The Secret Life of Bees - Previews

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RippedMan
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The Secret Life of Bees - Previews #1
Posted: 5/11/19 at 11:43am

Anyone going?

Updated On: 5/12/19 at 11:43 AM
Iamme2
Swing
joined:11/13/13
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #2
Posted: 5/11/19 at 12:47pm

RippedMan said: "Anyone going?"

i will be there next week - I will report back! 

 

mcsquared
Stand-by
joined:3/2/11
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #3
Posted: 5/12/19 at 12:23am
It seems so expensive ó$97 for date I checked before fees! Iím wondering if it will transfer to broadway with more spread in pricing.
annang
Leading Actor
joined:10/9/16
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #4
Posted: 5/12/19 at 4:02pm
I have one extra ticket for tonight. $89.50 (what I paid) or best offer. Message me if interested, meet at the theater for the 7pm show.
annang
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joined:10/9/16
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #5
Posted: 5/12/19 at 6:02pm

annang said: "I have one extra ticket for tonight. $89.50 (what I paid) or best offer. Message me if interested, meet at the theater for the 7pm show. "

 

Still available. Best offer.

 

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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #6
Posted: 5/12/19 at 6:26pm
I guess Iím going to the first preview! Didnít realize when I bought it!
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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #7
Posted: 5/12/19 at 10:54pm

Was at the first preview tonight, and it wrecked me in the best way. Just glorious from all accounts. 

It's, essentially, a bare stage with the band surrounding the cast. There are a few surprises here and there, but it's pretty straight-forward in the design. There were a few elements - a rope hanging - that never got use, so I wonder what they were for. Maybe something didn't get teched in time? 

I think this is Shiek's best score to date. I love his music and love his use of minor chords, so I was already on board, but the orchestrations give this such a deep-south, brassy sound. There was no song list, but everyone gets a chance to shine, and damn do they shine! Saycon has a big song towards the end of Act 1 that is just glorious. And the two younger characters have a gorgeous Act 2 ballad. Everyone was in excellent voice, and just to be in such a tight space with all these incredible singers and this thrilling band: I was just so excited. The music had me tapping my toes and crying. 

The performances were pretty incredible. I didn't know the source material going in, so at first I was confused that LaChanze wasn't the central character, but it all made sense in the end. LaChanze brought a gravitas to the part, which it needs, and her voice was just flawless. Saycon just won me over. Such a lovely performance, so layered. And her voice blew me away. She's a powerhouse, but I loved when she just flipped into her falsetto. I thought Elizabeth Teeter was a damn powerhouse. She's the central character and essentially never leaves the stage, and she has a moment with LaChanze in Act 2 that is just a gorgeous bit of acting. 

I like Sam Gold's direction. I like that he kept the Virgin Mary theme as the central design to the show - lots of candles everywhere, etc. And I loved his stage pictures. But, I'm not sure he knows how to stage a musical number. Most of the time the characters would just stand and deliver, which worked, but there were a few instances where the music was thumping and uptempo and it needed a bit more oomph in the staging. But overall I thought he did a good job. My only complaint was Lily says "I'm scared of bees" - but in the opening scene we see a bee buzzing around and she seems not disturbed at all... so that didn't add up. 

Overall, I think it's really strong and I'd love to go back and see it again. I LOVED the score. I'm not sure I could see this on Broadway. It's so small. It reminded me of Come From Away - and that's doing just fine - so who knows. But with a powerhouse team like this, I'd think Broadway is for sure the endgame. 

bear88
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joined:4/26/16
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #8
Posted: 5/12/19 at 11:26pm

Given the creatives involved, and the fact that it's based on a best-selling novel and moneymaking film, I am quite sure this is headed for Broadway. I wish I had noticed this one sooner, as it's sold out when I'm headed to NYC. It sounds like a work in progress, but any musical with a strong score and excellent performances is off to a promising start. "Smaller" musicals have done well recently (The Band's Visit, Fun Home, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen). After a season in which most people have griped about weak or pedestrian scores in new musicals, save Hadestown, any show with a good score starts off ahead of the game.

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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #9
Posted: 5/12/19 at 11:31pm
Agreed! Honestly thereís not a clunker song in the show. But my only gripe with Shriekís music is itís often too short. He writes simple songs, which is why I was curious how his music would work with powerhouse singers, but he totally made it work. But, like, the dad has a song that basically goes no where. But itís a cool melody, but just kind of comes and goes. But I love his interlude music.
hveasey
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joined:3/27/19
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #10
Posted: 5/13/19 at 12:13am
Thank you for the detailed review, RippedMan. Iím not seeing this until July but your review has me very excited.
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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #11
Posted: 5/13/19 at 12:35am
I really feel this is a special, special show! And I expect it to be even better in July! And curious how Gold would re-do it for Broadway as it is very specific to its current space.
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NYfanfromCA
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #12
Posted: 5/13/19 at 12:47am
This show is in amazing shape for a first preview. I was there tonight and it was absolutely wonderful. The cast is stellar. I loved the intimate setting and the music and lyrics were so good. Try to find last minute seats (I got to see Hangmen at the Atlantic by looking for last minute seat). I would love to see it again to see what changes are made.
FactsAreFacts
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #13
Posted: 5/13/19 at 10:12am

Did anyone note what the running time was last night?

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Mike Barrett
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #14
Posted: 5/13/19 at 10:21am

Having not seen the movie or read the book, I admit this peeks my interest. Hoping to catch it this summer, and praying for a transfer! 

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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #15
Posted: 5/13/19 at 10:25am

2 hrs. 20mins. Honestly it flew by. 

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Kad
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #16
Posted: 5/13/19 at 11:17am

I'm pleasantly surprised by the positive reports, honestly. Shiek's projects post-Spring Awakening have been kind of a muddled mess. 

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #17
Posted: 5/13/19 at 11:45am
Iím very excited to see this. Reminds me how much I miss the Spring Awakening revival and American Psycho
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BeNice
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #18
Posted: 5/13/19 at 11:47am

RippedMan said: "Agreed! Honestly there’s not a clunker song in the show. But my only gripe with Shriek’s music is it’s often too short. He writes simple songs, which is why I was curious how his music would work with powerhouse singers, but he totally made it work. But, like, the dad has a song that basically goes no where. But it’s a cool melody, but just kind of comes and goes. But I love his interlude music. "

How was the book?

 

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RippedMan
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #19
Posted: 5/13/19 at 3:19pm
I donít know the source material, so I canít judge it on that, but I think itís both good and bad. Itís a bit confusing to know whose story it is? It is an ensemble piece? Is it Lily? But I think it does a solid job of giving all the characters their moments.

On a side note I really enjoyed the fight choreography!
teatime2
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #20
Posted: 5/16/19 at 12:34am

This show is damn near perfection!

Hamilfan2
Featured Actor
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #21
Posted: 5/17/19 at 11:33am

Kind of surprised by the positive reception on here.  I didn't hate it but thought it needed a lot of work, especially in terms of pacing.  I had never read the book or seen the movie so I went in completely blind.  I absolutely loved the first 30 minutes, thought they were pretty close to perfect and did a great job setting up this story.  Unfortunately for me the show started to derail after this point.  The performances were uniformly great, and the vocals are all stunning.  Particular the little girl playing Lily is giving a superb performance, reminds me of seeing Sydney Lucas in Fun Home for the first time.  She has a big career ahead of her.

A lot of my issues with this show lie with the story and pacing, and those could just be leftovers from the book/movie, but I thought the plot meandered a lot and needed more focus.  Specifically it felt like there were very little stakes, and when there were obstacles encountered by the characters they were solved very easily (and often very quickly/abruptly).  There are plot points that are set up and then never go anywhere.  For example, the first number of Act 2 is about how excited the characters are for the arrival of a character but then that character never shows up and is never mentioned again except for one throw-away line later in the act.  I feel like I must have missed something, but the person I went with was equally confused.

The music is great, although not all of the songs feel necessary and lyrics are hit or miss.  As someone previously mentioned in this thread, some of the songs are awkwardly short to the point where its quite jarring and the audience didn't know if they should applaud.  A lot of the transitions going between scene and song (and vice versa) can definitely be smoothed, but this is something that is easy enough to fix during the rest of previews.

Overall this show has so much potential and think it could be really great.  It has all the makings of a truly great musical, it just needs to be tightened up.  I think they would be better off focusing on Lily's journey as the focal point and then removing a lot of the extraneous plot lines and giving the main plot lines room to breathe.  A lot of the changes needed are small adjustments and definitely doable, this show is not un-salvageable like Alice by Heart.  I think if they make the necessary changes this show could be a huge hit and I am excited to see where it goes from here.  But as it currently exists I found it to be overwhelmingly mediocre and a tad slow.

 

batchels
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #22
Posted: 5/17/19 at 12:02pm

Any opinions about front row or seating on the far sides for this show?  Thanks!

Boston Friend
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #23
Posted: 5/18/19 at 7:55am
I was in front row last night towards middle and the seated were great. I think the sides would be fine.

The show was great with some really beautiful songs. Strangely the audience was cautious with standing ovation at the end.
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Susanswerphone
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #24
Posted: 5/19/19 at 6:11am
Sat. matinee I was front row side first act and moved back for second. Both locations are fine.
I loved every minute!
It's clear there's work to be done and a few people still need to settle in (Lily and Zach, May), but it's still a beautiful show.
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.
wolfwriter
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Secret Life of Bees - Previews #25
Posted: 5/19/19 at 8:41am

For an entire week, Octet held the title of my favorite musical of the year. It has been completely  dethroned by The Secret Life Of Bees, an exceptional piece that left me emotionally wrecked in the same way Fun Home, The Band's Visit and Next To Normal did. 

Thankfully, this made up for the Friday's visit to the dreadful Burn This. This beautiful show more than erased that memory and, as I said to my companion, this is why I always go to the theater. For every Burn This, there's a Secret Life Of Bees.

I loved absolutely everything about this. The scenic design by Mimi Lien is perfection. The lighting design is great and I usually don't notice unless it's particularly poor. The orchestra/band is excellent. The score, by Duncan Sheik is great, from start to finish, with numerous standout numbers that gives everyone in the cast, their time to shine. An a-capella number in the Second Act is as good as anything in the entire show. Thrilling.

There is no song list in the playbill, but there's not a bad song in show. The shortness of some songs works, for me, because it's those points where dialogue just won't suffice. It didn't bother me at all and in fact, it was different and I loved it.

LaChanze can do no wrong, in my world, but there isn't a weak link in the entire cast. Elizabeth Teeter as Lily, is a young lady with a bright future. Her layered acting for such a young person is exceptional and her second-act duet with the excellent Brett Gray is beautiful.

I'm a bit confused by the comments that there's so much work to be done. I don't see where, but it's also possible they've made the necessary tweaks. Even the pacing was perfect. We looked at each other at intermission, both incredulous that it was already half over. Started about 8:10 and we were on the street about 10:45. And, every second flew by.

This is about as perfect a musical as I've seen at this stage of previews. Will it get deeper and better. I'm sure. Will I sit through it again? In a heartbeat. 

If you can get a ticket, you're in for a very special treat.

Updated On: 5/19/19 at 08:41 AM