Washington Post - Somewhat Recommended
"...The essential problem in this buoyantly sung revival of the '90s off-Broadway musical by Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori is that it fails to activate an audience's compassion and convince us all to sign up emotionally for that ride. This is partly attributable to the restlessness engendered by a character-driven story short on both urgency and humor. But it's also because something has yet to be released in the central performance of Erin Driscoll, who evinces all of Violet's anger and too little of her vulnerability."
MetroWeekly - Recommended
"...But Violet will move you most by virtue of that hopeful story, adapted from Doris Betts's short story The Ugliest Pilgrim. The story focuses on a young woman who wants to alter her physical appearance -- chiefly, to remove the scar she sustained on her face from a wayward ax as a teenager. She travels cross-country in 1964 in search of a miracle, but along the way she instead finds herself -- as well as love and friendship, principally, shockingly, with two male soldiers, one white and one black. The journey is beautifully complemented by the strong, large company of local performers Calhoun casted sing tunes that are mostly variants of roots-based music, from bluegrass to the blues, gospel to country. It's all just as pretty as Violet."
Talkin Broadway - Recommended
"...Director Jeff Calhoun maintains the (perhaps overly) deliberate pace as Violet makes her journey. She meets two soldiers heading for camp in Arkansas, African-American sergeant Flick (Kevin McAllister) and white corporal Monty (James Gardiner), and they become traveling companions. If the specifics of the story aren't totally obvious, lines like "You'll be changing just by taking this trip" and "You don't have to leave home for a miracle" telegraph the underlying message."
Washington City Paper - Somewhat Recommended
"...It's not just those audible fouls, though. Driscoll's Violet can be entertainingly badass, as when she faces down a racist hick of a mechanic who's giving McAllister's Flick a hard time, but usually the character's sourness feels alienatingly one-note. An essential vulnerability might make the audience more willing to identify with Violet's anger at the world, and I'm sure Driscoll is working to uncover it-but for now, at least, it's not registering in Row H."
Washingtonian - Somewhat Recommended
"...Violet is in essence a small musical, and it feels, in this incarnation, somewhat inflated. The many flashbacks are at times confusing and hard to hear. Tesori's songs and Crawley's lyrics don't flow easily into the ear the first time around, and the amplification and electric guitars in the orchestration (musicians conducted by Jay Crowder) can cause an audience to miss far too many words."
DC Theater Arts - Highly Recommended
"...A stunning production is playing on the stage at Ford's Theatre as the musical Violet carries on their 2013/2014 season. With music by Jeanine Tesori, and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley, this touching and uplifting musical is filled with soul and is a rigorous run of emotions from beginning to end. Directed by Jeff Calhoun with Musical Direction by Jay Crowder, this story of a physically scarred girl on the road to aesthetic redemption will touch your heart in a deep and meaningful fashion. There is a powerful message beneath the scars of humanity, whether they are physical or emotional, and Violet's story reveals that in a blinding joyous light."
MD Theatre Guide - Highly Recommended
"...There is nothing better on a cold winter's night than being out with your sweetheart and seeing a heartwarming musical with a strong score and book and a high-end group of performers. Violet at Ford's Theatre is a show you might not be familiar with but you owe it to yourself to see it while it's in town. It features many of the people that you probably have seen in musicals at Signature Theatre, which up front means this show is on the right track. With music by Jeanine Tesori (Shrek the Musical, Caroline or Change) and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley the score ranges from blues to gospel to straight forward theatre music. The show also gives an actress who primarily performs supporting parts around town a star turn, but I'm getting ahead of myself."
DCTheatreScene - Recommended
Violet is a musical thatís not big and brassy and flashy. Based on a short story, its concerns, like that formís, are more with character and local color than with, say, life and death events such as storming the barricades or catching the last helicopter out of Saigon. However, if a musical with a twang, country roots, and a bit of nostalgia appeals to you, you have a treat in store at Fordís Theatre, where Violet opened last week in a production that makes the most of the playís assets.