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 April, 2012

The Reviews for Leap of Faith are In…

Reviewers must have been running, not walking, out of the theatre to write these extremely  scathing reviews. For them, Leap of Faith is the biggest blunder of the season. They found that even the normally capable hands of the show’s lead, Raúl Esparza, who had, until now, seemed unable to do any wrong, and the talented song-writing team of Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, the story felt so confused, desperate and flat as to leave NYTimes reviewer Ben Bratley decreeing: “Leap of Faith is this season’s black hole of musical comedy, sucking the energy out of anyone who gets near it.” Somehow I doubt producers will be placing that quote on any of their materials…that is if the show is around long-enough to create additional marketing. These critics would have it shut down on the spot.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Say amen, somebody. Or, better yet, just whimper the word. We’ve finally come to the end of a hard-run overcrowded spring on Broadway. And here, to sound the final trumpet, is one last musical, a show that appropriately expresses how many a dedicated theatergoer must be feeling right now: plumb tuckered out.”

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW:

“Want to make a ton of money? Peddle God to fools. Want to lose a ton of money? Invest in a Broadway turkey. You can’t have it both ways. It’s perfectly fine—even desirable—if your religion is crude and nonsensical, but a show as bland and confused as Leap of Faith is not going to make rich men of its producers (among whom are actual church leaders). The fake cash distributed by actors to audience members—so we may place it in the offertory baskets at Jonas Nightingale’s revivalist hoedowns—is all the green this wanly tacky production is likely to see.”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

“The last musical of the official Broadway season comes into town like a huckster promising salvation. But it’s the show itself that needs saving. There’s a strong musical somewhere in “Leap of Faith,” which stars a soulful Raul Esparza and has some of Alan Menken’s best songs. But what opened Thursday at The St. James Theatre is sometimes confusing in its tone. Like its main character – the devious faith healer Rev. Jonas Nightingale, ready to scam residents of a down-and-out Kansas town – the musical is hard to pin down. There’s too much misdirection.”

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“The 1992 movie no doubt has its fans, but for this reviewer, Leap of Faith was a charmless yawn whose chief distinction was the embarrassing weirdness of watching Steve Martin jogging in a crop top. Part fable about self-discovery and redemption and part takedown of shyster evangelism, the film fudged its position on whether the cynical main character had been truly enlightened by his spiritual journey, or whether such a journey had even occurred. The stage musical improves on the original simply by settling on a point of view. But despite Raul Esparza’s hard-working lead performance and some rousing Gospel numbers from Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, the story remains stubbornly unappealing.”

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NEWSDAY

“Sociocultural theses may be written about the season when Broadway got dead serious about Christianity. Not only do we have earnest, grandiose revivals of “Godspell” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” but here comes a true-believing musical, “Leap of Faith,” flat-lined out of the charming and touching 1992 Steve Martin movie about a con man preacher. The show, which has been surrounded by an assortment of rumors and incarnations since 2006, has arrived in director Christopher Ashley’s skimpy, hard-driving production, unsure of its tone and unable to figure out how best to use its star, Raúl Esparza.”

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The Reviews for Nice Work if You Can Get It are In…

With comedy tailor-made for Matthew Broderick and the delightful Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work if You Can Get It is a tribute to Gershwin and the musicals of his era, with a thin, silly story, wonderful songs and all the mugging a girl could ever want. If you feel musicals tend to be over-the-top and trite, you’ll want to stay far away from this one, but if you find yourself pining for some silly, escapist fun, reviewers agree, this kitschy show might be just what you’re after.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Every now and then, a bubble of pure, tickling charm rises from the artificial froth of “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” the pastiche of a 1920s musical featuring songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Most of this show, which opened on Tuesday night at the Imperial Theater, registers as a shiny, dutiful trickle of jokes and dance numbers performed by talented people who don’t entirely connect with the whimsy of a bygone genre.”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Kelli O’Hara has admitted that she was a little reluctant at first to sing some of the classic, heavily picked-over Gershwin songs before starting on “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Thankfully that changed when she got to hold a gun.”

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“The last time Matthew Broderick headlined a major musical was opposite Nathan Lane in the instant blockbuster The Producers, the 2001 show that ushered in a new age of irreverence on Broadway and scooped up a record 12 Tony Awards. Mel Brooks’ runaway hit was sublime silliness, a giddy valentine to old-time musical theater with nothing on its mind but delirious entertainment. The same could be said of Nice Work If You Can Get It, which brings Broderick back in a disarming ball of fluff that seems tailor-made to fit his droll brand of comedy.”

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AM NEW YORK

“Matthew Broderick, who hasn’t enjoyed much success on Broadway since “The Producers” a decade ago, manages to redeem himself in “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” a “new” Gershwin musical also starring Kelli O’Hara and other stage veterans who bring down the house in supporting comedic roles.”

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“If you’re not a musical-theater fan, Nice Work If You Can Get It will probably confirm your worst fears about Broadway. The mugging. The wigs. The wheezing one-liners. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes) with a light-as-air book by Joe DiPietro (Memphis), the show uses a screwball love story between a Prohibition-era playboy (Matthew Broderick) and a bootlegger (South Pacific’s Kelli O’Hara) as an excuse for a medley of classic George and Ira Gershwin tunes. It’s as joyfully airheaded and kitschy as a drag show, which should make it a must-see for anyone with a more-is-more stance on sequins.”

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The Reviews for Ghost the Musical are In…

Yowsa. When the AP is the only one with something positive to say, you know you’re in trouble. Deemed by reviewers to be an unimaginative, boilerplate and overly-sappy musical with a whole lot of video and special effects thrown on top to try to hide the boring mess underneath, Ghost had better garner some fan love if it’s going to survive longer than a week. It seems the critics would not have it so…

NEW YORK TIMES

“Generally speaking, I don’t believe in ghosts. But I’m convinced that the spirits of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne have taken up temporary residence in the wings of the Broadway theater that bears their names, where the new musical adapted from the popular movie “Ghost” opened on Monday night.”

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USA TODAY

“During the second act, a strange noise was heard, and the stage manager announced that the performance would be halted temporarily to resolve a technical problem. (The show’s representatives had no official comment on what the issue was.)”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

“The musical based on the film “Ghost” that just opened on Broadway is said to have originated in London. But it seems to have come from somewhere else: the future.”

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BACKSTAGE

“Someone needs to tell “Ghost” that it’s not a movie anymore. No, not the 1990 film of the same name, which starred Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn, and Whoopi Goldberg. I’m talking about the identically named musical version, which director Matthew Warchus attempts to give cinematic qualities through the use of stage illusions, recorded videos, and film sequences. Film, however, has the luxury of yelling “Cut!” In the theater the show must go on, even if the expensive stage technology fails.”

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AM NEW YORK

“The pottery wheel has been carried over. Same goes for the hit song “Unchained Melody,” which is sung countless times. But that hardly helps “Ghost the Musical,” a faithful but unmoving and overblown adaptation of the 1990 Patrick Swayze-Demi Moore romantic fantasy that has become an iconic chick flick.”

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