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Reviews of Choir Boy

Audience Raves

"Timely and touching. Loved the energy of the performers and the storyline."

"Absolutely fantastic! The singing, acting, lighting, costumes, set design ... A M A Z I N G!!"

"I saw it last night and was blown away! What an amazing heart-wrenching story--the perfect balance of poignancy and humor. And seriously, the music was absolutely beautiful. I was so moved by the angelic rendition of Motherless Child that I found myself trying to stifle my crying so I wouldn't disturb those sitting around me. Thank you! What a gift this performance was!"

"Beautiful harmonies and voices, well crafted individual roles with wonderful acting yet difficult subject."

"Live theater! Amazing vocals!!! Touching moments — very touching."

"I also thought the incorporation of music into the story on so many different levels was really interesting and thought-provoking. Slight aside, but I also appreciated the representation of different body sizes — it is so common to see only one specific build for the body of a man not wearing a shirt, so it was cool to have some different representation here."

"Great message, enjoyable performances!"

"The music, complexity of issues "in the school"; Choir Boy was so well staged. I cried ... actors and staging, combined with the music, were so well-measured. Admired physical work and rapid backstage costume changes, as well."

Critic Reviews

"There are endless reasons to prioritize experiencing Portland Center Stage’s production of Choir Boy.  It strikes me that not all of them can be put into words." –Oregon ArtsWatch

"{Choir Boy} — filled with silver-toned, soul-baring a cappella spirituals and a sweet Motownphilly-take on a signature Rihanna hit — packed a bigger-than-expected emotional wallop." –The Oregonian

National Reviews

“Another must-see, stunning piece of art from playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney. … Put simply, this is a play that demands to be seen, deserves to be seen, and must be seen.” –BroadwayWorld 

“Believe the buzz. Choir Boy, the small but mighty coming-of-age play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, deserves its kudos. [The play] captures the bristling tensions at a prestigious prep school for African American boys when a flamboyantly gay youth is named leader of their celebrated gospel choir.” –Variety

“The sweet harmonies of classic spirituals unite the sometimes fractious voices of the young men in Choir Boy … but when they raise their voices in unison, they offer a glimpse of a world in which the cruelty that can divide and destroy is dissolved in a graceful, embracing order. [An] affecting and honest portrait … of a gay youth tentatively beginning to find the courage to let the truth about himself become known.” –The New York Times

Choir Boy is a joyous celebration of vulnerability, a heartwarming reflection of how far we have come – and how far there is to go.” –Limelight Magazine

“In his stirring and stylishly told drama, Tarell Alvin McCraney cannily explores race and sexuality and the graces and gravity of history.” –NY Daily News

“A portrait of male adolescent turmoil within the walls of a prestigious African-American prep school.” —Hollywood Reporter

“The songs bring the house down. ... Choir Boy ascends and its choirboys achieve, as long as the notes hold, what feels like freedom.” –The Guardian

“Filled with beautifully sung a cappella hymns. … In Choir Boy, McCraney shows us how the arts can strengthen our sense of self and unite us, not just in spite of our differences but in celebration of them, if we only let them.” –The Globe & Mail 

In the News

"Although packed with a cappella spirituals and hymns, and featuring enough step choreography to fill a week of Fitbit goals, Choir Boy is not categorized as a musical. Still, the nonmusical musical is sure to hit all the right notes." –The Oregonian View the Feature

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