The Secret Life of Bees - Previews

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dramamama611
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #26
Posted: 5/19/19 at 8:45am
^not sure why you'd think you'd get hate for that comment...I think you are 100% correct.

Audiences off-b'way (and at straight plays) are much more discerning about standing ovations. And I agree, its refreshing.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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dramamama611
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #27
Posted: 5/19/19 at 8:45am
^not sure why you'd think you'd get hate for that comment...I think you are 100% correct.

Audiences off-b'way (and at straight plays) are much more discerning about standing ovations. And I agree, its refreshing.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Susanswerphone
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #28
Posted: 5/19/19 at 9:47am

dramamama611 said: "^not sure why you'd think you'd get hate for that comment...I think you are 100% correct."

 Thanks. At my age, in these times, it's hard to know what is perceived as an elitist attitude, as opposed to an informed opinion. I don't care. I stand by my statement. I just was preparing for an onslaught I've seen here at times.

 

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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #29
Posted: 5/19/19 at 9:59am
I have to agree with the Act 2 opening. Itís all about a famous movie star coming to town with their girlfriend - an interracial couple - so I thought it might play into the Lily/Zach storyline somehow, but it didnít. So not sure what the point of that was? Itís a great song, and love Sayconís moment in it.
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macnyc
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #30
Posted: 5/19/19 at 10:12am

Good news! From the website:

 

BACK25 UPDATE:

Back25 tickets for The Secret Life of Bees are sold out. We are thrilled to announce that an additional allotment of $25 tickets will be made available daily via an exclusive TodayTix lottery for performances May 12 – July 7.

Updated On: 5/19/19 at 10:12 AM
wolfwriter
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #31
Posted: 5/19/19 at 10:42am

RippedMan said: "I have to agree with the Act 2 opening. It’s all about a famous movie star coming to town with their girlfriend - an interracial couple - so I thought it might play into the Lily/Zach storyline somehow, but it didn’t. So not sure what the point of that was? It’s a great song, and love Saycon’s moment in it."

This is an interesting take on that song. I never once thought the song was about them actually coming to town.

Entirely possible that I missed something, but, to me, the song was more about having a "dream," (for lack of a better word), that a well-known interracial couple could come to town, sit in the front row at the movie theater and nobody would bat an eye.

I didn't even consider that Jack Palance might show up or play into any plot-line later on.

bwayjoey
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #32
Posted: 5/19/19 at 7:22pm


The matinee audience was also cautious about a standing ovation. Not unusual, nor unwarranted here. I may get some hate for this, but I find off-Bway audiences tend to be more judicious and discerning. It's refreshing."

 

Not everyone leapt to their feet instantaneously but it only took a few seconds for yesterday's audience to give it a unanimous standing ovation, which is unusual for an  off-broadway still in previews, before the rave reviews.

 

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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #33
Posted: 5/19/19 at 9:27pm

Perhaps I missed the set up to the song, so that could very well be just what it is. But I thought basically that this famous couple would come to town, and Lilly and Zach would be mistaken for them, etc. But clearly that never happened. So I might have missed something.

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Rogerdellibovi
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #34
Posted: 5/19/19 at 11:09pm
I read this book in high school and Iím struggling to remember the plot but I know I enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone who gave in depth reviews!
wolfwriter
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #35
Posted: 5/19/19 at 11:16pm

RippedMan said: "Perhaps I missed the set up to the song, so that could very well be just what it is. But I thought basically that this famous couple would come to town, and Lilly and Zach would be mistaken for them, etc. But clearly that never happened. So I might have missed something."

You may be totally right and we may have read something into it that wasn't there.

I did ask my companion what he thought about the song, but I didn't tell him what I thought and I didn't tell him what you suggested. I wanted to see where he went with it.

He said he never expected Jack Palance to show up, but he also thought that Lily and Zachary and what happened to them, later on, was a sort of juxtaposition with the hopefulness of the song.

Again, he may have read more into it than was really there. As a playwright, there's a hard and fast rule that you never want your audience to write your play for you.

If that's the case, it does, as you say, present a small but fixable issue for the show. 

Either way, this show is will stick with me for a long time and I can't wait to go back down the road, to see if, and how it evolves.

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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #36
Posted: 5/19/19 at 11:25pm

I still loved it! But yeah, that’s easily fixable!

did they use the rope that’s hanging above the set? 

Updated On: 5/19/19 at 11:25 PM
wolfwriter
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #37
Posted: 5/19/19 at 11:46pm

RippedMan said: "I still loved it! But yeah, that’s easily fixable!

did they use the rope that’s hanging above the set?
"

I'm glad you liked it, too. I hope this has a life after the Atlantic run.

I honestly don't think I noticed rope above the stage. Now, I'm going to think about this all night :)

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VotePeron
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #38
Posted: 5/20/19 at 10:23am

I'm a massive fan of everyone involved with this show, and the material itself. I went in with very high expectations, and I have to admit, most were met or exceeded. The show does a great job of honoring the emotional pull of the book, without making it melodramatic or cliche. The music...oh my god, the music. Talk about stunning. There is a song about 30 minutes into Act 1 that took my breath away in such a sense that I was moved to tears. There are multiple songs that I'm still humming, days after seeing it. 

The tone of the show is solid, and Gold has worked to build a believable, grounded world. The performances are uniformly strong, with an excellent cast commitment. There is a sense of community that is presented, and it feels extremely authentic - the ensemble sounds so so beautiful together.

Act 1 is stronger than Act 2, and I think that is for a variety of reasons. I will outline more in a spoiler box below, but to put it short - the novel The Secret Life of Bees is really f*cking sad. Like, really sad. They don't go that far in the stage adaptation, and I feel it is for both the better and worse. They pick one emotional arc to follow, and that more or less fulfills the story. However, because of the restructuring of the narrative in Act 2, the emotional trauma feels a bit rushed, and was kind of unsatisfying as a fan of the novel.

Overall, this will be a massive hit. Sorry, Moulin Rouge. Cannot wait for this to land on Broadway. I can also see this being performed in regional theaters across the country for the rest of time - it's story is so touching, and the production is so wonderful. Couldn't recommend it enough.

 

- Spoilers below. Fans of the novel, please DM me if you see the show and the following has changed.

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

In the novel/movie, one of the sisters, May, drowns herself at the story's emotional climax. In the musical, she doesn't - she doesn't even attempt. She instead makes a passive remark later in the show that she considered it, but didn't go through with it.

In the scheme of things, I guess the story doesn't need May to kill herself, but it sure as hell adds to the emotional trauma of the story. I'm extremely curious as to why this choice was made/omitted, and if they'd ever consider adding it back in. It definitely walks the line of tragedy porn and a more streamlined emotional arc. Very curious to see how/if this choice evolves!

 

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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #39
Posted: 5/20/19 at 10:55am
Spoiler: I feel like they wanted to show a positive message hence the acapella song! Just showing that life can be awful, but youíve gotta pick yourself up and keep going
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Mike Barrett
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #40
Posted: 5/20/19 at 10:57am

Reaalllyyyyy hoping this makes it to Broadway in time for next season! Honestly the musical lineup is looking really solid at this point. 

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macnyc
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #41
Posted: 5/20/19 at 11:21am

I caught the evening show yesterday. The very simple staging worked well and allowed the actors to shine. They are doing an amazing job, all of them. If you are a LaChanze fan, run to see this. But everyone was stellar, and the singing is top-notch. I think the performers are making the score seem better than it is. To me it seemed mostly generic. It had some bright spots, but not enough. Maybe a second listen would help, but usually if a score grabs me, I get it the first time around.

I would say that the score to me is on a level similar to Tootsie or Waitress or Groundhog Day, for instance, kind of middle-of-the-road, gets-the-job-done sort of thing. I'm glad others are enjoying Bees more than I did!

I also want to point out that the sound design need adjusting, in my humble opinion. The band is way too amplified for the relatively small space. I got the feeling that the singers were pushing to be heard, and that meant some of the lyrics got lost. The sound in general seemed muddy. Since this was an early preview, I hope that the creative team can fix this. I sat in the second row, in case that makes any difference. I would be curious to hear what others think.



 

Updated On: 5/20/19 at 11:21 AM
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #42
Posted: 5/20/19 at 11:55am
I saw this last night and thought it was really beautiful.

Iíll admit that the book is occasionally a tad over ambitious. Not everything feels totally balanced, and some things could definitely be trimmed here and there, but IMO there was nothing big that was screaming to be cut. But even when I felt like there was a little bit too much going on, I still think they managed to make each individual thing work. At no point did I feel like they were just lazily tossing a scene into the show. It seems to me that all of the artists involved collaborated and worked hard to really bring each moment to life.

The score is simply phenomenal. For my money, itís Sheikís best score yet by far. I completely disagree with the poster above. I think this score has a complexity, depth, and scope that is quite a lot greater than your average middle-of-the-road score these days. I do agree about the sound amplification levels though.

I was really impressed with the acting all around, but especially Elizabeth Teeter. I remember seeing her in The Audience and The Crucible when she was younger, but that was kid stuff (literally) compared to this. She has turned into a really extraordinary actor - not just by the standards of teenagers.

Iím not familiar with the source material, but reading the post above, Iím glad they made that big change. I think Iím todayís day and age, itís ultimately more meaningful to put a positive spin on things like that.

Iíd be curious to hear about other changes that Nottage & co. made from the source material. Anyone else?
Boston Friend
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #43
Posted: 5/20/19 at 12:43pm

IMO, Sheik reaches a new level with this musical. He has been able to maintain his high creative standards with a musical that will have broad commercial appeal. 

Iamme2
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #44
Posted: 5/20/19 at 3:23pm

Boston Friend said: "IMO, Sheik reaches a new level with this musical. He has been able to maintain his high creative standards with a musical that will have broad commercial appeal."

The music is haunting and beautiful ! This show is an incredible story and the total creative package is what the best of theater should be ! 

nasty_khakis
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #45
Posted: 5/20/19 at 3:27pm

While not "dud/bad" songs, the song about the car (played very much like Seaweed/Run and Tell That) and the movie star song need cut. They do nothing for the story.

My main complaints were that Gold has zero clue how to stage musical numbers and it seemed at points like none of the cast were looking at each other while speaking. 

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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #46
Posted: 5/20/19 at 3:34pm

nasty_khakis said: "While not "dud/bad" songs, the song about the car (played very much like Seaweed/Run and Tell That) and the movie star song need cut. They do nothing for the story.

My main complaints were that Gold has zero clue how to stage musical numbers and it seemed at points like none of the cast were looking at each other while speaking.
"

I didn't mind the car song since it at least vaguely sets up the events at the end of Act 2 (although I think it could do this better) and it is the first time those 2 characters really bond.  So for me it worked for the most part.  The song about the movie star coming to town I found to be confusing and out of place, agreed it would be best to cut it and open Act 2 with a different moment.  I actually enjoyed it as a song, but it didn't work for me in the context of the show.

nasty_khakis
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #47
Posted: 5/20/19 at 3:50pm

It's definitely a "kill your darlings" situation of cutting perfectly good songs fpr the sake of moving story along. If Gold cast dancers and staged it as a "num-bah!" (not saying he needs to or should) they could be big show stopping pieces, but it's not that kind of musical. I don't think the car song sets anything up other than he can drive her in Act 2 but he could still have a line about having a car. I'd rather give him a song about having a dream/college/lawyer to set up the (apparently easily fixed and solved) awfulness he gets into later. 

Not to throw direct comparison to another musical about black women in the American south finding a voice and strength but all during the title song I kept thinking it sounded like the title song from The Color Purple. 

Alessio2
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #48
Posted: 5/20/19 at 4:09pm

Anyone think this might transfer to Broadway by the fall? Would love to see it when I'm in New York in November...

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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #49
Posted: 5/20/19 at 4:20pm

Alessio2 said: "Anyone think this might transfer to Broadway by the fall? Would love to see it when I'm in New York in November..."

I assume this will transfer if it gets solid reviews, given the caliber of the people involved. The Atlantic is probably hoping it takes off in the same way The Band's Visit did.

"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #50
Posted: 5/20/19 at 4:27pm

It's transferring.