The Broadway Musical Blog – Musical theater news and gossip from the Great White Way

Dishing out daily (or almost daily) Broadway musical news and gossip. The companion site to The Broadway Musical Home (broadwaymusicalhome.com), a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

Archive for December, 2011

The Reviews for Lysistrata Jones are In…

The reviews for Lysistrata Jones are out, and critics universally feel this Off-Broadway transfer probably should have stayed Off. Suffering the fate of many other transfers, the campy and quirky qualities that made it endearing in its original run, seem frivolous and over-the-top under the lights of the Great White Way. Critics did feel Patti Murin, who plays the title role, has improved since the Off-Broadway run, and that the show captures the spirit of the younger generation – that embodied by shows like “Glee” and “High School Musical”. But the silly, one-liner script largely disappointed and the production as a whole lacked the brillance one expects of a Broadway show. Have you seen it? What did you think?

NEW YORK TIMES

Lysistrata Jones brings to mind the distant era of the college frolic “Good News” (1927) and “Babes in Arms”(1937), perishable good-time shows in which peppy kids delivered of-the-moment jokes and lively dances…. All the cast members effortlessly inhabit that happy dimension where cartoon is made flesh and vice versa…. But it turns out there’s tasty substance beneath the froth, just enough to keep you hooked.

Click here to read the full Lysistrata Jones review.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

After a successful run last summer at the tiny gym of Greenwich Village’s Judson Memorial Church, the goofy pop musical Lysistrata Jones has advanced to the big leagues of Broadway. Why? I have no idea. It’s a little like a solid junior-high basketball team playing Madison Square Garden.

Click here to read the full Lysistrata Jones review.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Do they give Tony Awards for best abs? If so, there’s really only one clear winner so far this season – Lysistrata Jones…. The musical itself, though, needs some more time in the gym. While no theatrical air ball, Lysistrata Jones isn’t a slam dunk, either. It’s got terrific songs by Lewis Flinn and an energetic cast, but the book is too derivative, a few of the actors seem overmatched, the choreography from Dan Knechtges is merely serviceable, and there aren’t enough killer jokes. … The show is now wilting under the white lights of Broadway and the air is seeping out of the ball.

Click here to read the full Lysistrata Jones review.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn’s musical update on the Ancient Greek sex comedy has its bubbly charms, but it also demonstrates the challenges of transferring scrappy downtown stage successes to Broadway’s less forgiving environment. That doesn’t mean the show’s entertainment value has been erased. But its more insubstantial qualities are magnified, demonstrating that commercial transfers are rarely an automatic slam-dunk.

Click here to read the full Lysistrata Jones review.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

The original play combined subversive comedic antics with hefty stakes. The derivative combines campy comedic antics with no stakes whatsoever…. Without some viable equivalent of something big to play for, Lysistrata Jones, its amusements and imagination aside, plays very thin and contrived — albeit with thick Broadway prices

Click here to read the full Lysistrata Jones review.

The Reviews for On a Clear Day You Can See Forever are In…

The reviews for On a Clear Day You Can See Forever are in, and though they aren’t the worst we’ve seen this season, they are nowhere near rave reviews. With some very intensive script-changes that throw gender-bending into the mix, critics found the new book almost as problematic as the original. The biggest upset was the splitting of the main female character’s multiple personalities into multiple cast members, rather than keeping it a showcase of one actress’ abilities. Most agree that Christine Jones’ sets and the songs themselves were the greatest stars, but overall were underwhelmed by this “reincarnation.”

NEW YORK TIMES

Toward the long-awaited end of the new semirevival of “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” which opened on Sunday at the St. James Theater, an eminent psychiatrist proposes that what we have been watching was perhaps only “my own psychoneurotic fantasy.”

Click here to read the full “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” review.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The diagnosis is in for Harry Connick Jr.’s Broadway musical about a psychiatrist undergoing a psychic meltdown: It needs more time on the couch.

Click here to read the full “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” review.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Respect to director Michael Mayer and playwright Peter Parnell for their audacious attempt at reinventing a problematic musical in the Broadway revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. The 1965 show has always been much loved for its lush Burton Lane score but denied the stamp of greatness by Alan Jay Lerner’s over-complicated structural mess of a book.

Click here to read the full “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” review.

VARIETY

The play initially was constructed as a vehicle for a star singer/comedienne (played by Barbara Harris on stage, Barbra Streisand on screen). The challenge and the fun came from watching an insecure neurotic instantly and repeatedly transformed through hypnosis into her glamorous, past-life self. Mayer has seen fit to divide this star part in half and have it played by two actors, removing the one element that thoroughly worked in the original.

Click here to read the full “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” review.

NEWSDAY

It’s a relief and a special pleasure to report that Mayer, in a square-cornered turn from his smart-rock productions of “Spring Awakening” and “American Idiot,” has joined playwright Peter Parnell to change an unworkable plot into a more-than-serviceable gender-bending framework. There’s a mostly-classy cast, a fantasy op-art set and almost two dozen wonderful songs from the Broadway production and the film.

Click here to read the full “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” review.

CD Giveaway: Off-Broadway’s With Glee

I’ve got 10 copies of the Off-Broadway Cast Album for With Glee, to give away.

Comment on this entry for a chance to win. In your comments, tell us why you love musical theatre.

The winners will be chosen at random using a random number generator and announced here, on Facebook and Twitter after the new year. (Be sure to include your email address so we can reach you to get your mailing address if you win!)

Good luck!

UPDATE:

Congratulations to Jack Mack, Carla Pullum, Courtney, Cara Quigley, Jay, Anniesotm, Christopher Leavy, Keith, jsm6133 and wagrobanite – the randomly selected winners for this competition. If you were one of the lucky ones, keep an eye on your inbox as Brimmer Street Productions, the record label for WITH GLEE, will be in touch shortly to get you your CDs. Congratulations!

For those who didn’t win this time, keep an eye on the blog. Another contest is on its way!

And if you’re interested in purchasing the album, you can do so at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/johngregor2

The Reviews for Bonnie & Clyde are In…

The reviews for Bonnie & Clyde are in, and though they’re not the worst Wildhorn has seen, they are far from positive. Reviewers did find some redeeming qualities in the show’s cast, but found the story and songs simply didn’t deliver. Unoriginal and uninspired, most of them left the theatre asking the question: “Why?”

NEW YORK TIMES

That Clyde Barrow is such a cutup. Why, the boy will do most anything to stir up his sluggish fellow Americans: slap at them, tickle them, shoot them in cold blood. He’ll even punch his fist clean through a wall and drive a big old car right onto the stage, just to try to get a rise out of somebody. But Clyde, honey, t’ain’t nothing you can do to raise the pulse of something that’s as near to dead as the show you’re in.

Click here to read the full “Bonnie & Clyde” review.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Of all the legendary real-life outlaws who have cemented their place in the pages of classic Americana, few have been as iconically brought to life as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in the landmark 1967 Arthur Penn film. So it takes a bold creative vision to put a fresh stamp on the doomed Depression-era felons. The new musical Bonnie & Clyde assembles four talented leads in a good-looking production, but its trite storytelling leaves them shooting blanks.

Click here to read the full “Bonnie & Clyde” review.

VARIETY

Boy meets girl on a deserted road in Depression-era West Dallas, and sooner than you can say “Warren Beatty,” they’re rolling in the hay — or rather, the dust. Seeing as how his name is Clyde and hers is Bonnie, the eventual outcome is no surprise here, and indeed the dead-end story trajectory grows burdensome, as does the fact that unschooled white-trash gunslingers generally aren’t loquacious enough to steal the spotlight. For all that, three exciting performances and a better-than-usual score from Frank Wildhorn combine to make this an arresting if problematic new musical.

Click here to read the full “Bonnie & Clyde” review.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

‘Bonnie & Clyde’ isn’t the worst musical to open on Broadway in the past decade. It isn’t even the worst Frank Wildhorn musical to open on Broadway in the past decade. (That would be “Dracula.”) It is, however, quite sufficiently bad enough to qualify for the finals of this year’s What-Were-They-Thinking Prize. Why would anyone not obviously deranged put money into a show with music by a composer whose last three Broadway outings tanked? And who thought it was a good idea to write a commodity musical whose title gives the impression that “Bonnie & Clyde” is based (even though it isn’t) on a 44-year-old movie that is no longer well remembered save by upper-middle-age baby boomers? Nor have Mr. Wildhorn and his feckless collaborators managed to beat these long odds: “Bonnie & Clyde” is so enervatingly bland and insipid that you’ll leave the theater asking yourself why you ever liked musicals in the first place.

Click here to read the full “Bonnie & Clyde” review.

NEWSDAY

There should be — and I’m guessing there will be — a place on Broadway this season for “Bonnie & Clyde.” Certainly, Arthur Penn’s 1967 film masterwork of violence and gorgeous outlaws does not cry out to be a musical. And, if it did, vanilla-pop composer Frank Wildhorn would not appear on most lists of feasible adapters.

Click here to read the full “Bonnie & Clyde” review.

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