Skip my review and go see this show. You’ll have a smile on your face the entire time.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s dig in.
I can’t say I was a huge fan of the Two River original cast album. For those unaware, this show was originally written for and presented by Two River Theater in New Jersey. It ran briefly and then disappeared for quite some time. But they recorded a cast album, and it ended up going viral with kids on social media. Someone brought it up to the record company, and they mounted an off-Broadway production as a result. From there it transferred to Broadway, and here we are.
They don’t seem to have changed much. But the music, which felt awkward and lifeless on the album to me, really works on-stage. The show is fun, funny, heartfelt, and a joy to watch. While of course the plot is predictable, predictable plots work for a reason.
The sets and the sound system aren’t likely to be reproduced on tour, so this is a show that benefits from a New York viewing. The stage is transformed into a series of giant nested squips (a gray, oblong pill), and it progressively transforms throughout the show in ways I don’t want to spoil here.
Will Roland is here fresh from Dear Evan Hansen, and this role feels made for him. Stephanie Hsu, as the love interest, reprises her role from the original Two Rivers cast—and she’s amazing in every way. Jason Tam kills it as The Squip, and his outfits totally steal the show. George Salazar as Michael is heartbreaking and wonderful. When Jeremy and Christine finally kiss, it’s everything you’ve been waiting so long to finally see.
Verdict: The tech in this show is great, the music works, and the cast does a fantastic job. See it.