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 The King and I Are In…

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Photo by Sara Krulwich

The reviews for The King and I are in, and the critics universally admire this astonishing revival.  Playing at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at the Lincoln Center, this sometimes touchy standard is here crafted by the deft, thoughtful hands of director Bartlett Sher. Instead of hiding behind or overemphasizing the seemingly out-of-touch themes of the musical, Sher builds a world of openness and clarity, one where the story and its innate messages somehow ring as truthfully and broadly as ever. The production is at once lavish and large and intimate and honest, thanks in part to creative collaboration with Catherine Zuber (costumes) and Michael Yeargan (set), comrades from Sher’s 2008 South Pacific.  The cast is led by the stunning Kelli O’Hara who wins hearts and makes the tale all the more compelling. Ken Watanabe also plays a winning turn as the King of Siam, complete with an authentic language barrier at times.  Truth be told, there are dozens of reasons to add The King and I to your shortlist. Simply don’t miss it.

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

A big, scrupulously detailed 19th-century ship glides toward the audience in the opening moments of Bartlett Sher’s resplendent production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” which opened on Thursday night at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. It’s an impressive sight, worthy of every “oooh” it elicits. But … 

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW

Lincoln Center Theater’s “The King and I” arrives this spring much like the ship Chow Phya heaves into view of Bangkok on the Vivian Beaumont stage: a majestic vessel of excellent construction, expertly piloted and bringing with it many wonderful things—starting with Kelli O’Hara. What’s more, in a year of bland … 

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW

The mutual fascination and eternal struggle for understanding across the cultural divide between East and West is played out on a magnificent scale in Lincoln Center Theater’s breathtaking revival of “The King and I.” As he did with the company’s transcendent “South Pacific” seven years ago, director Bartlett 

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HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW

In a day and age when producers, directors and author’s executors think nothing of imposing their so-called artistic vision on Broadway masterworks that were pretty good to begin with, it is heartening to see producers, directors and executors just do the show as written. Lincoln Center Theater and director … 

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NBC NEW YORK REVIEW

The astonishing Kelli O’Hara is back on Broadway. This time, she’s leading Lincoln Center’s respectful take on “The King and I,” as schoolteacher Anna Leonowens, who stands up to the ruler of Siam — here, Oscar-nominee and Broadway newcomer Ken Watanabe. The revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical … 

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The Reviews for Finding Neverland are In…

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Photo by Sara Krulwich

Finding Neverland opened and it seems lovers of Peter Pan and Glee will cheer, but lovers of creative musical theatre will hiss.  You know the story, and you know the names of the actors playing the biggest roles – Matthew Morrison (of Glee fame) and Kelsey Grammer.  So what’s not to love?  Unfortunately, the production begins and ends with what you already know.  Though the story of Peter Pan would seemingly burst at the seams with imaginative possibilities, this production stops short of exploring them. The critics report that performances feel lackluster, the book and music feel boring and sometimes stale, and the passion just doesn’t quite feel present. So there it is again – if you love Peter Pan and wouldn’t dream of missing a new version, the Lunt-Fontanne Theater is your spot.  Otherwise, you might be better served crossing this one off your list.

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

The first entrance applause occurs before even the overture begins. Riotous clapping is occasioned when a bright point of light travels over the ceiling and the curtain of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in New York, where the push-button, button-pushing musical “Finding Neverland” opened on Wednesday night. This little 

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW

Manic, childish applause might cure the poisoned fairy Tinker Bell, but it’s not medicine enough for “Finding Neverland,” the awkward, garish and manipulative musical based on the 2004 Miramax film about playwright J.M. Barrie and the boys who inspired Peter Pan. Show-doctored into a state of shrill mediocrity 

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW

It had enough admirers to snag several Oscar nominations, including best picture, but I confess I found the 2004 movie “Finding Neverland” a decorous yawn, starring a somnambulant Johnny Depp opposite Kate Winslet in a role that under-utilized her talents. But the preciousness and mawkish emotional manipulation … 

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VULTURE REVIEW

Provenance is a concept usually associated with art, not theater. Who, after all, owns a plot — or the history on which it is based? Still, the problem rears up in several ways in “Finding Neverland,” the new musical starring Matthew Morrison as J.M. Barrie, the author of “Peter Pan.” This is not the first Broadway … 

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NBC NEW YORK REVIEW

I’m sorry “Finding Neverland” has finally opened—you can catch it now at the Lunt-Fontanne—because the behind-the-scenes tinkering has made for such riveting headlines: Harvey replaces creative team! Harvey axes leading man! Harvey fires publicist! Harvey, being Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein, may be a fledgling

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The Reviews for It Shoulda Been You Are In…

Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The reviews for It Shoulda Been You are in, and there are too many appropriate “shoulda, coulda, woulda” jokes here to pick just one (so let’s just skip those altogether).  The reviews for this new musical are not positive, and the critics clearly place blame on Barbara Anselmi (music, concept) and Brian Hargrove (book, lyrics).  Tired, overused jokes, over-stereotyped characters, and unimaginative music combine to produce an evening you’re unlikely to brag about.  Director David Hyde Pierce does his best with the material and so does the mostly veteran cast, but unfortunately there’s not much that can save a musical that the entire audience will likely feel like they’ve seen before.  If you’re itching for jokes about Jews or just want a dark place to snuggle with your honey, head to the Brooks Atkinson Theater. Otherwise, steer clear.

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

As the father of the bride might put it, “Oy.” “It Shoulda Been You,” which opened on Tuesday night at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, confirms the sad truth that weddings — those supposed celebrations of everlasting love — bring out the worst in some people. That includes cynics, show-offs, heavy drinkers, envious

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW

The best way to enjoy the madcap, madly old-hat “It Shoulda Been You” is to pretend it’s a lost TV relic from the 1970s. The shortcomings of Brian Hargrove and Barbara Anselmi’s mossy new show, about an interfaith wedding gone awry, are easier to forgive through a lens of affectionate camp: the dated stereotypes

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW

That old popular-comedy chestnut “Abie’s Irish Rose” is given a modern twist in the new musical “It Shoulda Been You,” which plays like vintage dinner theater infused with a Borscht Belt sensibility. That it nonetheless manages to be truly amusing is a testament to the talent both on and offstage: such comic pros … 

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HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW

Something old, something new Something borrowed, something blue-ish. If you can predict that “blue-ish”–in the new musical, “It Shoulda Been You” – rhymes with something like “it’s true-ish when you’re Jewish,” then you’re two (or five) steps ahead of the authors. If it’s Jewish jokes you want, there’s a 

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NBC NEW YORK REVIEW

Broadway’s so-far stuffy spring season needed to loosen up, and relief arrives with the campy ensemble comedy “It Shoulda Been You.” Now open at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, the musical is notable as the Broadway directing debut of David Hyde Pierce, the “Frasier” star. “Shoulda” has a stock set-up: The Steinberg … 

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The Reviews for An American In Paris are In…

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An American in Paris opened, and the critics agree that this new stage adaptation of the 1951 film is as beautiful and dream-like as the city of Paris itself.  Kudos go to director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, book adapter Craig Lucas, and set and costume designer Bob Crowley – by all accounts, the musical’s story is told poetically and the world of post-WWII Paris looks and feels romantic.  Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope perform the leading roles and put their accomplished dance talents on full display (as well as their more-than-capable abilities with song and text).  It’s hard to go wrong when the story, design, and performances all play to great effect – and that’s the case here. Head to the Palace Theatre for an astonishing evening in Paris.

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

The city of light is ablaze with movement in the rhapsodic new stage adaptation of “An American in Paris” that opened at the Palace Theater on Sunday, directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, a gifted luminary of the ballet world. This gorgeously danced — and just plain gorgeous — production pays lovin 

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW

The arrival of two big musicals derived from classic 1950s movies located in the City of Light (see “Gigi”) indicates either a resurgent interest in the early film oeuvre of Leslie Caron or a lack of producer imagination. Or maybe it’s just random, unintentionally reflected in the patchwork—if also lavish and

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VARIETY REVIEW

A dancer is a thing of beauty, and there is beaucoup beauty in director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s ravishing production of “An American in Paris,” smartly but not slavishly adapted by Craig Lucas from the 1951 MGM movie. This stageworthy vehicle casts ballet stars Robert Fairchild (NYC Ballet principal

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW

Some Broadway seasons can slip by leaving the sad impression that the expressive power of dance in the musical-theater lexicon has been forgotten. But this one has already yielded the joyous resurrection of Jerome Robbins’ buoyant moves in “On the Town.” Now comes ballet luminary Christopher Wheeldon, taking an 

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AM NEW YORK REVIEW

Call it déjà vu, a coincidence or odd planning, but there are now two musicals on Broadway based on Oscar-winning 1950s Technicolor MGM movie musicals that starred Leslie Caron, were directed by Vincente Minnelli and are romances set in Paris. Last week “Gigi” opened, and now there’s “An American in Paris.” But 

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The Reviews for Gigi are In…

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The reviews for Gigi are in, and most of the critics agree that this revival’s pretty surface fails to totally cover the weaknesses just underneath.  Originally a novella by Colette, then a 1958 Lerner and Loewe film, and then a 1973 Broadway bust, the latest version features a revised book by Heidi Thomas that aims to modernize the tale but ends up sterilizing it.  Vanessa Hudgens, known from “High School Musical,” brings brightness to the title role and sings her songs with sparkle, but misses the mark emotionally.  The supporting cast is strong and the scenery and costumes are impressive, but in the end, this revival of Gigi just lacks a heart and a soul and wears a bit too much make-up.

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

A shower of soap bubbles descends upon the audience at the finale of the pretty and pleasant revival of the musical “Gigi” that opened at the Neil Simon Theater on Wednesday. The gentle downpour is meant to evoke the fizz in a glass of Champagne, the delights of which have been celebrated in one of the bounciest … 

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW

Champagne, as Gigi reminds us, “is not actually a force of nature, but the result of industrial chemistry!” Neither natural force nor chemistry, alas, is much in evidence at this fizzless toast to Parisian romance in the Belle Époque. Based on a story by Colette, and its 1958 film adaptation by Alan Jay Lerner and 

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW

Given her famously ambivalent acquaintanceship with Coco Chanel, it seems possible that novelist Colette might be rolling her eyes, if not quite rolling over in her grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery, upon discovering that double-G T-shirts mimicking the interlocking-C Chanel logo are being sold at the merchandise 

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HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW

The movie Gigi with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe and direction by Vincente Minnelli won the 1958 Oscar as best movie. That was one of nine — count ’em, 9 — Oscars handed the box-office hit. Others included best screenplay adaptation (Lerner), best song (Lerner and Loewe’s title 

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NBC NEW YORK REVIEW

Vanessa Hudgens brings verve and vivacity to a reimagined version of the classic musical “Gigi”—a production equally memorable for its rich contributions from Tony winner Victoria Clark, as the carefree young girl’s indulgent grandmother. “Gigi” has just opened at the Neil Simon Theatre, following a world premiere 

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The Reviews for On the Twentieth Century are In…

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The reviews for On the Twentieth Century are in, and the critics are happy to have been invited aboard for the ride.  There’s a charming simplicity to this musical – sign the star before the train’s 16-hour trip to NYC is finished – which is made all the more compelling by the virtuous vocal performances, the fast-paced plot movement, and the stunning look and feel.  Andy Karl and Mary Louise Wilson shine in their character-role performances, but it’s Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher who really steal the show…especially Chenoweth.  If you’ve forgotten while she’s been on TV and in the movies, her abilities are top-tier and on full display as the film star Lily Garland.  Overall, the critics’ message resounds as clearly as a train whistle pulling into Grand Central – there’s no one who won’t love On the Twentieth Century.

NEW YORK TIMES

In the theater, there is overacting, which is common and painful to watch. Then there’s over-the-moon acting, which is rare and occupies its own special cloud land in heaven. I am delighted to report that this latter art is being practiced in altitudinous-high style at the American Airlines Theater, where Kristin

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NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Next stop, Broadway musical bliss. That’s where the Roundabout revival of “On the Twentieth Century,” directed with verve by Scott Ellis, takes you. The setting for this fast-paced, flab-free screwball operetta by Cy Coleman, Betty Comden and Adolph Green is a luxury coach en route from Chicago to New York in the… 

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NEW YORK POST

“They don’t write dialogue like this anymore,” a producer says, leafing through the Bible in “On the Twentieth Century.” And they don’t write musical comedies like this anymore, either. Gloriously revived by the Roundabout Theatre Company, this 1978 musical — now with sparkling turns by Kristin Chenoweth and Pete… 

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

At the top of Act II in “On the Twentieth Century,” four tap-dancing redcap Pullman porters work overtime to funnel syncopated energy into the facile analogy of “Life is Like a Train.” But this strained farce set in 1932 aboard the luxury Chicago-to-New York express passenger service is a musical stubbornly lacki… 

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The Reviews for Honeymoon in Vegas are In…

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The reviews for Honeymoon in Vegas are in, and this cheese-laden Las Vegas glitter-bomb seems to have all the stuff of a winner.  Based on the 1992 film, Honeymoon in Vegas pits two men (of totally opposing temperaments) against each other in battle for the same woman.  What the story lacks in complexity, it makes up for with goofiness and outlandishness that make the entire world (from Brooklyn to Vegas to Hawaii and back again) both endearing and entertaining.  The leads hit their marks – Tony Danza, Rob McClure, and Brynn O’Malley all deliver strong performances — but the original score is the real star.  Jason Robert Brown deftly blends motifs of brassy, Vegas lounge music with the Broadway style he knows so well.  Whether you still miss Danza’s “Who’s the Boss?” or love Jason Robert Brown’s work or just want to see something dazzling, Honeymoon in Vegas is a good bet for you.

NEW YORK TIMES

“Wake up and smell the mai tais, New York. Las Vegas has come calling on you. And it’s on such good behavior, you’d be a churl not to embrace it as if it were a long-lost sibling. As embodied by the bright and bouncy new musical Honeymoon in Vegas, which opened on Thursday night at the Nederlander Theater, the…” 

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TIME OUT NEW YORK

“How to answer snobs who denounce Broadway as a cultural wasteland of gaudy lights, musical cheese and tacky titillation, a place where suckers from around the world flock to get fleeced? You could say at least it’s not…Las Vegas? Well, the Great White Way has now become Sodom of the Southwest, and whatever happens ther…” 

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NBC NEW YORK

“Would you bet against Tony Danza? I sure wouldn’t, certainly not in a vehicle as full of cheesy goodness as Honeymoon in Vegas, which just opened at the Nederlander Theatre following a well-received world premiere at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. All the leads are back for the Broadway run. Adapted from the 1992 film, which…” 

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VARIETY

“Honeymoon In Vegas answers gloomy Gotham’s crying need for some good old lowbrow farce — the kind of show with silly songs, mindless physical comedy and towering showgirls in feather headdresses. Scribe Andrew Bergman has turned his not-quite-cult 1992 movie (with James Caan, Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Par…” 

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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“In the 1992 screen comedy Honeymoon in Vegas, Nicolas Cage gets over his prolonged wedding jitters and flies exasperated fiancée Sarah Jessica Parker to Nevada to tie the knot, only to risk losing her to shady professional gambler James Caan, who sees her as a dead ringer for his dear departed wife. I…”

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