Moby-Dick (2019 musical)

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Moby-Dick Cambridge playbill.png
Playbill for the Cambridge production
MusicDave Malloy
LyricsDave Malloy
BookDave Malloy
by Herman Melville
Productions2014 "The Ballad of Pip" at Joe's Pub
2019 American Museum of Natural History
2019 Cambridge

Moby-Dick is a stage musical in four parts with lyrics, music and book by Dave Malloy. An adaptation of the classic 1851 novel by Herman Melville, the musical made its world premiere in December 2019 at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, directed by Rachel Chavkin.[1]

Production history[edit]

Part III: "The Ballad of Pip" was performed as a standalone jazz song-cycle at Joe's Pub on March 20, 2014.[2]

On July 26, 2019, and July 27, 2019, a 90-minute concert of excerpts from Moby-Dick was performed at the American Museum of Natural History, in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life underneath the whale.[3]

The musical had its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 11, 2019, after one week of previews.[1]

Musical numbers[edit]


Character Original Cambridge Cast (2019)[4]
Ishmael Manik Choksi
Captain Ahab Tom Nelis
Father Mapple/Captain of the Albatross/Captain Boomer of the Bachelor/Captain Gardiner of the Rachel Dawn L. Troupe
Queequeg Andrew Cristi
Fedallah Eric Berryman
Starbuck Starr Busby
Stubb Kalyn West
Flask Anna Ishida
Tashtego Matt Kizer
Daggoo J.D. Mollison
Pip Morgan Siobhan Green
Sailor 1/The Blacksmith Ashkon Davaran
Sailor 2/The Carpenter Kim Blanck


The Cambridge production was generally well reviewed, with praise for the music and the work of scenic designer Mimi Lien in particular, while common criticisms included the 3+12-hour length and "The Ballad of Pip" section. Don Aucoin of the Boston Globe wrote that it was "ambitiously conceived and superbly executed ... if occasionally self-indulgent,"[5] while Carolyn Clay of WBUR's ARTery called it "an extraordinary sum of diverse parts."[6] On the other hand, Christopher Caggiano of The Arts Fuse criticized the production for trying to adapt the entire book, and for "forcing" contemporary parallels.[7]


  1. ^ a b McPhee, Ryan (Dec 11, 2019). "World Premiere of Dave Malloy's Moby-Dick Musical Opens December 11 at the American Repertory Theater". Playbill. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  2. ^ "Dave Malloy's official website". Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 14, 2019). "Museum of Natural History to Present Excerpts From New Dave Malloy Musical, Moby-Dick". Playbill. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  4. ^ "Moby-Dick". American Repertory Theater. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Aucoin, Don (Dec 12, 2019). "A captivating 'Moby-Dick' that ripples through time". Boston Globe. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  6. ^ Clay, Carolyn (Dec 13, 2019). "In The A.R.T.'s Musical 'Moby-Dick,' The Whale Is An Extraordinary Sum Of Diverse Parts". WBUR-FM ARTery. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  7. ^ Caggiano, Christopher (Dec 20, 2019). "A Musical "Moby-Dick" Lumbers from its Seabed at the A.R.T." The Arts Fuse. Retrieved December 29, 2019.