I liked the way each character represented a distinct viewpoint, while at times uniting for a cohesive if terrible purpose. In some ways it made the Manson family more understandable, if still reprehensible. The lead actor made a very believable Manson in being both charismatic and menacing. There was some very impressive singing and the way the actors used a simple stage was very effective. As my sister said, the musical ended at the perfect psychological moment, at least for anyone who even vaguely knows the story. The Manson story told from the girls’ point of view was really a great concept. As my sister said, we know about Manson and Squeaky, but the rest are all kind of glommed together in our historic sense of it.
What I didn't like
Sometimes some of the actors couldn’t be heard that well, particularly when further back stage. I couldn’t quite see or hear the whole loaf of bread scene, so didn’t understand why they were mad at her about that later. (Although it was explained to me.) We both had a bit of trouble understanding Tex’s relation to Manson. The girls were attracted to Manson, but we weren’t quite sure what was in it for Tex. The fight, though choreographed well, wasn’t entirely convincing because of the difference in size, without a little more psychological backstory. Perhaps a little more on the girls’ back stories could have been added as well.
My overall impression
I was a little nervous about seeing a musical based on the Manson Family, but I needn’t have been. The show recalls a time of change and ferment which feels connected to our own in the various movements it was spawning. I loved the way the music, which was varied and rich (and well sung) matched seamlessly with the libretto. There was a lot of food for thought as well as sheer entertainment. It was an incredibly innovative show that many wouldn’t have attempted in a musical form.