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The Reviews For Illinoise Are In!

The Sufjan Steven's Inspired Musical Gets Praised by Critics

After an incredible off-Broadway run, the Sufjan Stevens-inspired musical finally opened on Broadway on April 24 at the St James Theatre. The show, which originated at Chicago's Shakespeare Theatre, offers a genre-defying coming-of-age story inspired by Stevens' seminal 2005 album Illinois'. Written by Pulitzer prize winner Jackie Drury and directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Justin Peck, the show has garnered praise in all areas from critics and theatre-goers alike. Take a look below to discover what the critics have to say about Broadway's latest addition!

The Reviews

The New York Times: "But not together: Among a thousand other smart choices, Justin Peck (who directed and choreographed) and Jackie Sibblies Drury (who, with Peck, wrote the story) have delaminated the songs from the characters, thus avoiding the jukebox trap that diminishes both"

"The final Broadway production of this crazy busy 2023-24 season is also one of its most exhilarating: Illinoise is a thrilling and absolutely gorgeous dance celebration of singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens' 2005 early-career masterpiece LP Illinois, using a large cast of dancer-actors and three excellent singers, along with that extra "e" at the end of the show title to flesh out the loose story that might (or might not) have stayed hidden in the grooves of the concept album all along."

Variety: "This multifaceted mix, often stirring and fascinating to listen to, is not an inherently logical choice for a narrative work of art and yet, Justin Peck has devised, directed, and choreographed a 90-minute dance theater piece based on it, one that will indelibly be remembered as one of the most singular productions in recent Broadway history."

Theatrely: "Now on Broadway at the St. James Theater, this miracle of a show has traded the grandeur of Park Avenue Armory's monumental Drill Hall for a gentler intimacy. ("Intimate" would not be a typical descriptor for the St. James, but that's just how massive the Drill Hall is.) It remains, above all else, a magical work of fierce heart that bursts with indescribable wells of emotion."

Vulture: "And this is the real triumph of the new show built by Stevens, director and choreographer Justin Peck, and playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury around the epic blueprint of the album: Beyond its many technical glories, and its few brief stumbles, Illinoise achieves a holistic transcendence. For 90 glorious minutes, you do feel."

The Hollywood Reporter: "Without a word of spoken dialogue, the show pulls us into late adolescence, a time when love, anguish and everything in between are felt perhaps with the greatest intensity. The book co-written by director-choreographer Peck and Drury (who won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with her brilliant meta-theatrical race inquiry, Fairview) is skillfully shaped yet invisible in the best sense of undiluted physical, sensorial, and elemental storytelling."

"Reimagining Sufjan Stevens's 2005 album Illinois into a tale of love, longing, zombies, and killer clowns, when Illinoise works, it works like gangbusters. And when it doesn't, fear not; there's still plenty of beauty to behold at the St. James Theatre."

New York Post: "And while my gut tells me the show from New York City Ballet resident choreographer Justin Peck that's set to the songs of Sufjan Stevens is not really a musical per se, it is a transporting and soul-stirring experience all the same."

LA Times: "has not been a banner year for new musicals on Broadway, but with "Illinoise," the final show I saw this season, I glimpsed the majestic future."