Archive for November, 2013
The critics are clear, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is an irresistible delight, despite its grim title and relatively unknown production team. The musical comedy is based on both a 1907 novel by Roy Horniman and a classic British comedy, “Kind Hearts and Coronets”, starring Alec Guinness. The compliments come in bunches for this production, with critics heaping praise on Broadway newbies Robert L. Freedman (book and lyrics), Steven Lutvak (music and lyrics), and director Darko Tresnjak. Onstage, the excellent ensemble is topped with stand-out performances by Bryce Pinkham (Monty Navarro) and Jefferson Mays, expertly playing all eight of the D’Yysquith heirs on Navarro’s chopping block. The title may be grisly, but this musical comedy is lots of fun and not to be missed — a fitting choice for the whole family, even around the holidays.
NEW YORK TIMES
“Serial killers may be all the rage on bookshelves and television screens — so ubiquitous, you’d think they made up a major demographic of the world population — but they are comparatively rare in the peppier precincts of musical theater. Now, after a long dry spell, Broadway has a deadly sociopath to call its own. Please give a hearty welcome to Monty Navarro, the conniving killer who helps turn murder most foul into entertainment most merry in the new musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”
“While the source material credited for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder is Israel Rank, an Edwardian novel by Roy Horniman published in 1907, the show’s key inspiration lies in the film adapted from that book, Kind Hearts and Coronets. That wonderful 1949 Ealing Studios black comedy cast the incomparable Alec Guinness as eight English aristocrats standing in the way of a murderous commoner’s noble birthright. The virtuosic comic turn here belongs to Jefferson Mays, taking on dizzyingly quick changes of costume and characterization with hilarious aplomb. But that’s by no means the sole enticement of this toothsome new musical.”
“Many actors would, if you’ll pardon the expression, kill for a great death scene. In A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, the new musical at the Walter Kerr, Jefferson Mays doesn’t have to draw a drop of blood to get more than a half-dozen of them. Bees, freezing-cold water, a heart attack, a gun, and oh so many more implements of destruction give the actor opportunity after opportunity to expire in spectacular, balcony-baiting fashion — oh, and evoke gales of laughter at the same time. That’s the really important part. In fact, it’s tough to remember another Broadway outing since Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore that’s derived so much gleeful entertainment in the hastening of mortality.”
“Overkill has seldom been more enjoyable than in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, a thoroughly delightful and uproarious new Broadway musical about an Edwardian serial killer who could be a well-heeled cousin of Sweeney Todd by way of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves. His name is Monty Navarro (Bryce Pinkham, blessed with a crystalline tenor and the looks of a young Jude Law) and he’ll stop at nothing to avenge his late mother, disinherited by a titled British family for falling in love with the wrong sort. ”My father was ‘Castilian,’ he explains at one point. ‘And worse, a musician.’”
“‘For God’s sake, go!’ warns the black-clad chorus at the top of A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder as they advise the more squeamish patrons who might be shocked at the evening’s gory dramatics to leave immediately. Don’t listen to them or you’ll miss a rollicking good time and a smashing Broadway debut for composer/lyricist Steven Lutvak, bookwriter/lyricist Robert L. Freedman and director Darko Tresnjak.”
It’s been a while since a musical revue got universal praise from critics, but After Midnight, the latest of the genre, couldn’t have received stronger reviews. Featuring incredible music and dancing – this tribute fully embraces the style of its original source to deliver a nearly perfect show that celebrates the undeniable talents of the singers, dancers and musicians on stage. And though all deliver excellent performances, the stars of the show are unmistakably the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, who capture Ellington’s style to a t, leaving audiences smiling, tapping their toes and singing After Midnight’s praises.
NEW YORK TIMES
“The band takes the last bow in “After Midnight,” the sparkling new jazz revue that opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater on Sunday night. This may be unusual for Broadway, where the players are normally in the pit — and the music often sounds as if it could have been piped in from Hong Kong — but it’s entirely as it should be.”
“Though Duke Ellington and his orchestra had further uptown destinations in mind when they advised nightlife-seeking denizens to take the A train, Broadway patrons seeking a luscious sampler of the music and styles that flourished in venues like The Cotton Club, The Savoy and The Sugar Cane during that golden era known as The Harlem Renaissance needn’t travel further north than 47th Street, where the Brooks Atkinson Theatre is jumpin’, stompin’ and downright roof raisin’ with the sounds of Ellington and his contemporaries in a dazzling showcase of talent christened After Midnight.”
“There are few things that bring smiles to even the most jaded faces — balloons, blaring trumpets and tap dancers. A new Broadway revue has two — no, make that all three — so no wonder it leaves you feeling lighter than air.”
“The paramount requirement for any revue celebrating the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s is stated right there in the Duke Ellington standard, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” And After Midnight has it in abundance, courtesy of a superlative jazz orchestra handpicked by producer Wynton Marsalis from among the best in the business. Ninety minutes of exuberantly entertaining song and dance, this is a show that renders it impossible to keep your toes from tapping. Up first in a series of rotating special guest stars, Fantasia Barrino with her luscious vocals sets the bar high.”
NBC NEW YORK
“After two sold-out runs at City Center, “Cotton Club Parade” has shed its original name (licensing issues!) and transferred to Broadway. Now with the smokier, more evocative title “After Midnight,” the moody homage to Duke Ellington opened Sunday at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.”