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

Archive for Norbert Leo Butz

The Reviews for BIG FISH are In…

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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.”

Read the Full Review

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“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.”

Read the Full Review

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.”

Read the Full Review

BLOOMBERG

“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).”

Read the Full Review

BROADWAY WORLD

“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.”

Read the Full Review

The Reviews for Catch Me If You Can are In…

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

“As befits a lad of the 1960s with a talent for smooth come-ons, Frank Abagnale Jr. prefaces the story of his life with the promise that it will have “more curves than a Playboy bunny.” But as presented in the new musical “Catch Me if You Can,” which opened Sunday night at the Neil Simon Theater, this portrait of the con artist as a young man (portrayed by Aaron Tveit) seems to consist mostly of straight lines, like the kind you use to connect the dots in picture puzzles. “

Click here to read the full “Catch Me If You Can” review.

ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW

“New Broadway shows this spring are lousy with cads. There’s J. Pierrepont Finch in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Harry Brock in “Born Yesterday” and pretty much all the dudes in “That Championship Season.” With the hero of “Catch Me If You Can,” add one more scoundrel.”

Click here to read the full “Catch Me If You Can” review.

VARIETY REVIEW

“In “Catch Me If You Can” — the new musical based on the 2002 Steven Spielberg film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks — teenaged conman Frank Abagnale Jr. recounts his daring escapades in the format of a 1960s TV spectacular; each step in crime is shown as a perky-but-flat variety-show production number. That’s the conceit of the new tuner, and the problem as well. Impressive star performances from Norbert Leo Butz and Aaron Tveit, a lively production, the best sounding new music currently on Broadway — all built around a succession of glossily frenetic, non-compelling production numbers.”

Click here to read the full “Catch Me If You Can” review.

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW

“The Bottom Line: This musical adaptation of the Steven Spielberg film scores on showmanship but shortchanges its lead character. “

Click here to read the full “Catch Me If You Can” review.

NEWSDAY REVIEW

“News that the guys from “Hairspray” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” were making a musical based on the movie “Catch Me If You Can” raised a couple of intriguing — also daunting — questions. How? And why?”

Click here to read the full “Catch Me If You Can” review.

AM NEW YORK REVIEW

“”Catch Me If You Can,” the eagerly anticipated Broadway musical based on the breezy 2002 Leonardo DiCaprio film, is a product of essentially the same creative team behind the mega-hit “Hairspray.” It’s even playing in the same theater as “Hairspray” and shares an early 1960s setting.”

Click here to read the full “Catch Me If You Can” review.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE REVIEW

“The key to turning “Catch Me If You Can” into a Broadway musical was within the very title of the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie that served as the source. It encapsulates the thrill of the chase, a quality sadly lacking in the show that opened Sunday night at the Neil Simon Theatre. And it conveys the slippery charm of the lovable trickster rogue — in this case, Frank Abagnale Jr., the youthful master forger of those predigital swinging ’60s, a guy who fooled banks and airlines but was eventually brought down by his own need for love.”

Click here to read the full “Catch Me If You Can” review.

Bye Bye “Birdie,” Hello New Work and New Horizons

Bye Bye “Birdie”

The universally panned production of Bye Bye Birdie, starring John Stamos and Gina Gershon, closed on Broadway on Jan 24 after playing 117 performances. Though selling at 90% capacity, producers decided the show’s success would dwindle upon the departure of its stars and so closed as planned, rather than extending its run.

Hello New Work

Wildhorn’s Wonderland

An exciting new musical that’s been getting lots of buzz in the social media sphere Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel, The Civil War) and Jack Murphy’s (The Civil War) Wonderland, a new take on Lewis Carol’s “Alice in Wonderland.” The show opened on Jan 20 at the Alley Theatre in Houston.

The cast includes a lot of Broadway names, including Janet Dacal (In the Heights, Good Vibrations), Jose Llana (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Karen Mason (Sunset Boulevard, Mamma Mia!), Darren Ritchie (Dracula: The Musical), Nikki Snelson (Legally Blonde), Ed Staudenmayer (Forbidden Broadway) and Tad Wilson (Rock of Ages).

This show definitely has Broadway aspirations, though no dates or official plans have yet been announced. Cross your fingers that its sooner rather than later.

Duncan Sheik’s The Whisper House

Spring Awakening‘s Dunkan Sheik celebrated the world premiere of Whisper House, which opened Jan. 21 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The show, which features a hauntingly beautiful score, has hopes of making it to Broadway sometime in the next couple of years.

The Pee Wee Herman Show

Another show with Broadway aims is the Pee Wee Herman Show, which opened on Jan 20 at the Los Angeles’ Club Nokia @ L.A. LIVE. Paul Reubens stars the title role he created back in the 1980s and looks to be having just as much fun today as he did back then. Though more a show with music than a musical, I couldn’t not include it on the blog here. I mean, it’s Pee Wee Herman!

A Spice Girls Musical?

Yep. Pee Wee Herman isn’t the only pop-culture icon to be brought to the stage. Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer is turning her attention to a jukebox musical that will use the songs (and we can only hope, the personalities) of that crazy English girl-group of the 90s – the Spice Girls.

New Horizons

Original Foursome will Make their Broadway Debuts with Million Dollar Quartet

The original foursome from the Chicago production of the musical Million Dollar Quartet, Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Levi Kreis and Rob Lyons, will reprise their roles in the show’s Broadway premiere, all making their Broadway premieres. They will be joined by two Broadway veterans: Hunter Foster (Urinetown, Little Shop of Horrors) and Elizabeth Stanley (Cry-Baby, Company).

Showtime to Document the Process of Taking a Musical from Concept to Broadway

If you’ve kept up with the blog here, you know that Speilberg is producing a new Showtime series tracing the evolution of a new musical.

Composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can) were previously announced as being on board, and now a writer has surfaced – Theresa Rebeck – the author who penned the recent off-Broadway hit the Understudy and has a fair number of TV shows under her belt.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see this show get off the ground, and if the success of Glee and the long string of casting shows series, I’m not the only one that’ll be eating it up.

Norbert Leo Butz on TV

Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wicked, The Last Five Years) is starring as Rowdy Kaiser on ABC’s “The Deep End,” a new drama series about five first-year lawyers starting out at a top firm. If you missed last week’s premiere – check it out on ABC’s website.

Norbert Leo Butz’ Sister Murdered in Possible Hate Crime

Norbert Leo Butz’ sister, Teresa Butz, was killed and her partner severely wounded early Sunday by a man who attacked them as they slept in their home. A detective has confirmed that Teresa sacrificed herself to save her fiancée’s life during the attack. The murder is being investigated as a possible hate crime and the murderer is still at large, though police remain confident of apprehending her killer.

Norbert Leo Butz has been out of town working on the Broadway-bound Catch Me If You Can at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. The production cancelled its preview performances in deference to his family emergency.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Butz family and to Miss Butz’ fiancée.

Psst…Video previews of Catch Me if You Can, the musical

Catch me if you can

Found some footage of the new Catch Me if You Can musical on youtube and just had to share!

Aaron Tveit as Frank Abagnale, Jr

Norbert Leo Butz as Carl Hanrady

Aaron Tveit and Tom Wopat

What do you think?

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