Archive for Chaplin
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The reviews for Chaplin are in…and they aren’t too sunny. Filled with clichés, the critics are not finding much good in this take on the little tramp. With unmemorable music and tiresome dance numbers, even the talents of relative newcomer Rob McClure can’t escape the show’s terrible writing unscathed; this is one show that’ll have to rely on its fans to get it through, cause these reviews sure aren’t going to help…
See for yourself:
NEW YORK TIMES
“This sour-smell-of-success story, which features songs by Christopher Curtis and a book by Mr. Curtis and Thomas Meehan, is steeped in a sense that Chaplin the person, as opposed to Chaplin the fabled silent comedian, has gone missing in action, devoured by a swarm of man-eating clichés….“Chaplin: The Musical” takes itself very seriously as it delivers the unsurprising news that a clown cries….The lens through which we see most of “Chaplin,” is blurred, as if with Vaseline….Yet a stolidly conventional heart beats beneath these airy trappings: a by-the-book rags-to-riches-to-loneliness saga, underscored by vaporous music (which includes, I swear, celestial choruses of “aahs”) and vaguely period dances that go on forever without going anywhere.”
“The most treacherous part of producing a biomusical about an iconic performer is finding an actor who can convincingly handle the role. The producers of “Chaplin” — this fall’s first Broadway offering — have passed that difficult test, with relative newcomer Rob McClure proving a small wonder as the Little Tramp. But they have come up all thumbs, alas, in the writing and staging departments. In the hands of composer-lyricist Chris Curtis (who has penned theme songs for the Discovery Channel) and Curtis’ co-librettist Tom Meehan (“Annie,” “The Producers”), Chaplin’s remarkable life veers into cliche.”
AM NEW YORK
“You’ve probably seen worse musicals than “Chaplin,” a forgettable biography of Charlie Chaplin. But how did this slow-paced and sentimental musical, which has the taste of a cup of coffee mixed with a dozen packets of sugar, make it to Broadway? The songs of Christopher Curtis – who has previously written theme songs for the Discovery Channel – are occasionally tuneful but mostly tacky. Still, they are far better than the show’s melodramatic and strange book.”
“Despite an enigmatic, career-making performance from Rob McClure in the title role, an earnest turn from Wayne Alan Wilcox as his tag-along brother Sydney, and an engaging performance from Erin Mackey as Chaplin’s late-in-life love Oona, “Chaplin” is a musical where the material is just not up to the complexity of its enigmatic subject. It’s impossible to believe that the creator of such masterpieces as “Modern Times” and “The Gold Rush” would express himself in such prosaic, cliched terms.”
“It’s hard to know where to begin with “Chaplin,” the dismally dull musical by Christopher Curtis (book, music, lyrics), with an assist from Thomas Meehan (book), based on the life of perhaps the cinema’s finest auteur, Charlie Chaplin. The most the writing aspires to is mediocrity, which it rarely if ever achieves, something Warren Carlyle’s busy direction and choreography can’t disguise. The one performance of note comes from the extremely gifted Rob McClure in the title role, but the show’s relentless shopworn sentimentality erodes even his fine work. Nobody escapes “Chaplin” unscathed.”
Now that this season is officially over, we thought it worth taking a look at the shows who have announced Broadway runs for the 2012-13 season.
First up is an adaptation of Bring It On with music by Tom Kit of Next to Normal and Lin-Manuel Miranda of In the Heights. This show has been touring the country after opening to so-so reviews in Los Angeles, making changes in preparation for its Broadway run. Likened to Lysistrata Jones, which only enjoyed a limited run on Broadway and Legally Blonde, a film adaptation that lived a much longer Broadway life, the show is hoping to avoid the pitfalls other recent film adaptations, like Leap of Faith, have seen. Can the stage version find more depth than the silly film it was based on? We’ll just have to wait and see…
And then we have Ever After, another film adaptation with book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich, who you might know because of the songs “Taylor the Latte Boy,” made famous by Kristin Chenoweth, and “Alto’s Lament,” a song about an alto who longs to sing the melody. The musical was first set to open in San Francisco in 2009, but was indefinitely postponed for undisclosed reasons. It’s now set to hit Broadway in the 2012-13 season, directed by Kathleen Marshall, who’s got three Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards in her den and nominations for direction and choreography for this season’s Nice Work if You Can Get It. Think the talent be enough to turn the movie into a solid musical? And will it be too similar to another show eyeing a Broadway run…
Cinderella, by Rodgers and Hammerstein, which was originally telecast in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, but never enjoyed a Broadway run, is getting a rewrite by Douglas Carter Beane of Xanadu and headed to Broadway next spring. Starring Laura Osnes, nominated for her portrayal of Bonnie in this season’s Bonnie & Clyde, the show has blockbuster promise. Will it play as well on stage as it did on television? We can only hope.
And then there’s a brand new musical – Chaplin – based on the silent film star adored and emulated by so many. Directed by Warren Carlyle, who was nominated for Drama Desk Awards for his direction of Finian’s Rainbow in 2009 and written by Christopher Curtis, a pianist who wrote the theme song to the film “The Break,” and Thomas Meehan, the Tony Award-winner who penned The Producers, Annie and Hairspray, many are excited to see something new on the menu of offerings.
One of Meehan’s best known hits, Annie, is also headed back to the Great White Way. The show’s original run in 1997 enjoyed an incredible 2,377 performances, will the new revival, directed by James Lapine of Into the Woods, Passion and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, do even better?
Another revival of a big hit is headed to Broadway. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, whose original run won five Tony Awards and had a cast starring Betty Buckley and featuring George Rose, Cleo Laine, John Herrera, Howard McGillin, Patti Cohenour, Jana Schneider, who were all nominated for 1986 Tony Awards for their performances, as well as Donna Murphy, Judy Kuhn and Rob Marshall who would all go on to celebrated careers in the theatre. This will be the show’s first Broadway revival and fans couldn’t be more thrilled to see if return. Chita Rivera is set to star and Scott Ellis to direct.
The final musical on the docket as of this writing is an international transfer of Rebecca, which premiered in Vienna, Austria in 2006 and ran for three years and has since been mounted in Finland, Japan and elsewhere. Set to hit Broadway in the fall of 2012 starring Karen Mason, Howard McGillin, James Barbour, Donna English, Nick Wyman, Henry Stram and co-directed by Michael Blakemore and Francesca Zambello, the story made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s film has played very well to audiences elsewhere. What will Americans make of it?
An exciting mix of revivals, new works and adaptations await us in 2012-13 and more shows will be announced soon. What are you most excited about seeing next season?