Blank! The Musical OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jenny Anderson
  • NY TIMES

  • BROADWAY WORLD

  • THE SOURCE

  • THEATER IN THE NOW

  • STAGE BUDDY

Opening Night:
November 17, 2014
Closing:
December 14, 2014

Theater: New World Stages / 340 West 50th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

At Blank! The Musical, the power to build your dream Broadway show is in your hands. Bring your friends, get out your smartphone, and vote with the audience to fill in the blanks. Choose a title. Write lyrics. Pick the cast. Then it's curtain time and away we go...watch in awe as actors, musicians, and a Tony Award-winning design team bring your musical to life on the spot, complete with show-stopping singing, dazzling dancing, and of course, laugh-out-loud comedy. Will you write the next Wicked, Les Miz, or Book of Mormon? The results are always hilarious.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Blank! The Musical

    For This Casserole Add Song and Dance

    Ben Brantley

    November 21, 2014: Anybody know a surefire cure for getting rid of an earworm — one of those insistent tunes that play on and on in your head until you start smashing things? I’ve been invaded by a really clingy one. It’s the title song of “Directing One Direction,” and even listening to excruciatingly adhesive highlights from The Phantom of the Opera has failed to dislodge it. You probably don’t realize what I’m talking about, since “Directing One Direction” was created only a week ago and was performed only once. But I can assure you that had you been at New World Stages on that singular night, you, too, would still be hearing the fatal motif that would appear on sheet music as (aaahhh, stop it!) C sharp, A, G, B. Yep, I even know the specific notes and not because I have a perfect ear. (I don’t.) I was part of the audience that helped score, script, cast, direct and choreograph “Directing One Direction,” one of the potentially countless productions being whipped up by Blank! The Musical, the do-it-yourself showbiz revue that opened this week. C sharp, A, G, B was a melody line woven from theatergoers randomly shouting out letters between A and G upon request. Earlier, we had submitted, on smartphones, suggestions for names of songs, as well as the title of the show, and then voted on the final choices. (“Directing One Direction” beat out “Frozen Eyebrows,” among other candidates.)

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  • BROADWAY WORLD REVIEW OF Blank! The Musical

    BLANK! THE MUSICAL is Truly Your Musical

    David Clarke

    November 18, 2014: Come one, come all to the musical you help create. Just a few blocks north of the heart of Times Square, the vastly talented improv actors, orchestra, and crew of Blank! The Musical are treating audiences to the opening and closing night of a musical. (No, they're not reviving the 1988 production of Carrie.) When you enter New World Stages for Blank! The Musical, you'll have no idea what you're in for in the best of possible ways. The concept is fairly simple and rather straightforward. Blank! The Musical's new and original show comes together from audience input every night. You and your fellow theatergoers title the show, title 3 songs, choose the musical motif, vote for which actor or actress will deliver the dramatic and memorable line, and give the musical its signature choreographic style. With the input from the audience, the dexterous and energetic cast of six, the skilled musicians in the pit, and the versatile crew all work together to create an original and rib-tickling musical on the spot. So, unlike other shows that may have the cast create new words to familiar tunes or only have one lighting cue, Blank! The Musical features a band that creates music on the fly, a stage manager improving with the cast, and technicians improving on the sound and light boards too. The end result is a splashy new musical that works both technically and artistically.

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  • THE SOURCE REVIEW OF Blank! The Musical

    ‘Blank! The Musical’ Is Extraordinary

    Ziye Hu

    November 18, 2014: There was a time when improvisational comedy and musical theatre existed as mutually exclusive realms, separate from the other. Fortunately, this is no longer the case, because there now exists a show that satiates our need for the fusion of these two art forms, a need we didn’t even realize was there until it happened. The show that has been helmed to fully realize this peculiarity is, of course, the new off-Broadway production Blank! The Musical, currently playing at New World Stages for a limited engagement through December 14. In a seemingly impossible and bizarre manifestation of creator Michael Girts’ brainchild, Blank! The Musical takes six actors, three pit musicians, and several other run crew members, and destroys the notion that a Broadway musical—or any musical or play for that matter—takes years to go from conception to opening night by creating a full-length musical from scratch in front of the audience’s very eyes. The audience, of course, plays a crucial role in how this unique show pans out, and what the show is even going to be. As they repeat over and over, nothing is prepared beforehand. In a Whose Line Is It Anyway fashion, audience members are asked to shout out suggestions for song titles, musical themes, dance styles, and even lines, which are then voted upon using smartphones connected to the show’s Wi-Fi network, after which, the show begins. It seems overly audacious and risky to have prepared nothing, zilch, but if the 90 minutes that followed were any indication, the cast and crew of Blank triumphantly proves that even when the painstakingly long and complicated process of making a musical is reduced to a mere ten minutes, and that when extensive rehearsal and preview periods are replaced instead by a generous dose of human ingenuity and wit, not only can it be done, but in fact, the results can be quite spectacular.

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  • THEATER IN THE NOW REVIEW OF Blank! The Musical

    The Greatest Musical You'll Only See Once!

    Michael Block

    November 18, 2014: Ever have a dream of writing a hit Broadway musical? Well, what if I told you for one night only you get to have a little part of creating the next big musical and all you have to do is scream out a suggestion? In the hip and never-the-same Blank! The Musical, the audience gets to be a little part of creating a brand new musical as six outstanding improvisers take your suggestion and perform a musical on the spot. Blank! The Musical, debuting at New World Stages, is musical improv that busts out a brand new show each night. Like most improv, audience participation is the backbone to the start of a night of hilarity. But Blank! takes audience interaction to the max! Upon arrival, audience members are encouraged to take out their smartphones and hit up the app that will allow them to vote on the elements of the show they’re about to see. When host T.J. Mannix comes out, he compiles audience suggestions through shoutouts and then it’s your turn to vote like a tween voting for their favorite contestant on a reality show. Your suggestions will fill in the blank of the title of the musical, the songs in the show, even the key the score will be! What makes Blank! special is it’s technological participation. It’s a clever device that allows everyone to feel they’re a part of something unique. And unique this show will be!

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  • STAGE BUDDY REVIEW OF Blank! The Musical

    Review: Blank! The Musical

    Karen Elliott

    November 18, 2014: When was the last time you were told to keep your phone on in the theater? Isn’t there, wasn’t there a law about that in New York City? Not at Blank! The Musical, the new Off-Broadway show that opened November 17 at New World Stages. At Blank! having your phone on is actually all part of the experience...in a good way. I don’t want to give it all away, but the folks at Blank! have teamed up with the app developers at Livecube to create a very clever interactive experience playing off the improv set-up format that calls for the audience to shout out words, places, and lines to get the show rolling. The Blank!/Livecube app brings everyone to the playground, simultaneously adding to the fun and creating a unique theater going experience to be sure. Of course you can have all the technology in the world, but it wouldn’t mean anything if it wasn’t backed up by real human talent and Blank! has it. First, like every great improv show you have to have a great host, a leader, a first class concierge who kicks off the festivities and walks you through what could be a wee bit of tech overload for the uninitiated and smartphone compromised. T.J. Mannix is that man. Equal parts anchorman, comedian and expert improviser with a voice like a dream -- yes, he sings too -- T.J. Mannix is that perfect quadruple threat.

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