Review Roundup: LOS OTROS Off-Broadway- What Did the Critics Think?

Los Otros is written by Ellen Fitzhugh and Michael John LaChiusa.

By: Sep. 01, 2022
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Review Roundup: LOS OTROS Off-Broadway- What Did the Critics Think?

The New York premiere production of Los Otros, a musical in one act with book & lyrics by Tony Award nominee Ellen Fitzhugh (Grind, Paradise Found) and music by five-time Tony Award nominee Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party, Giant) just opened at A.R.T./New York Theatres - Mezzanine Theatre (502 West 53rd Street - between 10th & 11th Avenues).

Through a series of beautiful and intimate moments, two Californians, Lillian and Carlos, explore significant moments in their lives, discovering they are linked in unexpected ways. Semi-autobiographical, Los Otros captures a universal story of interconnectedness, love, risk, and revelation through the lens of two people's lives. Acclaimed director Noah Himmelstein (The Lucky Star; I Am Harvey Milk) helms the New York premiere of this unique musical which will feature musical direction by J. Oconer Navarro (Caroline, or Change) and orchestrations by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin (The Light in the Piazza). Los Otros received its East Coast premiere production in 2017 at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, MD under Himmelstein's direction.

The cast of Los Otros is Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk award nominee Luba Mason (Girl From the North Country, The Will Rogers Follies) and Caesar Samayoa (Come From Away, Sister Act).

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times: Even for someone who habitually shies away from demonstrative show tunes - or, as his detractors might acidly argue, anything labeled "fun" - the intimate "Los Otros," opening at A.R.T./New York Theaters, is more an art-song cycle than a musical. It simmers so gently it never reaches a satisfying boil. This sense of a letdown has largely to do with the structure devised by Ellen Fitzhugh ("Grind"), who wrote the book and lyrics: We are led to expect a bigger payoff than the one we end up getting, which is compounded by Noah Himmelstein's sober direction.

Craig J. Horsley, Times Square Chronicles: It is the voices and acting ability of Luba Mason, as Lilian and Caesar Samayoa, as Carlos that really make one care about these characters as they grow from childhood to maturity. Carlos takes center stage at first as he opens his tale at age 70, who proudly brags about his youthful looks thanks to his cheekbones. He tells his tale starting from when he was only four years old in 1933, as he struggles to survive from a deadly hurricane. His voice and mannerisms turn him into that young child. As he holds tightly to a lone chair on stage which substitutes as a bending tree in the high winds we can see how Mr Himmelstein, will create the various stories with minimal props and scenery.

James Wilson, Talkin Broadway: LaChiusa's lush and lovely music combines elements of Mexican folk music with period-specific musical motifs and soaring melodies. After his previous New York musical, the disappointing First Daughter Suite, LaChiusa is once again in top form. Bruce Coughlin provided the orchestrations, which are felicitously performed under J. Oconer Navarro's music direction for an on-stage three-piece band. Under the direction of Noah Himmelstein, the cast is topnotch. Samayoa, recently of Come from Away, is deeply affecting as Carlos. Vocally, he has a rich and powerful cadence, and as an actor, he poignantly reflects the cruelties of life that reduce a spirited and determined youth to a deteriorating older man in the early stages of dementia.

Photo Credit: Russ Rowland

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