Off Broadway Theater Review: Suffs

Suffs

Official Blurb: A musical event one hundred years in the making, SUFFS brings to life a complicated chapter in the ongoing battle for the right to vote: the American women’s suffrage movement. Written by and featuring one of the most exciting new voices in theater, Shaina Taub, this epic new musical takes an unflinching look at these unsung trailblazers. In the seven years leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, an impassioned group of suffragists—“Suffs” as they called themselves—took to the streets, pioneering protest tactics that transformed the country. They risked their lives as they clashed with the president, the public, and each other. A thrilling story of brilliant, flawed women working against and across generational, racial, and class divides, SUFFS boldly explores the victories and failures of a fight for equality that is still far from over.

My take: Is there anything better than the feeling of seeing a wonderful piece of new musical theater? Well yes I know its just a few of us, but trust me its thrilling. This is a wonderful show and I’m so glad I got to see it. It’s sold out for the rest of its run, but if there are cancellations do try to see it. But don’t worry I’m sure this will transfer to Broadway soon at some point – it is a show with broad ambitions. I read somewhere this show described as the new Hamilton and i can see where they are coming from. But no, its not that good (Hamilton is obsession level) but it does have very similar elements such as the historical references, the timeline and the ruining out of time motif. oh and also Phillipa Soo 😉 It does not however have the standout radio singles that Hamilton does. The music is delightful but not totally memorable, i think its just missing the one I would listed in repeat. But I did really like a couple of the songs, especially How Long. It is a very different show from Act 1 to Act 2. Act 1 has the big numbers an performances Act 2 has the heart. I was tearing up by the end. And actually can not tell you which act I preferred they both serve their purpose. I also enjoyed how the fight was brought to current times without being preachy. Relevance and social commentary in a very astute way.

Of course the best thing about this was the cast. I went when Shaina Taub was out with COVID but her cover, Holly Gould, was still excellent. The level of performers and acting was spectacular! All were superb, but highlights for me where Phillipa Soo and Nikki M James but shout out to the voice of Nadia Dandashi she was excellent.

My only three notes: (like they would care about my notes but I will give them anyway)

  1. i could have done with more stylized choreography in the staging – not necessarily dance numbers but in the scene building. I feel like there was a very staged first number and then it just falls off. and there is a lot of standing around that doesn’t look as impactful.
  2. The lightning design was great and it improved on something that I could improve which was the stage. It seemed impactful but the black columns just didn’t do it for me, there was too much black between costumes and stage and it all blended a bit.
  3. I love the concept of an all female cast, but i think it would be even more effective if everyone was female and Woodrow Wilson was male, it would give it more gravitas, but i understand how it would take away from the “all female” production

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