The Bully Problem

Critics

LemonMeter

88 %

Reviews: 4

Audience

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 4

Sat Jun 22, 5:00pm
Thu Jun 27, 6:30pm
Sat Jun 29, 7:00pm

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.

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Reviews

"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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