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Review: ‘The Notebook’ is a new musical on Broadway based on the Nicholas Sparks novel

“The Notebook” is a new musical on Broadway based on the Nicholas Sparks novel.

John Cardoza, Dorian Harewood, and Ryan Vasquez in 'The Notebook' on Broadway
John Cardoza, Dorian Harewood, and Ryan Vasquez in 'The Notebook' on Broadway. Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes.
John Cardoza, Dorian Harewood, and Ryan Vasquez in 'The Notebook' on Broadway. Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes.

“The Notebook” is a new musical on Broadway based on the Nicholas Sparks novel.

Allie and Noah, both from different worlds, share a lifetime of love despite the forces that threaten to pull them apart, in a deeply touching portrait about the enduring power of love.

The musical is directed by Michael Greif and Schele Williams, and it features music and lyrics by multi-platinum-selling pop singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, as well as from the book by Bekah Brunstetter; moreover, the choreography is eloquently done by Katie Spelman.

We witness the evolution of their characters from younger Allie (an effervescent Jordan Tyson) and younger Noah (played by a charming John Cardoza), and then, the middle Allie and middle Noah by Joy Woods (who shows off her powerhouse pipes) and Ryan Vasquez (with his rich, rumbling vocals) respectively.

Maryann Plunkett delivers a divine and moving performance as the older Allie, and what makes her stand out as someone who is battling dementia is that she plays a woman who is trying to be young again.

Plunkett has exceptional chemistry opposite Dorian Harewood, who is commanding and charismatic as the older Noah, and their rapport allows for more resonance.

Andréa Burns does a successful job playing the dual characters of Nurse Lori and Allie’s nefarious mother (who will be a revelation in the second act). The same holds true for Carson Stewart who portrays both Fin and Johnny (the physical therapist), the latter of which he is able to provide some comic relief.

The real-life rainfall scene was quite the spectacle for the middle iterations of Allie and Noah.

“I was captivated by this tale of loss and love that unfolded before me,” social influencer Rudy Bundini said. “The performances were nothing short of incredible, but I was particularly touched by Joy Woods, Jordan Tyson, and Andréa Burns. I left the theater deeply moved and profoundly inspired. My admiration for ‘The Notebook’ as a perennial masterpiece is firmly cemented in my mind,” he explained.

The Verdict

Overall, “The Notebook” is a heartfelt, poignant, and vivacious new musical Broadway. This show marks Ingrid Michaelson’s debut as a musical composer, and she nailed the lyrics and music.

Both Harewood and Plunkett pull off Tony-worthy performances, and the same holds true for all actors that play the younger versions of their characters. John Cardoza, Jordan Tyson, Ryan Vasquez, and Joy Woods, all deserve a round of applause for a job well done in their own right.

Each actor in this musical is given their own chance to shine, and they all bring something unique to the table. It was a true team effort by all and that was well-received by the Big Apple audience.

Directors Michael Greif and Schele Williams should be commended for their vision and eye in bringing this beloved book to life. This is a musical that ought to be enjoyed for its rawness, honesty, and simplicity.

By the end, the audience will be crying tears of joy as they feel like they are a part of Noah and Allie’s love story. “The Notebook” garners 4.5 out of 5 stars.

To learn more about “The Notebook” on Broadway, check out its official homepage.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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