‘& Juliet’ @ Stephen Sondheim Theatre: NYC (12/21/22)

My time has finally come….to see & Juliet on Broadway! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this show for months! I didn’t make it a priority earlier because I was focusing on my London trip (and didn’t want to risk getting sick) but now I was ready and I was finally able to grab digital rush tickets from TodayTix!

I’m going to try and be as honest and open in my reviews as I can. Please note these are my personal opinions and I’m always open to discussions!

Show Name: & Juliet
Show Type: Musical
Location: Stephen Sondheim Theatre, NYC
Date Seen: Wednesday, December 21, 2022

💘💫 TodayTix digital rush is a challenge, some people grab it easily and others struggle. I’m one of the latter who struggled despite typically being good at these types of things. But Wednesday was my lucky day! The rush tickets I grabbed were in the last row of the mezzanine, but because of how the Stephen Sondheim Theatre is structured, it’s a full view of the stage! The seats are stadium style so nobody is blocking the person behind them which was really nice.

Many people have told me this is a show I would greatly enjoy. During the beginning of the show I was hesitant – I didn’t immediately love it. I was hesitant to see where the plot would go. After a few songs and towards the middle of Act 1 I did warm up to this story line!

& Juliet focuses on the “what if” scenario – what if Juliet didn’t die at the end of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and she could live her life. This show uses all songs written by Max Martin, who is a songwriter/producer behind more #1 hits than any other artist this century. (According to the playbill, “He’s basically the Shakespeare of pop music.”) The characters use the songs to convey what is going on in their life and to move the plot forward – similar to any other musical, except this time the audience already knows all the music from hearing it on the radio!

I thought the use of songs were really clever in how they worked with the spoken dialogue as well, I really appreciated that! I don’t want to spoil too much because I enjoyed going into this show knowing only the bare minimum, but I will say my favorite use of songs were “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry and “Since U Been Gone”by Kelly Clarkson. “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi at the end of Act 1 was well done and had me slapping my knees – during the lines, “Like Frankie said, ‘I did it my way’” were said by the character François, aka “Frankie” as nicknamed by Juliet.

Juliet was really fun and I liked her more in this than I ever did in the actual play! Her best friend, May, is non-binary and they are my favorite character in this entire show. They are so wonderful and a true friend to Juliet, and the story doesn’t stray away from them being non-binary. May sings the sing, “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” which was fitting for the scene.

While I understand the songs that were used in this show were all Max Martin songs, I’m going to be honest – the show felt very repetitive with the music. I might feel differently after I see the show a second time, but for my first viewing, I was tired of hearing multiple Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and *NSYNC songs in this show*. Don’t get me wrong – all of the Britney songs slayed as they should have – but I was bored with the Katy Perry songs pretty quickly. The plot was good and I enjoyed it – it was exactly the type of show I was looking for – but I’m not ready to say I love this show just yet.

*For the record – 7 Backstreet Boys, 5 Britney Spears, 3 Katy Perry songs, 1 *NSYNC and 1 Justin Timberlake songs were used. (Ok I’ll let the *NSYNC/JT one slide.) But you see what I mean by repetition.

Do you like jukebox musicals? What’s your favorite one, or favorite song used in one?


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