The Things I Could Never Tell Steven Reviews
Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended
"...This modest, intelligent, quirky little chamber piece is a dramatic song cycle for four people who share their experiences with, and their feelings for, the title character. If these four "could never tell Steven" what they tell us in their sung (and occasionally spoken) monologues, that's largely because Steven himself never seems to be around. Certainly the audience never sees him, except as a faceless image in projected videos."
Windy City Times- Highly Recommended
"...Australian composer Jye Bryant recounts these events in an intermissionless 75-minute sequence of songs—narrative structure permitting the four pilgrims to soliloquize while remaining physically isolated from one another. Under the guidance of recently appointed company Artistic Director Jay Espano and Musical Director Robert Ollis (both doing double-duty as, respectively, production director and orchestra for this North American premiere), a quartet of youthful vocalists welcome audiences back to storefront viewing with performances of unforced passion and interpretive virtuosity. (Elissa Newcorn and Nate Hall, in particular, render the growth of "Wife" and "Ex" from shallow stereotypes to independent adults plausible, subtle and sympathetic at all times.)"
Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended
"...These songs bring together this show because they are funny and edgy and very touching to each member of the audience. You can't help feeling so many emotions with these four characters on stage, Carl Herzog as the father with a secret, who thinks his son is just like him, has a marvelous vocal range. You can feel his pride of his son through these songs. But the surprise performance goes to Kyra Leigh as the overbearing, son can do no wrong mother. The way she can handle a drink and give you that stare or an excuse for her son's behavior is priceless."
Chicago Theatre Review- Recommended
"...Jye Bryant's musical is having its American premiere in this Chicago production at the newly named Pride Arts. However, it's certain that his show will soon find itself playing all across the country, particularly in smaller venues. The material is novel, but not new. There's probably nothing in this story that audiences haven't seen or heard before, but the melodies are so often alluring, and Bryant's lyrics either bite or make us think or provoke a laugh now and then. The truth, which is rarely pure and never simple, and may hurt you or set you free, is the theme of this play. And although the titular character is absent, his presence is always there. Audiences will come to understand that these four special people from Steven's life have a lot they wish they'd told him...and vice versa. And for that reason, there's a lesson here that we all could learn."
Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Somewhat Recommended
"...At the very least, it's appealing from a production standpoint: four characters more or less confined to their own spaces; it's perfect for pandemic times. But, perhaps consequently, the songs are overwhelmingly solos, and the ensemble finale, "Steven Knows," points up the choral sound that's been missing and is so cathartic to hear. A good choral sound, too. It's a solid cast they have."
Chicago On Stage- Somewhat Recommended
"...The accolades that this play accrued in productions in Sydney probably made it seem perfect to new PrideArts Artistic Director Jay Españo (who also directs) to christen both a newly renovated space and a return to live theatre. Though the space is changed for the better-new flexible seating, better lighting and sound systems, less cluttered lobby furnishings, etc.-the play falls short. Bryant's very conceit lets him down here: though he clearly wants to create something that comments on the myriad ways we fail to see each other as well as the important secrets we keep (and maybe even the way we often take the easy way out of turmoil with booze), the play's structure is numbing. It's basically a series of short songs rotating among the four visible characters. Worse, none of the songs is particularly memorable, and many of them seem repetitive or redundant even in a show that only lasts 75 minutes."