very dynamic, the lyrics are very clever and powerful, and the story reminds me of a twisted fairytale. It is absolutely unique and charming.”

*Deaf West’s Spring Awakening

“It closed way too fast. It brought attention towards the deaf community…”

Steel Pier

“I saw it when I was 10 or 11, and I remember loving the choreography, score, and set. It’s still ingrained in my memory as one of the most magical nights I’ve had at the theatre… I didn’t realize it was underrated at the time – lukewarm critical reception, unfortunate short run, and while it did garner Tony nominations, it was snubbed in all categories.”

 

Tuck Everlasting

” It followed a timeless story with amazing acting, singing, and dancing! It had an amazing message”

 

What makes something “underrated”? It doesn’t necessarily mean bad reviews that you feel were not deserved. It could also mean that the public didn’t appreciate it enough to keep the show running.

It’s admittedly not quite an accurate term for some of the shows listed, because both critics and the public who saw them adored them, but the shows closed after brief runs anyway.

 

 

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About New York Theater
Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

One Response to Most Underrated Shows on Broadway

  1. Ivan Marquez says:

    What an excellent interesting feature!

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