A Second Chance OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • TM

  • ATW

  • TALKIN' BWAY

  • TIME OUT

Opening Night:
March 30, 2014
Closing:
April 13, 2014

Theater: Public Theater / Delacorte Theater in Central Park, New York, NY,

Synopsis: 

A stirring musical journey, A Second Chance tells the New York story of a recent widower and a divorcée who meet in mid-life and mid-crisis. Presented with the overwhelming challenge of freeing themselves from their painful pasts, neither feels deserving of happiness. Yet, the awakening of unanticipated feelings leads them to a possibility they both least expected to find.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF A Second Chance

    Another Shot at Love (Stop if You’ve Heard This)

    Charles Isherwood

    March 30, 2014: Imagine a television commercial for eHarmony.com that stretches on for 90 minutes. Now imagine this ad being almost entirely sung. That’s the effect — both stultifying and cloying — of the musical A Second Chance, which opened at the Public Theater on Sunday night. Ted Shen wrote the minimal book as well as the music and lyrics for this nearly through-sung show about two life-bruised, middle-aged New Yorkers trying to heal themselves as they fall in love — ever so predictably and ever so slowly. (Mr. Shen, a former investment banker who runs a foundation that supports musical theater in various ways, has helped fund Public Theater productions including Giant and Fun Home.)

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF A Second Chance

    A Second Chance

    Hayley Levitt

    March 30, 2014: For those who enjoy perusing theater programs or the liner notes of cast recordings, the name Ted Shen may seem more familiar in the context of the Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund. Since the ex-investment banker entered the world of not-for-profit theater in 2002, the foundation has been a financial godsend to some of the most innovative musical theater artists in the industry today. Continuing along the trajectory of this unorthodox career shift, the professional angel has now flown his own inaugural work, A Second Chance, onto the Shiva stage at the Public Theater for its New York debut.

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  • AMERICAN THEATER WEB REVIEW OF A Second Chance

    'A Second Chance' - Two Lost Souls Romance Each Other, Musically

    Andy Propst

    March 31, 2014: Through the Shen Family Foundation, Ted Shen has spent over a decade supporting some of the most exciting new musical theater around, from last fall's Fun Home at the Public Theater to Playwrights Horizon's Grey Gardens, which eventually hit Broadway. His deep commitment to and passion for cutting-edge tuners is pretty well-known in theatrical circles, and so it's not entirely surprising that he has struck out as a writer himself with A Second Chance, a delicate two-character piece which opened last night at the Public. Shen has provided book, music and lyrics for the show that, over the course of 90 minutes, charts the relationship between the recently widowed Dan (Brian Sutherland) and divorcee Jenna (Diane Sutherland), who meet one night at a dinner party hosted by mutual friends. They hit it off, and, though both are intrigued by the other, neither of them makes any attempt to ensure that they might be able to stay in touch.

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  • TALKIN' BROADWAY REVIEW OF A Second Chance

    A Second Chance

    Matthew Murray

    March 30, 2014: There’s a reason most musicals that tell a love story — which, let’s face it, is most musicals — are structured around external conflicts: It’s simply easier to dramatize, and is typically far more compelling to watch, a romance develop within, around, because of, or in spite of some tangible obstacle that is preventing the universe from acknowledging the feelings of the lovers’ hearts. When a show digs too deep, and becomes too oriented around thought rather than action, it risks alienating the very audience that should bring it to life. Ted Shen’s new musical, A Second Chance, which just opened at The Public Theater, falls into just this trap. It has a lot of things going for it: the sumptuous setting of present-day New York, evocative music that translates the city’s myriad pleasures into a deeply personal language for two, a stark but delicate staging by Jonathan Butterell that escorts you into a world and relationship of magic, and two actors playing the central couple with likability and chemistry that can’t be beat (these would be real-life married couple Brian and Diane Sutherland). What it does not have is a specific reason for singing.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF A Second Chance

    March 31, 2014:

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