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 Reviews

The Reviews for Side Show are In…

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The reviews for the revival of Side Show are in, and the critics agree that this production is at least twice as compelling as the 1997 original.  As the title gives away, the story features sideshow freaks, including attached twins Violet and Daisy.  Though the world of Side Show can be grungy and vile in more ways than one, the final message is touching and reflective of the experience we all face as humans.  The production quality is stellar (the makeup design of the sideshow freaks is particularly convincing) and the performances are impressive, especially those from Erin Davie and Emily Padgett as the twins.  Those successes combine to somewhat counter the production’s weaknesses and, in the end, deliver a totally revamped Side Show that’s emotional and delightful at once.

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

“Being a freak is virtually the new normal, so the timing couldn’t be better for the thrilling Broadway revival of Side Show that blazed open Monday night at the St. James Theater. The musical by Bill Russell and Henry Krieger, about conjoined twins searching for love and fame, or maybe just a half-measure of…”

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW

“When Side Show opened in 1997 for a brief Broadway run, the American musical was in crisis and the show seemed, to some, like a lifeline. If period-Americana tuners about unusual women in conformist worlds were your ball game, then here was a real double-header: the story of Daisy and Violet Hilton, conjoined twi…”

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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW

“For a musical about true-life conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, the strange and stirring Side Show has a nagging habit of losing its grip. Chalk it up to dramatic inconsistencies and thin characterizations.  Even so, there’s a lot to like about the revised vision of this Depression-era biograp…”

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW

“While the commercially disastrous 1997 Broadway run of Side Show generated a substantial cult following, the big surprise for those of us coming to it fresh is that its exotic subject matter — real-life conjoined twin sisters who became fixtures on the 1930s vaudeville circuit — adheres so naturally to the central th…”

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW

“If ever there was a show that defines the phrase ‘cult musical’, it’s Side Show. Apologies to Chess, Follies, and that telekinetic favorite Carrie. In the 17 years since its premiere, the Bill Russell and Henry Krieger labor of love inspired by the true-life tale of the Hilton sisters—conjoined twins–turned–vau…”

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The Reviews for The Last Ship are In…

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The reviews for The Last Ship are in, and while this dramatic musical may leave you with a rousing, working-man’s ballad in your brain, it may also leave you struggling to describe the plot to your friends.  The new musical, featuring songs by Sting, transports audiences to a once-great shipbuilding town in northern England.  The scenery and effects create a bleak environment that epitomizes the attitude of the frustrated townspeople – matching the fervor with which the cast struggles.  The problem isn’t the music or direction or choreography or scenery, though – it’s the story.  With numerous characters playing major roles and questionable and/or predictable plot machinations peppered throughout, it’s easy to fill disengaged.  The musical is certainly unique on Broadway right now and the capable cast certainly conveys the story with conviction, but with an underachieved storyline, it’s a bit tough to wholly recommend The Last Ship.

 

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

“Hard times, blighted lives and the bleak humor that occasionally lifts the fog: The universe of The Last Ship, the new musical with a score by Sting about a shipbuilding town in decline, lies at some distance from its peppier neighbors on Broadway, where megaphoned uplift and easy escapism tend to thrive. For that rea…”

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW

“To use shipbuilding as an analogy for crafting musicals, the songs are the hull—the most visible part of the thing, taking up the most space. But you won’t sail far without a strong, even keel, the beam around which the hull is constructed—the book, in other words. With The Last Ship, a fervent, rollicking…”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW

“You may be tempted upon leaving Sting’s Broadway musical The Last Ship to head straight to a pub to drain a pint and sing some sea shanties. Or maybe go weld something. Or do both. Such are the foot-stomping, testosterone-filled feelings that emerge from the Neil Simon Theatre, where a blast of British working…”

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW

“The biggest selling point of The Last Ship is also its greatest stumbling block: multiple Grammy winner and Tantra enthusiast Sting, who provides the music and lyrics to his first-ever Broadway show. Fans hoping for the same pop sensibility that turned ”I’ll Be Watching You” and ”Desert Rose” into hits wil…”

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW

“He may not appear onstage, but there’s no mistaking the voice of Sting in both wistful balladeer and rousing reveler modes in his stirring score for The Last Ship. Set against the demise of the shipyards in the composer’s hometown of Wallsend in North East England, this melancholy musical is without doubt…”

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NBC NEW YORK REVIEW

“Submerged beneath an often told prodigal-son story is a haunting, gorgeously executed and involving musical that marks the debut of a new Broadway composer—Sting. The British songwriter was inspired by his own childhood in writing The Last Ship, about a group of U.K. ship builders whose livelihoods are threatened by the c…”

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The Reviews for On the Town are in…

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The reviews for On the Town are in, and the critics agree that this is one helluva revival!  Director John Rando has created a fresh, fun, and bouncy New York that only appears in the eyes of excited newcomers and the dreams of long-time citizens — it’s the American capital of opportunity.  Choreography by Joshua Bergasse matches the aesthetic, creating a wholesome, exciting magic that spreads to every seat in the Lyric Theater.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that the stars of the show deliver serious star performances – Tony Yazbeck is a dazzling lead sailor and Megan Fairchild, of the New York City Ballet, is captivating as the owner of his heart.  On the Town offers a night of delightful (and harmless) skirt-chasing and takes you to the New York you dreamed about as a child.

NEW YORK TIMES

“And now, a show about sex that you can take the whole family to: the kids, the grandparents, even your sister the nun. That idea may sound kind of creepy, or (worse) dreary. But I assure you that the jubilant revival of On the Town, which opened Thursday night at the Lyric Theater, is anything but. On the cont…”

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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

“Three footloose sailors aren’t the only ones who get lucky in On the Town. The audience does, too. Director John Rando has assembled a great cast for this fizzy and frisky revival of the 1944 musical by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Leonard Bernstein. Tracing a tale of World War II tars on leave in the bi…”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

“The webs have been swept away, the comic book villains are long gone and even the name of the theater has changed. So what better way to bid farewell to the doomed Spider-Man musical at the re-christened Lyric Theatre than with a pure American classic? An exuberant, dazzling revival of On the Town…”

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“A glorious 28-piece orchestra playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of a giant American flag safety curtain has the audience on its feet before On the Town gets started. But it’s the jagged blasts of brass, the languorously bluesy romantic ballads and the exuberant comedy numbers of Leonard Bernstein’s jazzy…”

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NBC NEW YORK

“Living in New York City, day in and day out, it’s easy to forget the fun of experiencing it all for the first time. The wonder of looking up at the skyscrapers from the streets below. The excitement of being among the diversity of its residents. It’s the sort of childlike discovery that makes even a crowded subway seem…”

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The Reviews for Holler If You Hear Me are In…

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The reviews for Holler If You Hear Me are in, and unfortunately the critics don’t think anyone will holler for this new jukebox musical based on songs of the late rapper Tupac Shakur.  The critics almost universally recognize the power of Tupac’s lyrics and the strength of the song performances, but they can’t get past the poor story and over-emphasized presentation.  Recent Tony-winning director Kenny Leon leads the charge and seemingly isn’t confident that the public can pick up on the themes of the story.  The result is an “overwrought” and “well-intentioned but toothless” musical about life on the streets, violence, hard knocks, and second chances.  Critics believe that it may leave fans of Tupac unsatisfied and fans of Broadway wondering “…why?”.  It’s true that Broadway is due for a hip-hop musical that will set the industry ablaze, but unfortunately Holler If You Hear Me doesn’t seem to be the one.

NEW YORK TIMES

“The beats are sweet, and the words often have an electric charge in Holler if Ya Hear Me, a new Broadway musical inspired by the lyrics of the popular but troubled rapper Tupac Shakur, who was shot and killed at 25 in Las Vegas in 1996. Unfortunately, much else about this ambitious show, which opened on Thursday at the Palace Theater, feels heartfelt but heavy-handed, as it punches home its message with a relentlessness that may soon leave you numb to the tragic story it’s trying to tell. Written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Kenny Leon, a Tony winner this year for the revival of A Raisin in the Sun, the show admirably yanks the jukebox musical, which has mostly been mired in the hit parade of the baby-boomer years, into the last decade of the 20th century. It was then that Shakur’s raw, propulsive music struck a powerful chord, especially among disaffected black (and white) youth living in poverty amid explosive violence, while America was supposedly firing on all economic cylinders.”

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NBC NEW YORK

“It’s a safe bet that a swath of theatergoers has steered clear of hip-hop—at least, the kind not scripted by In the Heights composer Lin-Manuel Miranda—because it’s gritty, racy and has a perception problem in some quarters. If that’s you, then Holler If Ya Hear Me, the Broadway musical “inspired by” the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, is a chance to correct a grave omission. If, however, you’ve been on the Tupac train all along, then Holler, which has just opened at The Palace Theatre, is a banner opportunity to stand in awe of a rich canon that, it’s difficult to grasp, originated with a man who died at only 25.”

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TIME OUT NEW YORK

“In theory, hip-hop ought to have a bigger presence in mainstream music-theater by now: Broadway showstoppers have never been short on rhyme, syncopation or populist sentiment. Practice is a different matter. While there have been rap-rich musicals (In the Heights), the fusion of hip-hop and razzle-dazzle has been tricky at best, tacky at worst. The latest attempt is Holler if Ya Hear Me, a ghetto-not-so-fabulous repurposing of songs by Tupac Shakur (1971–96) for a ramshackle morality tale about revenge and second chances.”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Broadway has had a punk jukebox musical with Green Day songs and one featuring harmonies by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. There’s a jukebox show with Abba songs and a new Carole King one. Now it’s time for rap. Holler If Ya Hear Me is the intriguing musical inspired by songs by Tupac Shakur, one of hip-hop’s greatest artists who wrote about the ugly life in the drug-fueled mean streets before dying of gunshot wounds in 1996. The high-energy, deeply felt but ultimately overwrought production opened Thursday in a blaze of N-words at the Palace Theatre, proving both that rap deserves its moment to shine on a Broadway stage and that some 20 Shakur songs can somehow survive the transformation — barely.”

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“John Singleton can relax. Any danger of his long-in-development Tupac Shakur biopic being beaten to the punch by Holler If Ya Hear Me is quickly dispelled by the deflating experience of this well-intentioned but toothless Broadway rap musical. The show is not a biographical drama but a story of friendship and family, gun violence, racism and redemption in an inner-city black neighborhood, inspired by Shakur’s lyrics and poetry. However, therein lies the problem. The music is often powerful and the performers uniformly capable, but the songs are a poor fit for narrative presentation, at least in writer Todd Kreidler’s cut-and-paste of cliched situations and stock characters.”

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AWARDS SEASON 2014: Drama Desk Award Nominees

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Nominations for the 2014 Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced April 25 at 54 Below by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Fran Drescher.

Awards Announced: June 1, Hosted by Laura Benanti

Follow all of the awards coverage as we live blog, tweet, facebook or view a summary of all things awards at The Broadway Musical Home.

Here are all the nominees:

Outstanding Play
Nell Benjamin, The Explorers Club
Steven Levenson, Core Values
Conor McPherson, The Night Alive
Richard Nelson, Regular Singing
Bruce Norris, Domesticated
Robert Schenkkan, All The Way
John Patrick Shanley, Outside Mullingar

Outstanding Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Aladdin
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Fun Home
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Rocky
The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Revival of a Play
I Remember Mama
London Wall
No Man’s Land
Of Mice and Men
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Model Apartment
Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe Production)

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Misérables
Violet

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Hamish Linklater, The Comedy of Errors
Ian McKellen, No Man’s Land
David Morse, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Daniel Radcliffe, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Denzel Washington, A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Barbara Andres, I Remember Mama
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Laurie Metcalf, Domesticated
J. Smith-Cameron, Juno and the Paycock
Harriet Walter, Julius Caesar

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Adam Jacobs, Aladdin
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Steven Pasquale, The Bridges of Madison County
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County
Margo Seibert, Tamar of the River
Barrett Wilbert Weed, Heathers: The Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Chuck Cooper, Choir Boy
Peter Maloney, Outside Mullingar
Bobby Moreno, Year of the Rooster
Bill Pullman, The Jacksonian
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Betty Buckley, The Old Friends
Julia Coffey, London Wall
Diane Davis, The Model Apartment
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie
Jan Maxwell, The Castle
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Rory O’Malley, Nobody Loves You
Bobby Steggert, Big Fish

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, Little Miss Sunshine
Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Laura Osnes, The Threepenny Opera
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Director of a Play
Joe Calarco, A Christmas Carol
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Thomas Kail, Family Furniture
Bill Rauch, All The Way
Anna D. Shapiro, Domesticated
Julie Taymor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Bartlett Sher, The Bridges of Madison County
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Alex Timbers, Rocky
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Choreography
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett, Kelly Devine, Rocky
Danny Mefford, Love’s Labour’s Lost
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Sonya Tayeh, Kung Fu

Outstanding Music
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Andrew Lippa, Big Fish
Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Alan Menken, Aladdin
Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, Heathers: The Musical
Jeanine Tesori, Fun Home

Outstanding Lyrics
Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Michael Friedman, Love’s Labour’s Lost
Michael Korie, Far from Heaven
Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, Murder for Two
Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Douglas McGrath, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Marsha Norman, The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Orchestrations
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Big Fish
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Michael Starobin, If/Then
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Music in a Play
Lewis Flinn, The Tribute Artist
Elliot Goldenthal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Rob Kearns, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle
Tom Kochan, Almost, Maine
Nico Muhly, The Glass Menagerie
Duncan Sheik, A Man’s a Man

Outstanding Revue
After Midnight
I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Musik from the Weimar and Beyond
Le Jazz Hot: How the French Saved Jazz
Til Divorce Do Us Part
What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

Outstanding Set Design
Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Richard Hoover, Small Engine Repair
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Ian MacNeil, A Doll’s House
Donyale Werle, The Explorers Club

Outstanding Costume Design
Constance Hoffman, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Zane Pihlstrom, Nutcracker Rouge
Loren Shaw, The Mysteries
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
David C. Woolard, The Heir Apparent

Outstanding Lighting Design
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky
Jane Cox, Machinal
David Lander, The Civil War
Peter Mumford, King Lear
Brian Tovar, Tamar of the River
Japhy Weideman, Macbeth

Outstanding Projection Design
Robert Massicotte and Alexis Laurence, Cirkopolis
Sven Ortel, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Aaron Rhyne, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Shawn Sagady, All The Way
Austin Switser, Sontag: Reborn Ben Rubin, Arguendo

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Kai Harada, Fun Home
Peter Hylenski, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Peter Hylenski, Rocky
Brian Ronan, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Dan Moses Schreier, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Jon Weston, The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
M.L. Dogg, The Open House
Katie Down, The Golden Dragon
Paul James Prendergast, All The Way
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
Christopher Shutt, Love and Information
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Outstanding Solo Performance
David Barlow, This is My Office
Jim Brochu, Character Man
Hannah Cabell, Grounded
Debra Jo Rupp, Becoming Dr. Ruth
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned
John Douglas Thompson, Satchmo at the Waldorf

Unique Theatrical Experience
Charlatan Cirkopolis
Mother Africa
Nothing to Hide
Nutcracker Rouge
The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Vol. 2

Special Awards:

Soho Rep: For nearly four decades of artistic distinction, innovative production, and provocative play selection.

Veanne Cox: For her ability to express the eccentricities, strengths, and vulnerabilities of a range of characters, and notably for her comedic flair as evidenced in this season’s The Old Friends and The Most Deserving.

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award: For his visionary directorial excellence. This season’s The Golden Dragon and The Mysteries exemplify his bold and strikingly original imagination.

To the ensembles of Off-Broadway’s The Open House and Broadway’s The Realistic Joneses and to the creator of both plays, Will Eno: For two extraordinary casts and one impressively inventive playwright.

The Open House: Hannah Bos, Michael Countryman, Peter Friedman Danny McCarthy, and Carolyn McCormick

The Realistic Joneses: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei

A few notes from the Drama Desk: As the current revival of Cabaret replicates the 1998 production, the Board deemed the show ineligible in the Outstanding Revival of a Musical category, as were performers, creative team members, and technical personnel associated with the earlier incarnation in their respective categories. Soul Doctor was considered for its Off-Broadway production in the 2012-13 season. Under Drama Desk rules, only new elements in its transfer to Broadway were eligible this season. Finally, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays was deemed ineligible because it was a return engagement of the 2005 Drama Desk winning show.

The Reviews for Cabaret are In…

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Cabaret has opened in Studio 54, and while the decadent, pre-World War II, night club musical is enjoyed highly by all, most critics needed to pinch themselves to make sure they hadn’t traveled back in time to 1998.  The Roundabout Theater Company production that won such praise the first time around is back and almost entirely unchanged — if you missed it in then, now is your chance to see what all the fuss is/was about!  Alan Cumming returns to play the Emcee, a role for which he won a Tony in 1998, and his performance is every bit as delicious this go around.  Other highlights include the awesome onstage band and the 360-degree design of the Kit Kat Klub setting.  If you didn’t see this production over a decade ago, head to Studio 54. Even if you did see this production over a decade ago, head to Studio 54 — ten years is a long time and you could always use more Cabaret.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Hot diggity dachshund, it’s old home week on the campus at Weimar Berlin, otherwise known as the Kit Kat Klub. And if we take off our glasses and squint, we can pretend that life is just as divinely, dangerously decadent as it was when we were all 16 years younger. Why, here’s that adorably creepy M.C., a little softer around the jaw, maybe (aren’t we all?), but still such a cutup. Look at him pretending to have sex with the school slut. (Or one of them; there were so many.) And isn’t that Sally Bowles over there in the pink boa? Looking good, Sal; love the platinum bob. But why so uptight? Don’t forget what you always said: “Life is … .” Uh, what was it you said again? A little more than 16 years after it first opened, and only a decade after it closed, it feels as if the popular Roundabout Theater Company production of Cabaret never left Studio 54, where it reopened on Thursday night.”

Read the Full Review

TIME OUT NEW YORK

Cabaret is on Broadway again: Willkommen home, you magnificent beast. Originally staged in 1966, then brought to a sordid cinematic life in Bob Fosse’s (heavily adapted) 1972 film, the Kander and Ebb classic was revived and reconfigured anew in Roundabout Theatre Company’s triumphant 1998 account. Now that version has returned with its original star: the supreme Alan Cumming as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub, a decadent nightclub in Berlin’s Weimar period. Why so soon? A better question might be: Why not? This Cabaret is a superb production of one of the great Broadway musicals of all time—an exhilarating, harrowing masterpiece.”

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NBC NEW YORK

“Theatergoers walking into Studio 54 for the now-opened revival of Cabaret might be struck with a case of déjà vu. That’s because the Roundabout Theatre Company has produced an exact restaging of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s 1998 Tony-winning production. From the Playbill cover design to the fringe on the lamps of the tables of the Kit Kat Klub, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a time machine. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a reason the ‘98 revival was such a big hit, after all. Mendes and Marshall had reimagined John Kander and Fred Ebb’s classic musical, stripping away any glitz and glamor leftover from the 1972 film. Together with book writer Joe Masteroff, they gave us a dark, gritty take on Cabaret that amped up the asexual undertones in John Van Druten’s original play and Christopher Isherwood’s stories, forcing us to see the material in a whole new light.”

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VARIETY

“Alan Cumming must have sold his soul to the devil to acquire his divinely debauched persona as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub in Cabaret. It seemed nuts, but proved shrewd of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall to retool their dazzling 1998 revival of the Kander and Ebb masterpiece, fit Cumming with a new trenchcoat for his triumphant return, and bring the decadent netherworld of 1920s Berlin back to Studio 54, the revival’s ideal venue. Inspiration flagged, however, in casting Michelle Williams, so soft and vulnerable in My Week With Marilyn, as wild and reckless party girl Sally Bowles. Smoking is verboten at Studio 54. The wait staff is not as scantily clad as the louche boys and girls at the Kit Kat Klub. The patrons aren’t even doing lines on the tables. But other aspects of this infamous club’s setting — the glitzy design of the house, the cabaret seating and drinks service, and the superb audio system for the fantastic onstage band — contribute to the show’s illusion that going out clubbing can still mean living dangerously.”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Barely sneaking in under the Tony Award nomination deadline this season is a dear old friend to Broadway, the decadent Cabaret. The only appropriate salutation is: willkommen. Not a revival so much as a revival of a revival, this Cabaret — again produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company — opened Thursday night, with only hours to spare before its eligibility expired. Whatever it’s called, it’s as thrilling as ever, a marvel of staging that hasn’t lost its punch. If it looks a lot like the version that ran from 1998-2004, that’s understandable: Alan Cumming is back in his Tony Award-winning role as Emcee and director Sam Mendes and co-director and choreographer Rob Marshall are again pulling the strings on this show about life in pre-World War II Berlin. Orchestrations and costumes — what little there are — also are the same.”

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HUFFINGTON POST

“Sometimes the melancholy metaphor that claims “You can’t go home again” comes to mind unexpectedly. I’m sorry to say it has too recently occurred to me. It happened at the Studio 54 revival of the 1998 Cabaret so beautifully engineered then by Sam Mendes, Rob Marshall and Cynthia Onrubia. That’s the one that introduced the extraordinary Alan Cumming (also currently Eli Gold on The Good Wife) to Broadway. Let me quickly specify that Cumming, repeating the role that brought him a Tony 16 years ago, is every juicy leer as good now as he was then in his role of the deliciously decadent compere at the Third Reich’s Kit Kat Klub in Berlin, where, we’re assured, life is beautiful and the girls are beautiful. A decade and a half later, he uses the intervening years to supply the slinky fellow with a hint of the weariness that descends after cajoling too many patrons to cheer up over too many cheerless nights.”

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The Reviews for Hedwig and the Angry Inch are In…

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And now for something completely different!  The reviewers give the Broadway premier of Hedwig and the Angry Inch two emphatic rock ‘n roll horns and one long, outstretched Gene Simmons tongue.  Neil Patrick Harris owns the central role in this hard rock musical about the gender-mysterious lead singer of a German rock band.  His charisma, confidence, and showmanship match the energy of the ultra-crazy tech effects and his adept handling of struggles balances a personality to which almost no one is similar but everyone can relate.  The John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask musical plays at the Belasco Theatre and is nirvana for those seeking a Broadway night out of a totally different (and much more hard rockin’ and glitter-laden) variety.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Do not be alarmed by recent reports that Neil Patrick Harris, an irresistibly wholesome television presence, has fallen deeply and helplessly into the gap that separates men from women, East from West, and celebrity from notoriety. There’s no need to fear for his safety, much less his identity. Quite the contrary. Playing an “internationally ignored song stylist” of undefinable gender in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Mr. Harris is in full command of who he is and, most excitingly, what he has become with this performance. That’s a bona fide Broadway star, the kind who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequined eyelid.”

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TIME OUT NEW YORK

“The omnitalented Neil Patrick Harris plays the titular crotch-botched German rock singer in the first Broadway production of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s genre-bending 1998 rock musical. Transitioning from child star to adult gay icon, sitcom prince and social-media wizard, Neil Patrick Harris always seemed to be a cultural rock star. But in his latest reinvention, it turns out that the actor is, y’know, an actual rock star. As the imperious, spurned, fright-bewigged, sweaty glitterbomb at the heart of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Harris makes Broadway rock harder than it ever has before.”

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NBC NEW YORK

“If David Belasco’s ghost really does haunt the balcony of his namesake theater off Sixth Avenue, as Neil Patrick Harris declares at the start of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, he is, by now, both deaf and blind. That’s not such a bad thing. If you’ve gotta lose two key senses, I can think of no more auspicious way to bid them auf wiedersehen than via the 95-minute stretch of ear-splitting rock and aggressive strobe-lighting that is the new take on Hedwig, the John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask musical about a rock-and-roll band fronted by an East German singer disfigured in a botched sex change operation.”

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VARIETY

“The screaming starts when a bespangled Neil Patrick Harris parachutes onstage in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and doesn’t stop until he’s back in his dressing room. That’s the kind of rock-star performance he gives in this spectacular revival — helmed with fabulous flash by Michael Mayer — of the 1998 musical (and later movie) by John Cameron Mitchell (book) and Stephen Trask (music & lyrics). Harris’ Hedwig is an imperfectly transformed transvestite who grew up in East Berlin before the wall came down, resplendent in the punk drag of a nihilistic rocker but still concealing a heap of hurt under her wig.”

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AM NEW YORK

“Neil Patrick Harris, who appeared on Broadway three times before being scooped up by How I Met Your Mother for nine years, still managed to maintain a regular presence in the theater by hosting the Tony Awards no less than four times. Now that his long-running sitcom has ended, not only is Harris back onstage, he is tackling one of the most outsized, flamboyant and intense musical theater roles ever created in the first Broadway staging of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

“It’s obvious from the first moments of Hedwig and the Angry Inch that star Neil Patrick Harris is doing something special. And it’s not just trying on a new role. He is lowered to the stage in a jumpsuit and ferociously feathered blond wig and immediately begins the show’s first rock-punk song, getting down on all fours, grinding into the microphone stand or licking the guitarist’s strings. The crowd inside of the Belasco Theatre, where the show opened Tuesday, loses its mind, and why not? “Thank you! Thank you, you’re so sweet,” Harris says. “I do love a warm hand on my entrance.””

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