Solitary Light OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Dixie Sheridan
  • NY TIMES

  • TM

  • S & C

  • TALKIN' BWAY

  • NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW

Opening Night:
September 15, 2014
Closing:
October 4, 2014

Theater: Axis Theatre / 1 Sheridan Square, New York, New York, 10014

Synopsis: 

Solitary Light tells a story through the eyes of those who witnessed New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that resulted in the death of 146 people in 1911. Using historical documents and newspaper articles, the musical depicts the lives of Frank and Louise, two young politically minded immigrant workers in love, as they navigate the financially strapped owners and the incredibly rich families of 1911 New York who had little concept of the horrors of the working class experience. The streets of lower Manhattan in the early 20th century and the fascinating stories that happened there are carefully recreated in a manner that will bring this turning point in history to life on stage. How did a disaster like this happen? How is it possible that it still occurs in factories all over the world?

BUY TICKETS BUY GROUP TICKETS
  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Solitary Light

    A Blaze Hungry for Dreams ‘Solitary Light,’ by Axis Theater, on Triangle Factory Fire

    Claudia La Rocco

    September 16, 2014: You might think an hourlong musical is an inadequate vehicle for capturing the Triangle garment factory fire of 1911, a horrifying and shameful episode in American history involving the deaths of 146 garment workers, most of them female immigrants. And you might be right. But Randy Sharp’s Solitary Light, playing at Axis Theater as part of the Theater: Village festival, offers inadequate evidence either way: though ostensibly focused on the devastating conflagration that helped galvanize the labor movement, this production is, in actuality, only vaguely moored to that event. And that’s fine, I suppose. Truth in advertising only gets you so far in the arts. But what exactly is Solitary Light about? A difficult question to answer, but here are some elements: lots of singing about light and love and flying away, and lots of bodies roving about a relentlessly underlit stage, muttering intensely to themselves like the people you avoid in the subway. Talk of fireflies, beautiful girls and the romance of the big city at night.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Solitary Light

    This beautiful musical casts a dim light on the Triangle Shirtwaist disaster of 1911

    Zachary Stewart

    September 15, 2014: Just blocks from the site of the former Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where 146 workers burned alive in 1911, a new musical conjures their memory. Presented as part of Theater:Village 2014, Solitary Light is the creation of Axis Company Artistic Director Randy Sharp and former Blondie guitarist Paul Carbonara. An epic lullaby from New York's industrial past, it will astound you with its uncommon beauty, if it doesn't lull you to sleep first. The show begins in total darkness, with only a few isolated flashes of light illuminating the cast members as they begin to sing. David Zeffren's lighting keeps the remainder of the proceedings dim, with faces occasionally emerging from the shadows. When the actors step into the light, Karl Ruckdeschel's stunningly authentic period costumes come into full view. It's like discovering lost photographs in a trunk in an antique store. You don't know the subjects, but there is something incredibly compelling about their expressions. A ghostly echo on the amplified voices reinforces the show's haunted tone.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • STAGE AND CINEMA REVIEW OF Solitary Light

    ASPHYXIATING

    Dmitry Zvonkov

    September 15, 2014: Neither the excellent quartet playing quality pieces that are at times rousing, nor Karl Ruckdeschel’s lovely period costumes, are enough to make Solitary Light, with music and lyrics by Randy Sharp and Paul Carbonara, a tolerable experience. With an artless libretto that is sentimental and always on-the-nose, the lack of a meaningful, or even a coherent, plot, the absence of characters and drama, choreography that has performers rushing aimlessly around the stage like startled chickens, and Mr. Sharp’s helpless direction, the best thing about this 80-minute musical, which concerns itself with the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, is that it’s not longer.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • TALKIN' BROADWAY REVIEW OF Solitary Light

    Solitary Light Theatre Review

    Howard Miller

    September 15, 2014: Solitary Light, the haunting and haunted musical production at the Axis Theatre, is a powerful evocation of the notorious 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in which 146 garment workers—locked inside by the management in its abasing effort aimed at thwarting theft, unauthorized breaks, and union activities—lost their lives. The hour-long sung-through production, with music and lyrics by Randy Sharp and Paul Carbonara, is not the first musical to deal with this tragic event. It was a significant plot element in the 1986 Charles Strouse/Stephen Schwartz show Rags. But unlike its predecessor, Solitary Light eschews the path of creating sympathetic characters whose loss takes direct aim at our emotions. Instead, it is as though we are being called upon to bear witness to a parade of souls that have been imprinted on the site, compelled to tell and retell their story repeatedly over the years. Under Randy Sharp’s direction, the cast members work splendidly as a collective (much of the singing is choral) as short scenes unfold depicting immigrants arriving in New York by ship, the harsh environment at the factory, the attempts to unionize, and the occasional outing in the park. There is no need for a straight-line plot; this is a work to be experienced, like a dance piece.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW REVIEW OF Solitary Light

    “Did You Forget That It's an Island?”

    Ryan Hudak

    September 15, 2014: In 1911, a man stands on a boat docking in New York and is amazed by what he finds. As his fellow immigrants start to dream of what awaits them, the man takes a photo. The theater flashes with light and we're reminded that we are watching a moment in time that will soon turn tragic. Solitary Light, a new musical at Axis Theatre Company, depicts the workers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, a factory that famously suffered through a fire and killed the majority of its employees due to horrible working conditions. If this sounds like an event that might be hard to transfer to music, it is—and yet this musical finds hope in the darkness. As part of Theater: Village, a festival that consists of several new works presented by theaters of the West Village, Solitary Light adds a buzz to the festival's theme of American diversity. The production is beautiful and strong, feeling fresh and exciting for the majority of its runtime. The show seems like it could be longer, it doesn't have enough time to build its characters fully, and it cuts off several subplots in favor of rushing to the fire. But the strengths of the work overpower the flaws.

    READ THE REVIEW

BEST REVIEWED SHOWS

    JerseyBoys    Phantom    Motown    Wicked
DOWNLOAD THE APP