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.

Archive for Des McAnuff

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 … 


Debuting Broadway Hopefuls


There are a number of fantastic new musicals opening around the world that we can only hope soon make their way to the Great White Way. None of these shows have officially announced Broadway runs…yet, but boy are folks buzzing about them!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (West End)

A Sam Mendes production starring Douglas Hodge (La Cage Aux Folles, Cyrano) with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Hairspray, Smash), with a book by David Greig (The Bacchae, Tintin In Tibet).

Disney’s The Jungle Book (Chicago)

Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphasis) has re-imagined the animated film and original book by Kipling, with new songs by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, arrangements by Doug Peck and choreography by Christopher Gattelli (Newsies, Godspell, South Pacific).

King Kong (Australia)

The most exciting element of this production is the giant puppet that plays King Kong – the largest ever created for the stage! Directed by Daniel Kramer with a book and lyrics by Craig Lucas (Marry Me A Little, The Light in the Piazza) and music/arrangements by Marius de Vries (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet), with additional contributions by Stephen Pavlovic from Modular People.

Secondhand Lions (Seattle)

A new musical based on the movie of the same name, directed by Scott Schwartz (Jane Eyre), with a book by Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Curtains) and a score by songwriters Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary (First Date).

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Los Angeles)

Inspired by the album from Grammy-winning band The Flaming Lips, this Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar) directed production features glowing LED costumes, projections and a 14-foot robot puppet.


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