Archive for Kelli O’Hara
The reviews for Bridges of Madison County are in, and lovers of romance can rejoice! The new musical, based on the 1992 bestseller by Robert James Waller, is every bit as heart-melting and tear-inducing as the 1995 film starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Though the story is well-known to most, the strong performances by stars Kelli O’Hara (Francesca) and Steven Pasquale (Robert) make the drama seem fresh and brand new. The diverse, operatic score by the acclaimed Jason Robert Brown is beautiful and engaging, transporting audiences to the corn fields of Iowa and enveloping all in the emotion of the leading lovers. If there’s one complaint, it’s that Marsha Norman’s script doesn’t quite match the rest of the glory on stage. It makes little difference, though — those seeking warmth on a cold NYC evening would do well to catch Bridges of Madison County.
NEW YORK TIMES
““Iowa.” When Kelli O’Hara sings that word, a plain place name becomes a prism of rippling ambivalence. Portraying an Italian war bride transplanted to the middle of America, Ms. O’Hara finds a breathtaking sweep of feelings within the iteration of those three small syllables. “Iowa,” she sings, in the number that begins the new musical The Bridges of Madison County, and you hear both the heady hope of liberation and the hopeless acceptance of captivity. And suddenly, Madison County starts to seem like a far more exciting place to visit than you might have imagined.”
TIME OUT NEW YORK
“My eyes rolled a bit, I must confess, at the prospect of a Broadway musical based on Robert James Waller’s sentimental 1992 bestseller, The Bridges of Madison County (which also inspired a 1995 film with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood). But I must also admit that those same jaded eyes, by the end of the show, had misted up more than once; and judging from the waves of muffled sniffles around me, this was not an uncommon response. Marsha Norman and Jason Robert Brown’s adaptation earns those tears. The musical’s emotion is unapologetically grand, and its love duets have a wide, old-fashioned scope. Directed with spare precision by Bartlett Sher—reunited with his most of his South Pacific design team—it’s a new work that plays like a classic.”
NBC NEW YORK
“The engaging new musical The Bridges of Madison County, now open at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, left me wondering two things. First: Can Kelli O’Hara do anything? And second: Are we so starved for affection we’re willing to give over our hearts to a story that is — sorry, folks! — utterly preposterous? Even after swooning over the book? And sighing over the movie? The answers: Indeed, Kelli O’Hara can do anything, darn near perfectly, including transform herself into a chestnut-haired Italian beauty who, for the better part of two decades, has assumed the role of an Iowa housewife. And, apparently … yes. We are suckers for a good love story, no matter the form, and even when it’s likely we recall the outcome.”
“How do you solve a problem like Francesca, the seemingly virtuous woman who embarks on a torrid affair with a traveling photographer in The Bridges of Madison County? How do you maintain sympathy for an adulterous Italian war bride who finds herself in an Iowa farmhouse in 1965 with a well-meaning former G.I. and two teenage kids? If you’re a movie studio, you cast Meryl Streep and let her work her magic. If you’re a Broadway producer turning Robert James Waller’s best-selling novel into a stage musical, you hire the honey-voiced Kelli O’Hara, who has a credible Italian accent, a feet-on-the-ground maturity, and hints of the footloose ingenue she was playing on stage only a few years ago.”
“The Bridges of Madison County is a ravishingly beautiful musical play based on the phenomenally popular 1992 weeper about a four-day love affair between an Iowa farm wife from Italy and a worldly photographer. In other words, this is unblushing Harlequin Romance-style material bound in top-quality leather. So many intelligent, gifted artists are involved in this adaptation that we wish the objective were deeper than a high-toned bodice ripper with comic-relief detours into conventional Broadway. But Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale, magnificently magnetic as Francesca and Robert, make the ripping feel like real heartbreak. And director Bartlett Sher and his creative team from South Pacific are storytellers who understand the luscious power of simplicity.”
With comedy tailor-made for Matthew Broderick and the delightful Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work if You Can Get It is a tribute to Gershwin and the musicals of his era, with a thin, silly story, wonderful songs and all the mugging a girl could ever want. If you feel musicals tend to be over-the-top and trite, you’ll want to stay far away from this one, but if you find yourself pining for some silly, escapist fun, reviewers agree, this kitschy show might be just what you’re after.
NEW YORK TIMES
“Every now and then, a bubble of pure, tickling charm rises from the artificial froth of “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” the pastiche of a 1920s musical featuring songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Most of this show, which opened on Tuesday night at the Imperial Theater, registers as a shiny, dutiful trickle of jokes and dance numbers performed by talented people who don’t entirely connect with the whimsy of a bygone genre.”
“Kelli O’Hara has admitted that she was a little reluctant at first to sing some of the classic, heavily picked-over Gershwin songs before starting on “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Thankfully that changed when she got to hold a gun.”
“The last time Matthew Broderick headlined a major musical was opposite Nathan Lane in the instant blockbuster The Producers, the 2001 show that ushered in a new age of irreverence on Broadway and scooped up a record 12 Tony Awards. Mel Brooks’ runaway hit was sublime silliness, a giddy valentine to old-time musical theater with nothing on its mind but delirious entertainment. The same could be said of Nice Work If You Can Get It, which brings Broderick back in a disarming ball of fluff that seems tailor-made to fit his droll brand of comedy.”
AM NEW YORK
“Matthew Broderick, who hasn’t enjoyed much success on Broadway since “The Producers” a decade ago, manages to redeem himself in “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” a “new” Gershwin musical also starring Kelli O’Hara and other stage veterans who bring down the house in supporting comedic roles.”
“If you’re not a musical-theater fan, Nice Work If You Can Get It will probably confirm your worst fears about Broadway. The mugging. The wigs. The wheezing one-liners. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes) with a light-as-air book by Joe DiPietro (Memphis), the show uses a screwball love story between a Prohibition-era playboy (Matthew Broderick) and a bootlegger (South Pacific’s Kelli O’Hara) as an excuse for a medley of classic George and Ira Gershwin tunes. It’s as joyfully airheaded and kitschy as a drag show, which should make it a must-see for anyone with a more-is-more stance on sequins.”
Kelli O’Hara, whose performance as Nellie Forbush earned her Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations, returns to the role in the revival of South Pacific currently playing on Broadway.
O’Hara left the performance to welcome her first child, Owen James, to the world.
Laura Osnes (Grease) who played the role during her absence, will step down at O’Hara’s return this evening.
Curtain up on Bye Bye Birdie!
The Broadway revival of Bye Bye Birdie starts previews this evening. The production, which stars Gina Gershon, John Stamos and Nolan Gerard Funk will officially open on October 15 at the brand new Henry Miller’s Theatre.
O’Hara returns to South Pacific!
Another exciting bit of news: Kelli O’Hara, who took a leave of absence to welcome her first child back in March, returns to Broadway’s South Pacific on Oct. 13.
A new Woodstock musical is in the works
Michael Lang, one of the producers of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, is working on a Broadway musical based on his memoir, “The Road to Woodstock.” He’s reaching out some of the surviving artists from Woodstock for possible contributions to the production. No information about a cast or creative team has yet been announced.