Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
The Notebook
Review Roundup: THE NOTEBOOK World Premiere Musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Review Roundup: THE NOTEBOOK World Premiere Musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

The production stars Jordan Tyson, Joy Woods, and Maryann Plunkett as Allie, and John Cardoza, Ryan Vasquez and John Beasley as Noah.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is presenting the world premiere of The Notebook, a new musical based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks that inspired the iconic film. Allie and Noah, both from different worlds, share a lifetime of love despite the forces that threaten to pull them apart, in a deeply moving portrait of the enduring power of love. Broadway directors Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal, RENT) and Schele Williams (Aida, Motown the Musical) team up with multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson on music and lyrics, book by playwright Bekah Brunstetter (writer and producer on NBC's This Is Us), and choreography by Katie Spelman. Now playing in a limited engagement through October 16, 2022.

Portraying Allie and Noah across their lifetimes are Jordan Tyson as Younger Allie, Joy Woods as Middle Allie, and Tony Award-winner Maryann Plunkett as Older Allie; John Cardoza as Younger Noah, Ryan Vasquez as Middle Noah, and John Beasley as Older Noah.

The company also includes Yassmin Alers (Nurse Joanna), Andréa Burns (Nurse Lori / Mother), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Father / Son), Dorcas Leung (Georgie), Omar Lopez-Cepero (Lon), Sophie Madorsky (Sarah), and Liam Oh (Fin / Justin). Understudies include Alex Benoit, Mary Ernster, Jerica Exum, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, RhonniRose Mantilla, and Carson Stewart.

The production's music supervisor is Carmel Dean, who is also collaborating on arrangements with Ingrid Michaelson and on orchestrations with John Clancy. Geoffrey Ko is The Notebook's music director.

Let's see what the critics have to say!

The Notebook Reviews - Chicago Shakespeare Theate

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: Greif co-directs with Schele Williams, and their staging, which already is exquisite in places, prevents potentially pulpy content from bathing in its own sentiment. They do this by focusing the show relentlessly on mortality, by revealing the pain of being old, by presenting characters who can be closed off to their own emotions, by reminding us that once we've made a mistake, its consequences can last for years and, above all, by really showing what it is like to fight the decay of your own mind.

Dennis Polkow, New City Stage: This is Michaelson's first musical but she has completely hit her debut effort out of the park. So much of what makes a musical work is not great songs alone, although "The Notebook" has those aplenty. Equally significant is how organically the music enhances the narrative, what it can communicate that words alone cannot. Here, the answer is everything.

Rachel Weinberg, BroadwayWorld: The overall effect is that The Notebook is a pretty musical indeed. The musical treats Allie and Noah's love story with a lighter touch than its source material, and the overall result is moving and graceful. In musical form, THE NOTEBOOK washes over audiences instead of hitting anyone over the head with bombast and cheese. Sure, parts of the narrative are still sappy and unrealistic, but Allie and Noah's story feels more grounded and lovely in the musical. It's an approach that works well for this musical adaptation.

Alan Bresloff, Around The Town Chicago: Directed by Michael Greif and Schele Williams on a wonderful set by David Zinn and Brett Banakis, this is a masterpiece . In many ways, it could be considered a chamber piece. The music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson are designed to propel the story. The book by Bekah Brunstetter evidently follows the original but with the modifications needed to create it as a musical. Every detail of this production from the costumes (Paloma Young) to the special effects (it rains on stage), the lighting (Ben Stanton) and sound (Nevin Steinberg), as well as the hair and wigs (Mia Neal) and of course the choreography (Katie Spellman) all fit to make this a total picture for us to see.

BroadwayWorld Shop
Shop BroadwayWorld

Shop this season's new musicals! Get dressed up for a night at the theatre, or just a night at home, with merch from some of Broadway's biggest hits including SOME LIKE IT HOT, KIMBERLY AKIMBO, and more!

Start Shopping


Related Stories
VIDEO: First Look at THE NOTEBOOK World Premiere in Chicago Photo
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is presenting the world premiere musical The Notebook, now extended by popular demand through October 30, 2022. Get a first look at footage from the production here!

THE NOTEBOOK World Premiere Extended at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Photo
Chicago Shakespeare Theater has announced an additional block of tickets on sale for the world premiere musical The Notebook, now extended by popular demand through October 30, 2022.

Photos: First Look at THE NOTEBOOK Musical Photo
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is presenting the world premiere of The Notebook, a new musical based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks that inspired the iconic film. Now playing in a limited engagement through October 16, 2022. Get a first look at photos here!

Photos: Go Inside Rehearsals Of THE NOTEBOOK At Chicago Shakes Photo
Chicago Shakespeare Theater has released rehearsal images from the highly anticipated world premiere of The Notebook, a new musical based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks that inspired the iconic film.


From This Author - Team BWW


Video: HAY FEVER Spotted in New YorkVideo: HAY FEVER Spotted in New York
February 7, 2023

Stag and Lion Theatre Company takes on Noel Cowards iconic Comedy of Manners, Hay Fever. The show opens Thursday, February 9th, Performing at the Trinity Theatre, located at 422 West 57th Street.

THE CHER SHOW Will Launch US National TourTHE CHER SHOW Will Launch US National Tour
February 7, 2023

BroadwayWorld has learned that a national tour of The Cher Show will launch in 2023, with confirmed dates through at least early 2024. No launch date or city has yet to be announced for the production, which was originally slated to launch in 2020 but was canceled due to the pandemic.

Play BroadwayWorld's Daily Word Game - 2/7/2023Play BroadwayWorld's Daily Word Game - 2/7/2023
February 7, 2023

Today's BroadwayWorld Daily Word Game is now live - can you guess today's word or phrase? The solution can be any theatre related word or phrase - a show title, performer, recognizable lyrical phrase, and more.

Matthew Shepard Foundation and Tectonic Theater Project Respond to Kansas School Board's Removal of THE LARAMIE PROJECTMatthew Shepard Foundation and Tectonic Theater Project Respond to Kansas School Board's Removal of THE LARAMIE PROJECT
February 6, 2023

Students of the Senior English Composition class at Kansas' Lansing High School will go without their 'Social Justice Expository Unit' following a recent vote made by the Lansing Board of Education.

Hennepin Theatre Trust Teases 2023/24 Season; Can You Guess The Shows?Hennepin Theatre Trust Teases 2023/24 Season; Can You Guess The Shows?
February 6, 2023

Hennepin Theatre Trust, which hosts the Broadway Across America touring season in Minneapolis, has released 5 clues to tease the first show in its upcoming 2023/2024 season.