The Odyssey OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    September 4, 2015
    Closing:
    September 7, 2015

    Theater: Delacorte Theatre / Central Park, New York, NY, 10023

    Synopsis: 

    Inspired by the historical pageantry movement of the early 1900s—known for blending mass spectacle with community engagement—this final work in deBessonet and Almond’s grand trilogy reimagines the Greek epic with Public Works' signature blend of professional actors, community members and special guests. Man-eating Cyclops, a sorceress that turns sailors to beasts and the deadly sweet song of the Sirens explode onto the stage with spectacular numbers in this joyful, larger-than-life musical about finding your way home—no matter where fate may lead you.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Odyssey

    ‘The Odyssey’ Takes a Populist Turn as a Musical

    Charles Isherwood

    September 7, 2015: A selfie with a celebrity has replaced the autograph as a coveted prize, but a selfie with a legendary hero, the great Greek warrior Odysseus? Well, that would beat Beyoncé, hands down. A lucky young prince gains such a digital trophy in the brash, funny and heart-stirring musical version of Homer’s “The Odyssey” being presented by the Public Theater at the Delacorte Theater through Monday night. As that selfie moment suggests, this adaptation of the epic poem written (or, as some believe, sung) a couple of millenniums ago has been written by Todd Almond, who also composed its lovely and ample score, and conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet, as an era-spanning fantasy that views the perilous adventures of its hero through a winking contemporary lens. It’s the latest production from the Public Theater’s Public Works department, following equally free-form adaptations of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and “The Winter’s Tale.” Performing alongside a handful of professional actors in the central roles are various dance and vocal groups from across New York — all five boroughs — and nonprofessional actors. What makes these productions such a lively treat is the manner in which the performers come together to create a vibrant theatrical tapestry; you may be able to tally the newcomers onstage, but in this embracing context they bring as much pleasure as the polished performers. (And sometimes, by the way, you can’t really tell the difference.)

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