a musical fantasy
A damn good musical, rich in intelligence and emotion. Enjoyable, thought-provoking entertainment. Charming and quirky. Sophisticated melodies blend well with a sensitive book and deftly crafted lyrics. A quintet of Broadway musical veterans sings and acts with obvious relish. A striking set. Lighting that captures all the right moods. Luscious, intimate orchestrations. A much needed sign of intellectual life in New York's musical theatre world.
A genuine charmer. Its lovely, melodic score is sensitively staged and beautifully sung. The voices send chills down a music lover's spine. Director Gabriel Barre smoothly and nimbly maneuvers his cast through the shifts between the real and fantasy sequences. The small St. Peter's Theater is the perfect setting to bring out the show's delicate intimacy. Who said small can't be beautiful?
A Fine and Private Place wins you over. Equal parts fantasy and reality, this is not gloomy graveyard fare. Visitors will feel welcomed. All of the characters matter and all are memorable. In a strong and strong-voiced cast, the standout is Christiane Noll in a performance that is beautifully sung and compellingly acted. Soaring anthems to the magic of love are tempered with realism. "The bravest hearts wind up in pieces," sings Gertrude Klapper. When the pieces fit, as they do in A Fine and Private Place, it's well worth taking the chance.
The most captivating embrace of the season occurs between two characters who never even touch. The ecstatic, erotic moment in question happens in the second act of A Fine and Private Place, the gentle new musical being produced by the York Theatre Company. What's more, it happens between two ghosts.
The show has all the emotional and theatrical power you could wish for. Richard Isen's music is always beautiful, at times even magically rapturous, and surging with restful romanticism. Erik Haagensen's book and lyrics show great care and creativity.
Glenn Seven Allen and Christiane Noll make powerful impressions in their songs. "No One Ever Knows" is heartfelt, the emotional peak of Evalyn Baron's performance. Joe Kolinski sings his music robustly. Director Gabriel Barre is a one-note hoot as the Raven, and his staging of the ghost-human interactions is beautiful.
Often-impressive work. The four leads do well; credit goes to director Gabriel Barre. York subscribers should be pleased. A Fine & Private Place gets points for being an unconventional musical displaying originality and heart, not to mention attractive performances. Regionals looking for an earnest and economical musical should give this tombstone tuner an afterlife.
Richard Isen and Erik Haagensen are to be commended for writing this gentle love story. Strong performances: Evalyn Baron’s acting is nicely nuanced, Christiane Noll and Glenn Seven Allen sing their roles beautifully, and Joe Kolinski also sings well. Gabriel Barre flies away with the show; his comic timing is delicious, and his little bits of business add enormously to the fun. Excellent work from the design team: James Morgan's fluid set design creates a variety of playing spaces; Jeff Croiter's lighting does an extremely effective job of creating the ghostly world; and Pamela Scofield's costumes, especially for the raven, are excellent.
A Fine and Private Place is an admirably ambitious piece with a lot to offer audiences. A charming and romantic musical fantasy. Isen’s music is light and pretty and Haagensen’s lyrics are pleasant. Director Gabriel Barre has mounted a well-acted, nicely sung and visually imaginative production. Barre is fun to watch as the raven and delivers his wisecracks well. Glenn Seven Allen and Christiane Noll make for an attractive and well-sung couple, playing their scenes with warmth and sincerity. Evalyn Baron is quite tender and sympathetic as the lonely Gertrude. Joseph Kolinski is comical and hearty in the role of Jonathan. James Morgan’s set, Jeff Croiter’s lights and Scott De la Cruz’s projections create exceptional design work executed with the kind of taste and artfulness that puts many large-budgeted musicals to shame. The York’s production contains enough charms to delight lovers of intimate, romantic musicals. Sublime theatrical bliss to be savored and adored.
The lyricist Erik Haagensen and the composer Richard Isen have fashioned a gently eccentric musical.
-The New Yorker Magazine
"'Lestat' on Broadway is getting the attention, but the living dead are singing off Broadway as well. Fine voices! 'Close Your Eyes,' a lament about letting go, beautifully delivered by Ms. Noll, is transporting!"
-The New York Times
Creating a musical that takes place in a graveyard is no small challenge. But A Fine & Private Place is a sweet and wistful show. Joseph Kolinski provides a human touch singing 'Much More Alive.' Glenn Seven Allen does a nice job singing 'I'm Not Going Gently.' Christiane Noll has a pleasing voice singing 'One Last Chance.' Evalyn Baron's Gertrude is maturely appealing, and she is poignant delivering 'No One Ever Knows.' Gabriel Barre gives an amusing performance as the Raven; his movements are delightfully birdlike, and his voice resembles a scratchy crowing. There is a gentleness about the approach that lifts the show. A sincere effort to say something more about life than about death.
–Wolf Entertainment Guide
An unusual show, haunting and offbeat, A Fine & Private Place has gorgeous music by Richard Isen. Mr. Haagensen's lyrics are refreshingly intelligent and literate. The cast are all outstanding singer-actors. Christiane Noll gives a delicately modulated performance and lives up to her reputation as one of the most versatile young leading women working today. Her singing is simply peerless. Gary Littman, a gifted mime, is the Raven; his performance is one of the show's many delights. But it is Evalyn Barron (who was Tony-nominated for 'Quilters') as the old Jewish woman, Gertrude Klapper, who steals the show. This character could have been a cliche, but Barron's warmth and finely nuanced performance endowed her with a beautiful humanity that made me really care about her. This is truly one of the outstanding performances of the season. In one of Tennessee Williams' plays, a character says that people buried in the 'bone orchard' are talking to the living, saying, 'Live! Live!' In this story, it's one of the living who tells the ghosts, 'Love! Love!' Don't miss it!
Erik Haagensen and Richard Isen's understated score displays musical and lyrical sophistication. There are lovely songs, chief among them the haunting 'Close Your Eyes,' beautifully sung by Noll. The actors deliver engaging turns, with Barre giving a nicely detailed physical performance as the persnickety bird.