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 (, a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

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The Reviews for Doctor Zhivago are In…

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

The reviews for Doctor Zhivago are in, and this new Les Misérables wannabe may lack great music, lyrics, dialogue, and overall storytelling, but hey, at least the gunfire effects are realistic.  Loosely based on the Boris Pasternak novel and more closely based on the 1965 movie, this new musical tells of a love story in an epic era of revolution and war in early 20th-century Russia.  The trouble is – there’s a lot to sell and the critics don’t buy any of it.  The dialogue and lyrics feel uninspired and generic, the seemingly borrowed music feels plodding and unimaginative, and there are no standout performances to speak of (understandable with such lackluster material).  Unfortunately, one of the more anticipated new musicals of the season has gone from a “can’t wait to see” in conception to an “avoid at all costs” in production.



“Doctor Zhivago,” the endless Boris Pasternak novel familiar to most of us from the endless David Lean movie, has been resurrected for dramatic purposes once again, as a musical that opened at the Broadway Theater on Tuesday night. The verdict: Um, is it over yet? Hold your fire, Russophiles and cinephiles. … 




Based on a sweeping historical novel crammed with characters and incident, “Doctor Zhivago” follows the fortunes of a heroic man with a divided heart across decades of turmoil and revolution, as he is hounded by a self-righteous upholder of justice. Sounds a little like “Les Misérables,” non? But we already have … 




Can we please get this straight, Broadway? Sprawling European novels do not make great musicals. Sorry, “Les Miz” partisans and “Phantomaniacs,” but whatever the virtues of those shows — and they are probably the best of the genre — they are mere patches on the originals. How could they not be? When you’re … 




Currently playing on Broadway is a spectacular production of a lavish musical based on a classic novel, featuring doomed lovers and set during the tumultuous events of a historical revolution. Regrettably for the producers of the new “Doctor Zhivago,” that musical is “Les Miserables.” The specter of that earlier … 




Broadway’s “Doctor Zhivago” is an epic miss. Based on the acclaimed Boris Pasternak novel, this miscalibrated musical is yet another attempt to bottle page-to-stage lightning a la “Les Miserables.” But electricity doesn’t zap. Not much does in this nearly three-hour show, which has been in the works for almost … 


The Reviews for Cinderella are In…

The reviews are in for the new adaptation of Cinderella, now playing at the Broadway Theater, and though critics found the new adaptation by Douglas Carter Beane a bit heavy-handed, they universally felt director Mark Brokaw successfully kept all in check, maintaining the old-fashioned integrity of the original story and pulling together a fabulous cast of talented folks including Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana, who sizzle in the lead roles. But the most excited members of the audience were not the critics, but the little girls and moms who squealed with delight at every magic trick, gorgeous gown and fairy tale kiss, not to mention the tiaras and other merchandise available for purchase in the lobby. If pre-opening sales and audience reception are any indication of run time, this show, even with with its lavish costume and special effect budget, is likely to recoup in no time at all and run happily ever after.


“This ‘Cinderella’ wants to be reassuringly old-fashioned and refreshingly irreverent, sentimental and snarky, sincere and ironic, all at once…for a show that’s hawking T-shirts that read ‘I can be whatever I want to be’ (a Hammerstein lyric), it doesn’t seem to know quite what that is….The keynote songs from the original have been retained. And anyone who swooned however many decades ago over ‘Ten Minutes Ago,’ the prince and Cindy’s musical equivalent to Romeo and Juliet’s ‘palmers’ kiss’ scene, will find that it is sung quite fetchingly here. But a lot has been added and deleted….The silver-voiced Ms. Osnes seems to believe unequivocally in her character, which is winning in its own way but doesn’t quite match up with Mr. Fontana….The showstoppers in this version aren’t the songs so much as those instant costume changes from rags to riches by our girl Cindy.”
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“What kind of fairy tale is this? In the hands of playwright Douglas Carter Beane, a quite fine one actually…His script crackles with sweetness and freshness, combining a little ‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’ with some ‘Les Miserables.’…The second half action sags a little as the creators try to shoehorn in as many songs as possible, but there’s no denying this charming, witty adaptation…Director Mark Brokaw gets high marks for juggling a lot of dancing, special effects, heavy scenery and top-notch singing, all in service of a quirky, yet heart filled take on the classic story. They’re helped by a first-rate cast, led by Laura Osnes, who one suspects was born to play a princess. She’s so naturally earnest and sweet than she barely has to act…Beane has taken so many liberties with the classic story that you may not always know where the story is going, a big feat for such a classic tale…For the kids, there is pure magic. Cinderella’s gowns appear with the best Broadway sorcery, a fox and a raccoon become footmen, the horse-drawn carriage appears as if we were in a Vegas magic show and a giant tree monster is slayed.”

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“It’s a relief to see a show that softens its revisionist impulses within a warm embrace of sugar-frosted tradition. Reworked for Broadway from its bones as an original 1957 television musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella gets off to a halting start and takes some questionable detours. But this pleasurable confection overcomes its conceptual missteps with old-fashioned stagecraft, enchanting design elements, smooth direction and choreography, and most of all, winning contributions from an ideally cast ensemble….The principal architect of this latest overhaul is Douglas Carter Beane, whose book is paradoxically its shakiest element…Thankfully, the classic Charles Perrault tale proves indestructible enough to withstand the meddling. The quintessential element that the production gets resoundingly right is the chemistry between downtrodden Cinderella (Laura Osnes) and her lovestruck Prince (Santino Fontana)…But perhaps equally important is the romantic power of the music….The feeling remains that, much like the glass slipper on all those wannabe princesses, the material is an imperfect fit for Beane’s snappy irreverence. But under the gently guiding hand of director Brokaw, this Cinderella makeover nonetheless has enough magic on tap to deliver crowd-pleasing family entertainment.”

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“Watch out, ‘Wicked’ witches, here comes ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,’ a heavyweight contender for those precious audiences of little girls who attend the theater in princess gowns and glittery tiaras – faithful theatergoers who make regular pilgrimages to their beloved shows and get their mothers to buy them lotsa stuff at intermission. Stage treatments of this classic 1957 made-for-TV musical starring Julie Andrews are common enough. But with additional songs and a witty new adaptation by Douglas Carter Beane, this show counts as a legit Broadway premiere….Helmer Mark Brokaw…has cast this show shrewdly, with actors who can sing, get their laughs, and in one crucial case especially, even dance. That triple threat is Osnes, the brave little trouper who made ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ bearable. While her light soprano gives sweet voice to Ella [Cinderella’s name in this version], Osnes’ acting chops and dancing skills make her as lovely to watch as she is to listen to. As her Prince (here called Topher), Fontana may not be as dashing as the dragon slayer of fairy-tale legend, but he’s certainly cute and funny – and limber enough to sing and move and look charming at the same time, an impossible task for many a leading man…The cheeky humor of Beane’s book comes from imposing modern sensibilities (and contemporary lingo) on timeless storybook figures…Cinderella has become a secondary character in a story about a guy who mans up and resolves his identity crisis.”

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