Archive for Andrew Lippa
The reviews are in for Big Fish, and the critics have mixed feelings about the large-scale production. By all accounts, the musical — based on the Tim Burton movie and the Daniel Wallace novel — features spectacular stage magic from the mind of director Susan Stroman and a lovable leading man in Norbert Leo Butz (as Edward Bloom). Some consider the score by Andrew Lippa and the book by John August (the screenplay writer for the 2003 movie) to be weaknesses of the production, lacking in imagination and creativity, but some say that Stroman’s technical ingenuity covers all of that up nicely. Basically, if fantastical lighting and scenery are what you want to see, Big Fish could be great for you. If you’re searching for a story with an unpredictable plot and emotionally-charged characters, maybe you’d be happier sitting this one out.
NEW YORK TIMES
“For a show that celebrates tall tales, “Big Fish” feels curiously stunted. Granted, this movie-inspired musical about a whopper-spinning traveling salesman, which opened on Sunday night at the Neil Simon Theater, is certainly big by most conventional measurements.”
“Fantasy wages war with reality in Big Fish, a delightfully old-fashioned musical based on Daniel Wallace’s beloved novel (and Tim Burton’s 2003 film). In one corner, there is Edward Bloom (the sensational Norbert Leo Butz), a traveling salesman from backwater Alabama given to spinning tall tales about mermaids and giants to fill in the gaps in his otherwise ordinary life. In the other, there is his son, Will (Bobby Steggert), a just-the-facts journalist who’s never really connected with his often absent, now-ailing dad and faces the prospect of fatherhood himself.”
NBC NEW YORK
“Edward Bloom will die a “glorious” death at the end of “Big Fish,” which has just opened at the Neil Simon Theatre. That’s not a spoiler; it’s an explanation. Blessed, if you’d call it that, to know the “when” and “how” of his life’s final chapter, the peculiar protagonist of Susan Stroman’s giddy, overstuffed new musical is free to take risks the rest of us wouldn’t, for fear of bodily harm.”
“I doubt Broadway has ever seen a prettier, more sensuously kinetic musical than Susan Stroman’s adaptation of “Big Fish” set to music by Andrew Lippa (“The Addams Family.”) It’s enchanting, especially once it slows down a bit to catch its breath. That doesn’t happen until the second act, but it won’t matter much, even to fans of the Tim Burton movie (or the Daniel Wallace novel that started it all).”
“Wholesomeness gets a bad rap on Broadway these days, usually regarded as the kind of unbearably sweet and inoffensive entertainment that sophisticated theatergoers must endure while taking their conservative grandmas out for a night on the town. But Big Fish, the new musical that tattoos its heart on its arm, displays no fear in plopping its unabashed wholesomeness right in your lap. Its spirit is steeped in Rodgers and Hammerstein decency that propels an evening that’s adventurous, romantic and, yeah, kinda hip.”
The reviews for The Addams Family are in…and the critics were nonplussed that a production starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth could fail so completely. Lacking memorable songs and containing humorless jokes, buzz about the show was slightly on the negative side before opening, but ouch! Just read what they had to say:
New York Times Review
Imagine, if you dare, the agonies of the talented people trapped inside the collapsing tomb called “The Addams Family.” Being in this genuinely ghastly musical — which opened Thursday night at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater and stars a shamefully squandered Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth — must feel like going to a Halloween party in a strait-jacket or a suit of armor. Sure, you make a flashy (if obvious) first impression. But then you’re stuck in the darn thing for the rest of the night, and it’s really, really uncomfortable. Why, you can barely move, and a strangled voice inside you keeps gasping, “He-e-e-lp! Get me out of here!”… A tepid goulash of vaudeville song-and-dance routines, Borscht Belt jokes, stingless sitcom zingers and homey romantic plotlines that were mossy in the age of “Father Knows Best,” “The Addams Family” is most distinctive for its wholesale inability to hold on to a consistent tone or an internal logic. Read the full review.
Wall Street Journal Review
If you’re a New Yorker with children, or if you’re bringing the family to Manhattan this summer, you’ll have to go to “The Addams Family.” It won’t kill you. You’ll laugh a lot, though never during the unmemorable songs, which are supposed to be funny but aren’t. You’re more than likely to spend a considerable part of the evening wondering how much the set cost. And as you depart the theater, you’ll probably catch yourself wondering whether it was really, truly worth it to take your kids to a goodish musical whose tickets are so expensive that you can buy an iPad for less than the price of four orchestra seats. Read the full review.
“The Addams Family” — the 1960s sitcom, that is — was famously kooky, spooky and altogether ooky. The new Broadway musical, based not on the sitcom but on assorted one-panel cartoons drawn over the years by the New Yorker’s Charles Addams, is kooky but not spooky or ooky; nor is it neat, sweet or petite (as the song goes). What this “Addams Family” has is the gloweringly perfect Nathan Lane, who gamely thrusts Gomez’s rapier at anything — or any joke — that moves. But $16.5 million has brought forth an ill-formed one-dimensional cartoon with lines and shading not quite inked in. Read the full review.
Hollywood Reporter Review
Bottom Line: Even the talents of Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth can’t make this musical adaptation of the familiar property more than just ho-hum. Read the full review.
The Faster Times Review
Everything about the beginning of “The Addams Family: A New Musical”…promises a familiar, funny, even exciting night at the theater. Why, I wondered, did this terrific show get such terrible word-of-mouth? As “The Addams Family” progressed, however, my reaction changed. I experienced what might be called the six stages of musical mortification: excitement, expectation, impatience, disbelief, distraction, disappointment. When, shortly after the beginning of Act II, Uncle Fester asks the audience directly “What happens now? Can this be repaired? Or do you all leave in an hour feeling vaguely depressed?” he was not just talking about the complications in the story up to that point. Unintentionally or as an inside joke, he was also referring to the musical itself. Read the full review.
Do you think the show deserved to get so exhaustively panned?
Producers just announced an amazing creative team for The Addams Family, the new Broadway musical based on Charles Addams’ cartoons, which is set to open at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on April 8, 2010.
They include puppeteer Basil Twist (Arias with a Twist), lighting designer Natasha Katz (The Coast of Utopia and Aida), sound designer Acme Sound Partners (In the Heights), music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Company), orchestrator Larry Hochman (Spamalot), dance arranger August Eriksmoen (Memphis), hair designer Tom Watson (Wicked), make-up designer Angelina Avallone (The Little Mermaid), special effects designer Greg Meeh (Spamalot), fight director Rick Sordelet (The Lion King), associate director Heidi Miami Marshall and production supervisor Beverley Randolph.
The Addams Family has a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), direction and design by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter, Satyagraha) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Next to Normal, Jersey Boys).
Starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia, the musical features Terrence Mann as Mal Beineke, Carolee Carmello as Alice Beineke, Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, Jackie Hoffman as Grandmama, Zachary James as Lurch, Adam Riegler as Pugsley, Wesley Taylor as Lucas Beineke and Krysta Rodriguez as Wednesday.
I can’t wait for this show!
I know I am.
The new musical The Addams Family, based on the characters that made Charles Addams famous, will officially open at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on April 8, 2010. Previews begin March 4, 2010 following the show’s out-of-town run in Chicago (which begins on November 13, 2009).
Starring Nathan Lane as Gomez, Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, Terrence Mann as Mal Beineke, Carolee Carmello as Alice Beineke, Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester, Jackie Hoffman as Grandmama, Zachary James as Lurch, Adam Riegler as Pugsley, Wesley Taylor as Lucas Beineke and Krysta Rodriguez as Wednesday, this Stuart Oken, Roy Furman, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions produced show is getting a lot of pre-opening attention.
The Addams Family features a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), direction and design by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter, The Metropolitan Opera’s Satyagraha) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Next to Normal, Jersey Boys).
Seriously – with all of those names involved and some of the most darkly quirky characters of all time … I don’t know how this show could possibly go wrong.
For more information on The Addams Family, visit www.theaddamsfamilymusical.com