The Anthem OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Michael Blase
  • TheAnthem
  • NY TIMES

  • EW

  • TM

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ

  • NY POST

Opening Night:
May 19, 2014
Closing:
July 8, 2014

Theater: Culture Project / 45 Bleecker St, New York, New York, 10002

Synopsis: 

Hunger Games meets Ayn Rand in a far off future (several centuries after the early 1980s) in a social media gone mad world, where individuality is illegal. Prometheus (Jason Gotay) abandons everything to confront the State — controlled by the overlord of evil efficiency, Tiberius (Randy Jones). With a forbidden copy of Ayn’s Rand’s ancient tome in hand, can Prometheus overthrow the system?

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Anthem

    Songs, Jokes and Twirls? Just Don’t Tell Ayn Rand

    A Spoofy Spin on Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem’

    Andy Webster

    May 29, 2014: It would be folly to adapt Ayn Rand’s pedantic novella Anthem as a straight stage drama, though some have recently tried. Far better to give that belabored paean to individualism a goofy, spoofy spin, as The Anthem, an exuberant musical adaptation at the Culture Project, does. The source material may be hopelessly schematic, but the show pours on dazzling trimmings, including a critical element absent in Rand’s didactic prose: humor. In a future dystopia called the Grid — where people dress in monochromatic tones; pay fealty to Pandora (Jenna Leigh Green), their “First Citizen”; and intone the mantra “We are one” — Prometheus (Jason Gotay) is assigned to be a legal functionary though he aspires to be a scientist. Worse, he canoodles with Hera (Remy Zaken) in the Forbidden Library instead of the sanctioned Palace of Mating. Such impertinence prompts his mentor, Tiberius (Randy Jones, Cowboy from the Village People), to chastise him, and he is banished to the Uncharted Forest, where he is tempted by Athena (Ashley Kate Adams), the leader of the Golden Ones, rebels who wage war with the Grid.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF The Anthem

    The Anthem

    Joe McGovern

    May 29, 2014: She's been dead for over three decades, but Ayn Rand's strenuous philosophy of self-interest has never gone out of style. The new musical The Anthem, playing in an open-ended run at Off Broadway's Lynn Redgrave Theatre, is ostensibly an adaptation of her 1938's Anthem, the gateway-drug novella that led to her Objectivism-spouting tomes The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. But unlike the nonmusical adaptation of Anthem last year at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, this production dares to strip out Rand's self-righteous attitude in favor of a light and loopy approach. While a bit shaky in terms of its concept, the whole endeavor is so lunatic that it just about works. The Anthem stars Jason Gotay (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) as Prometheus, a frustrated young man living with his girlfriend (Spring Awakening's winsome Remy Zaken) in a stultified world where individuality is squashed and sex has been downgraded to holding hands in a sterile room once a year. Prometheus encounters a forest sprite named Athena (Ashley Kate Adams), and together they lead a revolution against the totalitarian regime, represented by Pandora (Jenna Leigh Green, spiky and soulful, especially in her second-act ballad ''Pandora's Box'') and Tiberius (founding member of the Village People Randy Jones).

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF The Anthem

    The Anthem

    Zachary Stewart

    May 30, 2014: "Music! Dance! Capitalism!" exclaims the sub-title for The Anthem, the new musical by Gary Morgenstein, Jonnie Rockwell, and Erik Ransom, now making its world premiere at Culture Project's Lynn Redgrave Theater. Loosely based on Ayn Rand's novella, Anthem (which received a far more earnest theatricalization last year), this meta-musical lets Rand's dystopian vision of a society without individualism speak for itself, without a lot of quippy editorial commentary in the dialogue. The space opera-inspired design does all the heavy lifting in that regard, dressing up Rand's world in leather fetish gear and silver lamé. While this provides for hearty laughs throughout the first act, the show begins to falter in the second act like a stalled warp drive. No matter how thrilling the design and staging, The Anthem just can't overcome a book and score in desperate need of trimming.

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  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF The Anthem

    The Anthem – a Radical Retelling of Ayn Rand’s Classic

    Joel Benjamin

    May 29, 2014: The Anthem, "a radical retelling of Ayn Rand’s classic novella,” is somewhat true to the spirit of Rand’s heavy handed 1937 tome. True, this show is, at best, a cartoony treatment of the source material but Gary Morgenstein (book), Jonnie Rockwell (music) and Erik Ransom (lyrics) have filled the show with a campy charm all its own. The Anthem’s best feature is its good-looking and athletic cast who, for a good deal of the show, literally hang off the rafters of the Lynn Redgrave Theater. There’s not an ounce of body fat among them. Even the elder statesman of the cast, Randy Jones of Village People fame, is in great shape, sings with a strong baritone and keeps up with director Rachel Klein’s disco-tinged choreography alongside the “kids.”

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  • NY POST REVIEW OF The Anthem

    Rand musical more pain than ‘Anthem’

    Elisabeth Vincentelli

    May 30, 2014: Once in a blue moon comes a show so laughably bad, it’s almost enjoyable — almost. Enter The Anthem. Loosely based on Ayn Rand’s 1938 sci-fi novella Anthem, this inept musical stars Randy Jones (the original cowboy from Village People) and has been staged like a cross between Starlight Express and Cirque du Cheeseball. Set in a totalitarian future that looks just like a 1980s music video, the show follows the political awakening of hunky Prometheus (Jason Gotay) as he rejects a society that proclaims “the folly of independent thought” — a typical Randian line woodenly delivered by Jones’ cartoonish Tiberius, in full silent-movie-villain mode.

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The Anthem Review REVIEWS

Opening Night:
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater:

Synopsis: 

"Music! Dance! Capitalism!" exclaims the sub-title for The Anthem, the new musical by Gary Morgenstein, Jonnie Rockwell, and Erik Ransom, now making its world premiere at Culture Project's Lynn Redgrave Theater. Loosely based on Ayn Rand's novella, Anthem (which received a far more earnest theatricalization last year), this meta-musical lets Rand's dystopian vision of a society without individualism speak for itself, without a lot of quippy editorial commentary in the dialogue. The space opera-inspired design does all the heavy lifting in that regard, dressing up Rand's world in leather fetish gear and silver lamé. While this provides for hearty laughs throughout the first act, the show begins to falter in the second act like a stalled warp drive. No matter how thrilling the design and staging, The Anthem just can't overcome a book and score in desperate need of trimming.

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