The Bully Problem

Critics

LemonMeter

94 %

Reviews: 9

Audience

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 17

THE BULLY PROBLEM is a family-friendly musical with a balance of comedy, humorously distinct characters, and a smidge of science fiction. It focuses on the subjects of bullying, intellectual virtuosity, and the importance of human connections. Fourteen-year-old tech whiz Kevin Dijkstra just wants to be left alone to build robots, but the bullies at Van Der Bort Junior High are making that tough. Things change when Kevin inherits an android that seems to needs his help as much as vice versa. Before long, Kevin is caught in the middle of a struggle between bullies and smart kids. The future of the school hangs in the balance!

Book, music, and lyrics by Michael Gordon Shapiro

Directed and choreographed by Joanna Syiek with music direction from Jennifer Lin.

Update: Having completed its June 2019 run at the Broadwater Main Stage, The Bully Problem received an Encore Producer's Award along with an offer of extension. The show has two encore performance dates in August at the Arena Stage in Hollywood!

Reviews

David MacDowell Blue
"But here is my favorite bit. Its message, given in action rather than words. Hope for the bullied children of this world. You are not alone. Time is on your side. You can endure and even win. And reaching out to others like yourself helps so very very much. That in the end, the bullies are not even portrayed as sociopaths or demons but rather fools who need to grow up--I liked that very much. Honestly, I wish I had seen this musical when I was the age of its cast of characters. It would have helped. A lot."

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - ...read full review


Avatar
"in a word: phenomenal! A great story about the underdogs triumphing in middle school. I was knocked out by the cleverness of the song lyrics -and the music - and the powerful performance by the cast. Do NOT miss this show!"

sweet - Lawrie Chiaro


Avatar
"My overall impression A fast-paced, totally delightful show all the way through, with catchy tunes and oodles of jokes in both the song and book, expertly delivered by an enthusiastic cast of absolute pros. What I liked There are a ton of highly-specialized jokes speaking to “nerds” of all variations; even if a rare one happens to go whizzing over your head, someone else in the audience is laughing knowingly. Terrific, professional choreography and very creative set manipulation bring the black box stage to life. The tunes are catchy and clever, and the book keeps up with them. The actors all shine, particularly Jordan Mitchell-Love as Oscar. What I didn't like The 90 minute-not-a-minute-longer run time occasionally squishes a few story transitions into a line of dialogue where one would normally expect a scene or a song. Another 10 or 20 minutes might allow the show to fully breathe every beat."

sweet - Christina Decker


Avatar
"“The Bully Problem” is absolutely delightful and engaging from start to finish. It’s also funny as all get out! Afterwards a group of us were all quoting our favorite lines at one another, still laughing until our faces and sides hurt. But what really makes this show a winner is the sense of hope and empowerment that it embodies. Protagonist Kevin’s journey becomes the audience’s journey, too, as we see how we can all rise up and “be our own [metaphorical] bodyguards.” In an era when school bullying can literally lead to death, and #itgetsbetter is a battle cry, “The Bully Problem” treats a genuinely serious social issue with compassion, humanity, joy, and a healthy dose of humor. The music and songs are catchy and utterably singable and the lyrics adeptly (and adroitly) capture the emotional urgency that imbues everything in junior high. “Offbalance” is particularly charming and sweet but awkward. “Coming Out of the Basement” is a rallying teen anthem. Appropriate for kids and kids-at-heart alike, this is a show that should not be missed!"

sweet - Allyson Lazar


Avatar
"What I liked EVERYTHING! This show is cleverly written, beautifully composed, cast perfectly, showcases some incredible musical and choreography choices, and takes the audience on a fun and compassionate journey. My overall impression Fantastic! This show was full of energy and exciting to watch! Beautifully written, choreographed, and executed. I loved everything about it!"

sweet - Lindsay


Avatar
"Michael Shapiro’s musical is delightful and energetic. The cast is invigorated by Joanna Syiek’s precise and inventive direction and choreography. Jennifer Lin’s musical direction makes the wonderful score shine. There are many fantastic performances delivered by the cast, none more so than the work of Allie Costa and Jordan Mitchell-Love. Costa soars as both the adorkable love interest as well as the moral center of the show. Mitchell-Love gentle positivity and subtle humor as the artificial life form provides unexpected heart. This show has a great future."

sweet - Jim Blanchette


Avatar
"A fun, feel-good show full of jokes for a wide audience. Family friendly and sure to put a smile on your face, Joanna Syiek and her talented cast do a great job bringing Michael Gordon Shapiro’s musical story about empowerment to life. I thought all the music was great, but my favorite number was The Bully Conference. The lyrics, choreography, and physicality of the actors (some double cast as nerds) was laugh-out-loud hilarious. My second favorite was Off Balance probably because I am a romantic at heart. Also, Jordan Mitchell-Love totally freaked me out (in a good way) when he came to robot life. If the show is given an extended run, I’d be interested to see more about Kevin’s home life. Maybe a little more dialogue between him and his mom; or maybe more background or mentioning of his father. Otherwise, congratulations to all involved for creating an entertaining, professional production."

sweet - Joanna Mercedes


Avatar
"What I liked What an outstanding lead filled with charisma, commanding stage presence, and a kickass voice. I also found the lead bully to be perfect casting from his posture, facial expressions, and timbre in his voice. He was effective and wickedly fun, without being cartoonish. Michael Gordon Shapiro is clearly in the upper echelon of songwriting – every single number has unforgettable lyrics, undeniable power to move you, is timeless, and spawns jealousy of singers in the audience thinking “I want to sing that.” What I didn't like I don’t know the logistics of mic-ing a handful of the actors, but some feedback was picking up from them. I was wondering if anyone needed to be mic’d at all. My overall impression 90 minutes? What 90 minutes? This show flew by with timely songs with brilliant lyrics that endlessly charm, get stuck in your head, and make you smile the rest of your day. In a world of bullies, cynics and critics- The Bully Problem reminds not just children, but everyone to stand up to evil forces and value community over opportunity."

sweet - Scott Langer, writer of Thank You For Loving Me


Avatar
"The story and supporting music were both extremely engaging for me. The cast did an incredible job bringing out both the humor and the opportunities for dealing with bullies. It was lighthearted in many ways, but struck me personally. I was smiling the entire time. I am only sad that I can not share this show with my family and many other friends. It is a part of my life. ThIs was much more heartfelt than I expected. I completely recognize the characters and the story that The Bully Problem brings forward. I remember being bullied in high school and looking for a place where I fit in. I created the computer club, for goodness sake, how much more of a geek did I need to be. I found my outlet in college among amazing friends. We formed a club that welcomed everyone and sometimes met in a basement. Okay, I’ll be honest. I think I know these characters and it had me moved to tears of joy at points. This is what we all need: a world free from bullying where people can explore the best of themselves!"

sweet - David Markley


Avatar
"SO much fun! And what a fresh, breezy take on a great message. Aside from the dynamite, catchy songs that ably communicated and lifted the narrative, the CAST was so in tune with the intended vibe and loaded with energy. There's not an ounce of fat in this show - it zips along, while never seeming hurried, and catches you unawares with moments of subtle and poignant emotional resonance. Anyone who's ever suffered the stings of marginalization by their peers will exult in the empowering themes and joy of these kids not simply overcoming their adversaries, but becoming BETTER people in the act of (Spoiler!) forgiving. We need more from Shapiro & Co... And happily, I'm guessing that's not far off."

sweet - Knox Marshall


Avatar
"Loved the score and the energy and chemistry of the cast. It was feel good from start to finish. Full of laughs and smiles and moments of “awww.” Great way to spend an evening, well worth the babysitter."

sweet - Robin Dowds


Avatar
"The show was great on all counts! First thing I noticed was I could hear everything everyone said and sang. So many musicals I can’t even understand what anyone is saying when they are singing and I end up using context to figure out the gist. But they sang at the right volume, they right singers were miked and the music was at the right volume. I could understand everything! Everyone’s voices were at professional levels and absolutely beautiful! The actors were all so polished and talented. The energy of playing “kids” was right on. Energetic but not too cartoonish. There were several really lovley real moments of feeling that were all believable. The chemistry was electric through the whole cast. It’s also hilarious. With very quick and witty jokes and spot on timing in delivery. Especially the bullies. The choreography I think was a stand out for me too. It was energetic while still being sharp and visually fun. It also used the wall set pieces to create a movement feel which I loved. It made the scene changes very fluid. They even use the walls and choreography to make jokes. I also love the walk the bullies had. It was full of energy and a little silly, and very creative, just like the show. Everything was on the same very high level. And I absolutely wish I could see it again! Overall-Absolutely Fantastic. This is one of the most polished and entertaining musical I’ve ever seen. Amazing script, catchy beautiful music, creative staging and choreography, powerhouse performances"

sweet - Kire


Avatar
"A fantastical and unique twist in the classic bully vs. nerd dynamic. The music managed enough variety to be interesting while keeping a theme that tied the story together. I really enjoyed it. The choice to keep the harmonies relatively simple but nearly constant made every song a delight to listen to. Use of odd time signatures in upbeat songs staved off predictable patterns that could otherwise plague a musical of this style. Fantastic music to dialogue ratio."

sweet - Chad A Sundman


Matt Ritchey
"A tight script with great structure, clever dialogue, and crisp direction from Joanna Syiek, The Bully Problem also has extremely fun and stylistically varied songs, my favorite being the nerd/geek anthem “Hide.” A great new musical. A fun show with a huge heart. Very Highly Recommended"

sweet - Matt Ritchey - Gia On the Move - ...read full review


Avatar
"What did I like about The Bully Problem? In a word, everything. The new songs are dynamite (SLAFFPOC, for one, is outstanding), the lyrics are clever, the story is tight, and the cast delivers with verve and gusto. Shout-out to Josh Hillinger in particular, for his standout work as the lead Bully. I came in with high expectations for this show, and The Bully Problem exceeded them handily. Bravo, all!"

sweet - Gregory Crafts


Shari Barrett
"As a former Junior High teacher, I can certainly understand the difficulties faced by teenagers who just don't fit the mold of being "popular." THE BULLY PROBLEM takes the subject and makes it thoroughly entertaining as well as informative thanks to Shapiro's entertaining music tracks, the brilliant work by Fringe award-winning director/choreographer Joanna Syiek (The Pokemusical, Giraffenstein, Merely Players), and music director Jennifer Lin, who have put together an extraordinary cast of actors who seem to innately comprehend the characters they are portraying and have the ability to work perfectly together as a true ensemble of triple-threat performers. Don't miss it!"

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


MoniqueLeBleu
"So far, this is my favorite musical to come out of Hollywood Fringe this year. Remember how you felt the first time you performed in, or even saw, your first high school or college musical? Remember that giddy excitement that sent warm shivers down your spine, instilling a feeling that told you this is how it should always be? If for some reason you've since lost that passionate feeling about musical theatre, then The Bully Problem will resurrect it. The show is chock full of tasty toe-tapping songs, dance numbers, and uplifting and inspiring "good feels." This is a tremendously talented ensemble cast of "nerds" and "bullys" who, together with a very handy "invention," teach and encourage how and when to take that stand. Bring all of your kids and your neighbors, their teachers, their administrators, and the whole of LAUSD. Bring them now."

sweet - Monique LeBleu - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer
"Director/Choreographer Joanna Sieyk ably guides the large ensemble, many of whom are double-cast, through the numerous group scenes. She is aided by a talented and appealing cast. Everts makes an engaging recluse and clearly charts Kevin’s journey from loner to hero. Costa has a big voice and a well-defined character, both of which she deploys for maximum effect. Mitchell-Love is a delightful scene-stealer as the perpetually smiling Oscar. He brings both a natural sweetness and a single-minded commitment to his often quite human robot."

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar
"In olden days, raves often used the phrase “the bright new musical comedy” and having just seen the bright new musical comedy called The Bully Problem, I find myself thinking about how it exemplifies many meanings of the word, “bright.” We say intelligent people are bright, and Michael Gordon Shapiro’s book, music and lyrics are, first and foremost, smart. The plot is on the silly side, but there’s a level of thoughtfulness in the plentiful jokes, and cogent construction in all the songs. There’s also bright in a musical sense, as in Oscar Hammerstein’s lyric, “Brisk, lively, merry and bright - allegro.” The Bully Problem rockets along with unflagging energy. This feat is particularly hard to pull off these days, and it’s a tribute to Shapiro’s writing, Joanna Syiek’s directing, and a fully committed cast of 15 (!). “Bright” can also refer to colors, and Michael Mullen’s costumes effectively pop out of the black box background and white grid set pieces. Another way The Bully Problem embodies brightness is that like the musical comedies of the distant past, it refuses to wallow in a negative emotion for too long. That’s the problem with other shows about the scourge of bullying: they state the obvious, that being bullied is a depressing thing. Here, satisfyingly, the picked-on get busy turning the tables on their oppressors, and the piece is never preachy or sanctimonious. It’s too - what’s the word? - bright for that."

sweet - Noel Katz


Avatar
"Our first musical of HFF19 was a dream come true. Michael Gordon Shapiro (with the help of ASCAP and Broadway’s Stephen Schwartz) has created a masterpiece of energetic singing and dancing and a timely story about overcoming obstacles and becoming who you were meant to be. This one is definitely one of the best musicals we have ever seen at Fringe."

sweet - Bob Leggett - LA Music Critic - ...read full review


Avatar
"Fantastic! Great fun for the nerdy kid in all of us. An absolute delight. I came all the way from Pennsylvania to support Michael Gordon Shapiro's production at Fringe! My favorite part of the whole show was Oscar the android. Jordan Mitchell-Love's performance was absolutely fantastic. His body language and facial expressions were perfect for a friendly robot! The characters of Kevin and Margaret were both phenomenal. They had great chemistry on stage. The music was extremely upbeat. The message of the show reminds us to always strive for the best within us. The nerds learned to stand up for themselves, and even some of the bullies learned a positive lesson."

sweet - Amanda Luce


Avatar
"The Bully Problem was a joy to watch. It had an intriguing premise, never lagged, tuneful melodies that were catchy yet inventive, a fantastic cast, and choreography to die for. A perfect musical for high school; it has a simple yet profound message but is fun enough for adults as well. What you may not know is that one rarely sees a musical of this caliber penned by a single person. Only two people in musical theater history have done that: Rupert Holmes and Lynn Manuel Miranda. Now there's three!"

sweet - Matthew Levine


Rob Stevens
"Michael Gordon Shapiro’s The Bully Problem at the Hollywood Fringe Festival takes a fun and tune filled look at a serious problem in today’s schools—bullying."

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Avatar
"It doesn’t feel like the next big touring sensation, but if you love watching people who know how to sing well together give there all for a little over an hour (including some solid choreography and character work), this is the Fringe slot for you."

sweet-sour - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar
"Overall solid cast all around, with MITCHELL-LOVE doing a tremendous job of portraying the earnestly helpful analytical Android Oscar, his C-3P0 type performance and mannerisms are absolutely brilliant and worth the ticket price alone. I am delighted I checked this show out, with certainty I recommend The Bully Problem."

sweet - Mike Reyes - Mike Check - ...read full review


Avatar
"What I liked Once I was introduced to the robot who defends the protagonist from he bullies, I was hooked. He had the best lines. What I didn't like Sound was too loud (I was seating in the back row of the theater) and I could barely hear the dialogue, especially if they weren’t wearing a mic. My overall impression Loved the story line and that robot had such depth and great timing. I could totally see this coming to Broadway or Pantages."

sweet - Victor Sotomayor


David MacDowell Blue
"But here is my favorite bit. Its message, given in action rather than words. Hope for the bullied children of this world. You are not alone. Time is on your side. You can endure and even win. And reaching out to others like yourself helps so very very much. That in the end, the bullies are not even portrayed as sociopaths or demons but rather fools who need to grow up--I liked that very much. Honestly, I wish I had seen this musical when I was the age of its cast of characters. It would have helped. A lot."

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - ...read full review


Matt Ritchey
"A tight script with great structure, clever dialogue, and crisp direction from Joanna Syiek, The Bully Problem also has extremely fun and stylistically varied songs, my favorite being the nerd/geek anthem “Hide.” A great new musical. A fun show with a huge heart. Very Highly Recommended"

sweet - Matt Ritchey - Gia On the Move - ...read full review


Shari Barrett
"As a former Junior High teacher, I can certainly understand the difficulties faced by teenagers who just don't fit the mold of being "popular." THE BULLY PROBLEM takes the subject and makes it thoroughly entertaining as well as informative thanks to Shapiro's entertaining music tracks, the brilliant work by Fringe award-winning director/choreographer Joanna Syiek (The Pokemusical, Giraffenstein, Merely Players), and music director Jennifer Lin, who have put together an extraordinary cast of actors who seem to innately comprehend the characters they are portraying and have the ability to work perfectly together as a true ensemble of triple-threat performers. Don't miss it!"

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


MoniqueLeBleu
"So far, this is my favorite musical to come out of Hollywood Fringe this year. Remember how you felt the first time you performed in, or even saw, your first high school or college musical? Remember that giddy excitement that sent warm shivers down your spine, instilling a feeling that told you this is how it should always be? If for some reason you've since lost that passionate feeling about musical theatre, then The Bully Problem will resurrect it. The show is chock full of tasty toe-tapping songs, dance numbers, and uplifting and inspiring "good feels." This is a tremendously talented ensemble cast of "nerds" and "bullys" who, together with a very handy "invention," teach and encourage how and when to take that stand. Bring all of your kids and your neighbors, their teachers, their administrators, and the whole of LAUSD. Bring them now."

sweet - Monique LeBleu - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer
"Director/Choreographer Joanna Sieyk ably guides the large ensemble, many of whom are double-cast, through the numerous group scenes. She is aided by a talented and appealing cast. Everts makes an engaging recluse and clearly charts Kevin’s journey from loner to hero. Costa has a big voice and a well-defined character, both of which she deploys for maximum effect. Mitchell-Love is a delightful scene-stealer as the perpetually smiling Oscar. He brings both a natural sweetness and a single-minded commitment to his often quite human robot."

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar
"Our first musical of HFF19 was a dream come true. Michael Gordon Shapiro (with the help of ASCAP and Broadway’s Stephen Schwartz) has created a masterpiece of energetic singing and dancing and a timely story about overcoming obstacles and becoming who you were meant to be. This one is definitely one of the best musicals we have ever seen at Fringe."

sweet - Bob Leggett - LA Music Critic - ...read full review


Rob Stevens
"Michael Gordon Shapiro’s The Bully Problem at the Hollywood Fringe Festival takes a fun and tune filled look at a serious problem in today’s schools—bullying."

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Avatar
"It doesn’t feel like the next big touring sensation, but if you love watching people who know how to sing well together give there all for a little over an hour (including some solid choreography and character work), this is the Fringe slot for you."

sweet-sour - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar
"Overall solid cast all around, with MITCHELL-LOVE doing a tremendous job of portraying the earnestly helpful analytical Android Oscar, his C-3P0 type performance and mannerisms are absolutely brilliant and worth the ticket price alone. I am delighted I checked this show out, with certainty I recommend The Bully Problem."

sweet - Mike Reyes - Mike Check - ...read full review


Avatar
"in a word: phenomenal! A great story about the underdogs triumphing in middle school. I was knocked out by the cleverness of the song lyrics -and the music - and the powerful performance by the cast. Do NOT miss this show!"

sweet - Lawrie Chiaro


Avatar
"My overall impression A fast-paced, totally delightful show all the way through, with catchy tunes and oodles of jokes in both the song and book, expertly delivered by an enthusiastic cast of absolute pros. What I liked There are a ton of highly-specialized jokes speaking to “nerds” of all variations; even if a rare one happens to go whizzing over your head, someone else in the audience is laughing knowingly. Terrific, professional choreography and very creative set manipulation bring the black box stage to life. The tunes are catchy and clever, and the book keeps up with them. The actors all shine, particularly Jordan Mitchell-Love as Oscar. What I didn't like The 90 minute-not-a-minute-longer run time occasionally squishes a few story transitions into a line of dialogue where one would normally expect a scene or a song. Another 10 or 20 minutes might allow the show to fully breathe every beat."

sweet - Christina Decker


Avatar
"“The Bully Problem” is absolutely delightful and engaging from start to finish. It’s also funny as all get out! Afterwards a group of us were all quoting our favorite lines at one another, still laughing until our faces and sides hurt. But what really makes this show a winner is the sense of hope and empowerment that it embodies. Protagonist Kevin’s journey becomes the audience’s journey, too, as we see how we can all rise up and “be our own [metaphorical] bodyguards.” In an era when school bullying can literally lead to death, and #itgetsbetter is a battle cry, “The Bully Problem” treats a genuinely serious social issue with compassion, humanity, joy, and a healthy dose of humor. The music and songs are catchy and utterably singable and the lyrics adeptly (and adroitly) capture the emotional urgency that imbues everything in junior high. “Offbalance” is particularly charming and sweet but awkward. “Coming Out of the Basement” is a rallying teen anthem. Appropriate for kids and kids-at-heart alike, this is a show that should not be missed!"

sweet - Allyson Lazar


Avatar
"What I liked EVERYTHING! This show is cleverly written, beautifully composed, cast perfectly, showcases some incredible musical and choreography choices, and takes the audience on a fun and compassionate journey. My overall impression Fantastic! This show was full of energy and exciting to watch! Beautifully written, choreographed, and executed. I loved everything about it!"

sweet - Lindsay


Avatar
"Michael Shapiro’s musical is delightful and energetic. The cast is invigorated by Joanna Syiek’s precise and inventive direction and choreography. Jennifer Lin’s musical direction makes the wonderful score shine. There are many fantastic performances delivered by the cast, none more so than the work of Allie Costa and Jordan Mitchell-Love. Costa soars as both the adorkable love interest as well as the moral center of the show. Mitchell-Love gentle positivity and subtle humor as the artificial life form provides unexpected heart. This show has a great future."

sweet - Jim Blanchette


Avatar
"A fun, feel-good show full of jokes for a wide audience. Family friendly and sure to put a smile on your face, Joanna Syiek and her talented cast do a great job bringing Michael Gordon Shapiro’s musical story about empowerment to life. I thought all the music was great, but my favorite number was The Bully Conference. The lyrics, choreography, and physicality of the actors (some double cast as nerds) was laugh-out-loud hilarious. My second favorite was Off Balance probably because I am a romantic at heart. Also, Jordan Mitchell-Love totally freaked me out (in a good way) when he came to robot life. If the show is given an extended run, I’d be interested to see more about Kevin’s home life. Maybe a little more dialogue between him and his mom; or maybe more background or mentioning of his father. Otherwise, congratulations to all involved for creating an entertaining, professional production."

sweet - Joanna Mercedes


Avatar
"What I liked What an outstanding lead filled with charisma, commanding stage presence, and a kickass voice. I also found the lead bully to be perfect casting from his posture, facial expressions, and timbre in his voice. He was effective and wickedly fun, without being cartoonish. Michael Gordon Shapiro is clearly in the upper echelon of songwriting – every single number has unforgettable lyrics, undeniable power to move you, is timeless, and spawns jealousy of singers in the audience thinking “I want to sing that.” What I didn't like I don’t know the logistics of mic-ing a handful of the actors, but some feedback was picking up from them. I was wondering if anyone needed to be mic’d at all. My overall impression 90 minutes? What 90 minutes? This show flew by with timely songs with brilliant lyrics that endlessly charm, get stuck in your head, and make you smile the rest of your day. In a world of bullies, cynics and critics- The Bully Problem reminds not just children, but everyone to stand up to evil forces and value community over opportunity."

sweet - Scott Langer, writer of Thank You For Loving Me


Avatar
"The story and supporting music were both extremely engaging for me. The cast did an incredible job bringing out both the humor and the opportunities for dealing with bullies. It was lighthearted in many ways, but struck me personally. I was smiling the entire time. I am only sad that I can not share this show with my family and many other friends. It is a part of my life. ThIs was much more heartfelt than I expected. I completely recognize the characters and the story that The Bully Problem brings forward. I remember being bullied in high school and looking for a place where I fit in. I created the computer club, for goodness sake, how much more of a geek did I need to be. I found my outlet in college among amazing friends. We formed a club that welcomed everyone and sometimes met in a basement. Okay, I’ll be honest. I think I know these characters and it had me moved to tears of joy at points. This is what we all need: a world free from bullying where people can explore the best of themselves!"

sweet - David Markley


Avatar
"SO much fun! And what a fresh, breezy take on a great message. Aside from the dynamite, catchy songs that ably communicated and lifted the narrative, the CAST was so in tune with the intended vibe and loaded with energy. There's not an ounce of fat in this show - it zips along, while never seeming hurried, and catches you unawares with moments of subtle and poignant emotional resonance. Anyone who's ever suffered the stings of marginalization by their peers will exult in the empowering themes and joy of these kids not simply overcoming their adversaries, but becoming BETTER people in the act of (Spoiler!) forgiving. We need more from Shapiro & Co... And happily, I'm guessing that's not far off."

sweet - Knox Marshall


Avatar
"Loved the score and the energy and chemistry of the cast. It was feel good from start to finish. Full of laughs and smiles and moments of “awww.” Great way to spend an evening, well worth the babysitter."

sweet - Robin Dowds


Avatar
"The show was great on all counts! First thing I noticed was I could hear everything everyone said and sang. So many musicals I can’t even understand what anyone is saying when they are singing and I end up using context to figure out the gist. But they sang at the right volume, they right singers were miked and the music was at the right volume. I could understand everything! Everyone’s voices were at professional levels and absolutely beautiful! The actors were all so polished and talented. The energy of playing “kids” was right on. Energetic but not too cartoonish. There were several really lovley real moments of feeling that were all believable. The chemistry was electric through the whole cast. It’s also hilarious. With very quick and witty jokes and spot on timing in delivery. Especially the bullies. The choreography I think was a stand out for me too. It was energetic while still being sharp and visually fun. It also used the wall set pieces to create a movement feel which I loved. It made the scene changes very fluid. They even use the walls and choreography to make jokes. I also love the walk the bullies had. It was full of energy and a little silly, and very creative, just like the show. Everything was on the same very high level. And I absolutely wish I could see it again! Overall-Absolutely Fantastic. This is one of the most polished and entertaining musical I’ve ever seen. Amazing script, catchy beautiful music, creative staging and choreography, powerhouse performances"

sweet - Kire


Avatar
"A fantastical and unique twist in the classic bully vs. nerd dynamic. The music managed enough variety to be interesting while keeping a theme that tied the story together. I really enjoyed it. The choice to keep the harmonies relatively simple but nearly constant made every song a delight to listen to. Use of odd time signatures in upbeat songs staved off predictable patterns that could otherwise plague a musical of this style. Fantastic music to dialogue ratio."

sweet - Chad A Sundman


Avatar
"What did I like about The Bully Problem? In a word, everything. The new songs are dynamite (SLAFFPOC, for one, is outstanding), the lyrics are clever, the story is tight, and the cast delivers with verve and gusto. Shout-out to Josh Hillinger in particular, for his standout work as the lead Bully. I came in with high expectations for this show, and The Bully Problem exceeded them handily. Bravo, all!"

sweet - Gregory Crafts


Avatar
"In olden days, raves often used the phrase “the bright new musical comedy” and having just seen the bright new musical comedy called The Bully Problem, I find myself thinking about how it exemplifies many meanings of the word, “bright.” We say intelligent people are bright, and Michael Gordon Shapiro’s book, music and lyrics are, first and foremost, smart. The plot is on the silly side, but there’s a level of thoughtfulness in the plentiful jokes, and cogent construction in all the songs. There’s also bright in a musical sense, as in Oscar Hammerstein’s lyric, “Brisk, lively, merry and bright - allegro.” The Bully Problem rockets along with unflagging energy. This feat is particularly hard to pull off these days, and it’s a tribute to Shapiro’s writing, Joanna Syiek’s directing, and a fully committed cast of 15 (!). “Bright” can also refer to colors, and Michael Mullen’s costumes effectively pop out of the black box background and white grid set pieces. Another way The Bully Problem embodies brightness is that like the musical comedies of the distant past, it refuses to wallow in a negative emotion for too long. That’s the problem with other shows about the scourge of bullying: they state the obvious, that being bullied is a depressing thing. Here, satisfyingly, the picked-on get busy turning the tables on their oppressors, and the piece is never preachy or sanctimonious. It’s too - what’s the word? - bright for that."

sweet - Noel Katz


Avatar
"Fantastic! Great fun for the nerdy kid in all of us. An absolute delight. I came all the way from Pennsylvania to support Michael Gordon Shapiro's production at Fringe! My favorite part of the whole show was Oscar the android. Jordan Mitchell-Love's performance was absolutely fantastic. His body language and facial expressions were perfect for a friendly robot! The characters of Kevin and Margaret were both phenomenal. They had great chemistry on stage. The music was extremely upbeat. The message of the show reminds us to always strive for the best within us. The nerds learned to stand up for themselves, and even some of the bullies learned a positive lesson."

sweet - Amanda Luce


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"The Bully Problem was a joy to watch. It had an intriguing premise, never lagged, tuneful melodies that were catchy yet inventive, a fantastic cast, and choreography to die for. A perfect musical for high school; it has a simple yet profound message but is fun enough for adults as well. What you may not know is that one rarely sees a musical of this caliber penned by a single person. Only two people in musical theater history have done that: Rupert Holmes and Lynn Manuel Miranda. Now there's three!"

sweet - Matthew Levine


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"What I liked Once I was introduced to the robot who defends the protagonist from he bullies, I was hooked. He had the best lines. What I didn't like Sound was too loud (I was seating in the back row of the theater) and I could barely hear the dialogue, especially if they weren’t wearing a mic. My overall impression Loved the story line and that robot had such depth and great timing. I could totally see this coming to Broadway or Pantages."

sweet - Victor Sotomayor