Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of MISS YOU LIKE HELL at Baltimore Center Stage?
Miss You Like Hell recently opened at Baltimore Center Stage and the reviews are in!
Written by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Miss You Like Hell is a timely mother-daughter musical about escaping and belonging. Join Olivia and her mother Beatriz on a cross-country road trip of discovery and inextricable bonds. This powerful musical odyssey, with music and lyrics by Erin McKeown, explores the joys and complexities of being a family in a changing country, resonating with the headlines of today.
Miss You Like Hell is directed by Rebecca Martínez, in her Baltimore Center Stage directorial debut. The cast includes Gisela Adisa (Officer/Ensemble); Anthony Alfaro* (Lawyer/Ensemble); Ceasar F. Barrajas+ (Manuel); Jaela Cheeks-Lomax* (Pearl); Jono Eiland* (ICE Official/Ensemble); Stephanie Gomérez* (Olivia); Calvin McCullough* (Guy at Motel Desk/Ensemble); Michael Medeiros (Mo); Rachel Stern (Legal Clerk/Ensemble); Raphael Nash Thompson* (Higgins); and Lorraine Velez* (Beatriz). The creative team includes, Martinez (Director); Reid Thompson (Set Designer); Harry Nadal (Costume Designer); Elizabeth Mak (Lighting Designer); Tiffany Underwood Holmes (Music Director); Alex Perez (Choreographer); Charles Coes and Nathan Roberts (Sound Designers); Danielle Teague-Daniels* (Resident Stage Manager); Josie Felt* (Assistant Stage Manager); and Cori Dioquino (Assistant Director).
Read the reviews below!
Jack L. B. Gohn, BroadwayWorld: On balance, then, even if one does not fully believe in the evolution of the depicted family along the lines that Hudes would apparently wish, this is an enjoyable and uplifting evening of theater. The performances are Center Stage quality, which is to say stellar, and well-directed by Rebecca Martínez. Velez and Gomérez make a marvelous mother/daughter team. I loved Rachel Stern in a short but memorable turn as a court clerk and Jaela Cheeks-Lomax as Pearl, one of Olivia's blog supporters out in the ether. McKeown's music is always agreeable and occasionally inspiring, and well-performed by a tight band under music director Tiffany Underwood Holmes.
Kristopher Zgorski, DC Metro Theater Arts: Director Rebecca Martínez and Musical Director Tiffany Underwood Holmes waste no time in grabbing the audience's attention. A dark stage becomes a sea of flashlights and movement as the focus turns to the woman at the center of the stage. From the moment Lorraine Velez, as Beatriz, opens her mouth to sing the first notes of "(Prayer) Lioness," it is clear this is going to be a powerhouse performance. The chemistry - albeit tension-filled from the start - with on-stage daughter Olivia is immediate and captivating. Stephanie Gomérez fully embodies the soul of a troubled sixteen-year-old struggling to understand her place in the world. Along with excellent skills as dramatic actresses, both of these women possess deeply affecting vocal technique, thrilling the audience with each new solo number.
JV Torres, MD Theatre Guide: At the heart of the production "Miss You Like Hell" is a riddling dynamic of human and cultural abandonment. This sentimental theme is often obscured by layers of seemingly random subplots that may run parallel to the chaos of two women, an absentee mother named Beatriz (Lorraine Velez) and her half Hispanic daughter Olivia (Stephanie Gomérez), but hardly adds to the profound drama that unfolds in this play that often feels like a musical. As I watched the story in this show develop, its migrational trajectory was obvious, yet the playwright (Quiara Alegría Hudes) teased my curiosity just enough to keep me engaged until its finale.
Jayne Blanchard, DC Theatre Scene: Baltimore Center Stage's new artistic director Stephanie Ybarra gets off to a dynamic start with the winning, women-centered musical, Miss You Like Hell, which celebrates the passion and pain of Latinx women but generously embraces all people in search of a community where they belong and are lifted up.
Photo Credit: Bill Geensen