Gary’s Rating of Between the Lines: 4.5/5
Main Cast: Arielle Jacobs (as Delilah), Jake David Smith (as Prince Oliver), Julia Murney (as Grace/Queen Maureen), Will Burton (as Frump/Ryan), Wren Rivera (Jules/Ondine), Hillary Fisher (as Allie/Princess Seraphima), John Rapson (as Dr. Ducharme/Rapskullio), Vicki Lewis (as Ms. Winx/Jessamyn and others)
Running Dates: Previews for the musical began June 15, 2022; Official opening July 11, 2022; Final performance Oct. 2, 2022
Theater Location: The Tony Kiser Theater, 305 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036
Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission
Tickets: From $49. Buy tickets here.
Gary’s Rating Score
The “Between the Lines” musical is an adaptation of a successful YA (young adult) novel by the same name. The author, Jodi Picoult, and her co-author and daughter, Samantha Van Leer, said they wanted the book to “sing.”
Luckily, 10 years after the novel’s publishing, we can finally enjoy the musical reiteration of the book in an Off-Broadway theater.
At first, I wasn’t sure if the magic of the novel would translate well on the stage. I am however, happy to report that production was excellent. The biggest credit for the 4.5/5 score goes out to the phenomenal cast who gave a memorable performance. I would note that, perhaps the biggest flaw of the musical is too much repetition in the first hour of the play.
What Is Between the Lines About?
The musical is about learning how to overcome difficulties with the help of imagination. The story centers on a 15-year-old girl named Delilah. A shy personality who doesn’t fit in with her peers, she’s more interested in books than socializing.
At the same time, she’s entirely consumed with the “Between the Lines” book, a fairy tale story about Prince Oliver. She also has a best friend, Jules, who is an outcast, but more by choice.
Delilah dreams about her father, whom she never met, as her parents are long divorced. One day, she talks to Prince Oliver in her book about her worries, and he answers back.
Naturally, she is in shock, but it quickly wears off as she sees an opportunity for a bond she never had before. Their love story slowly evolves, and the story guides us through different challenges and ways Delilah overcomes them.
How Complex Is the Show?
The “Between the Lines” musical’s target audience is young people. Of course, that makes sense, given that it’s an adaptation of a YA novel.
However the show is entertaining enough captivate a wide demographic, and to this outstanding musical will likely enchant anyone who chooses to see it. In terms of how complex the show is, there’s no complicated language or subtext, and the story is very straightforward.
The audience will have no problem focusing on the songs and stage and understanding each scene. You can even bring little kids to the play but prepare to answer a few curious questions after.
Set Design and Style
This musical is not for those who shy away from color or those who feel costume design is not essential. I love the approach the production took with the staging.
Delilah’s real world and the book world exist separately, and it’s impossible to miss this distinction. You can see Delilah sitting on the roof or hiding in her book in the classroom with her peers.
In contrast to that staging, we also see Delilah wandering around the library of Prince Oliver’s castle. The scenic design allows the audience to move from the real world to fantasy with ease and feel like they’re sharing the stage. Finally, it’s vital to point out that the light work is impressive and helps set the tone of each scene.
Undoubtedly, a story about a girl who connects with the main character of her favorite book is unique. However, many Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals offer teen-friendly plots that mix with the fantasy world.
The perfect example is “Wicked,” a modern teen melodrama with monkeys and witches. But it’s also about rivalry, sisterhood, and finding common ground with others.
Another incredibly popular YA musical is “Dear Evan Hansen.” It is a touching story about a 17-year-old who is bullied at school and has social anxiety. When a friend from school takes his own life, he falsely claims to have been friends with him, creating numerous complications.
These musicals are definitely worth checking out, but you can also tune TV shows with similar themes. For example, you may like “Anne With an E,” “Sweet Tooth,” or “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”
A Review of the Reviews
Overall, the reviews for “Between the Lines” the musical have been excellent. Most significant theater critics agree that the play’s creators made a fine choice with the cast.
Furthermore, the majority of reviews agree that the musical scores are heartfelt and catchy and that the staging is clever.
Some reviews have noted that the story relies on overused tropes like high school “mean girls.” On the other hand, the reviewers also seem to agree that the story has excellent lines and comebacks.
Characters and a Little About Them
|Delilah||She is our protagonist who lives with her divorced mother and doesn’t know her father. Delilah is lonely at first but finds love through her favorite story.|
|Prince Oliver||Oliver is the picture-perfect prince charming, but that’s also the problem. He is kind but also torn about life decisions.|
|Grace||She is Delilah’s hardworking and overprotective mother. She struggles to communicate with her daughter and doesn’t know how to be there for her.|
|Frump||He is Prince Oliver’s canine friend who shows human-like qualities.|
|Jules||They are Delilah’s best friend and wise advisor with a great sense of humor. This character is proactive and willing to help when necessary.|
|Allie||Allie is the epitome of a high school queen bee that loves to run the show and commands everyone around her.|
|Jessamyn||In the book, she’s the writer of the “Between the Lines” story, lives in Cape Cod, and has a son Edgar.|
About the Theater
The Kiser Theater is a part of the Second Stage Theater company and has been around since the late 1970s. The theater has hosted a wide range of plays, musicals, and various theater experiences.
Worth noting is that the Tony Kiser Theater is located within an office building, and the entrance is on the street level. However, the restrooms and Fassst Café are on the second floor. The good news is that the theater has an elevator in the box office lobby. You can use it to get to all levels of the theater.
The Tony Kiser Theater has a 296-seat capacity, with removable seats in the first and last rows, for patrons in wheelchairs. Keep in mind that the theater needs notice before removing the seats.
Additionally, the Tony Kiser Theater offers Infrared Assisted Listening Devices to people with hearing loss. Open captioning and audio descriptions are available as well.
Finally, if you’re late to the play, you must abide by the theater’s latecomers policy. The management will seat you during suitable breaks in seat locations they find most practical.
Get Your Tickets
You’ll probably enjoy the “Between the Lines” musical if you can’t resist a charming teenage drama. The cast is incredibly talented, and the production quality is pretty impressive.
Furthermore, the intimate setting of the Tony Kiser Theater lets you connect with the characters and fully enjoy the show. Unless the show is extended beyond the closing date in early October, it will not be available much longer.
So, don’t miss your chance and make sure to get your tickets here. You’ll surely enjoy the experience and relate to the teenage angst and enchantment.