Archive for Sebastian Arcelus
The reviews for Elf are in and the critics were largely nonplussed. Everyone agrees that though the actors give it a valiant effort, Sebastian Arcelus just can’t quite fill Will Ferrel’s shoes and the rest of the cast simply isn’t given much to work with. They do what they can with it though, the choreography is a fun Broadway throwback and the script stays true to the movie, with a couple of fun additions. The music is forgettable, but what were you expecting? It’s a holiday show – on par with White Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas – created for those who have made it a tradition to see such shows this time of year. So if you’re looking for silly holiday fun…Elf just might fit the ticket. If you’re looking for a really fantastic new musical, seems you may want to look elsewhere.
Here’s what the critics had to say:
Happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids and plenty smart for adults…Nicholaw’s staging successfully retains the many charms of the movie, and his choreography is filled with delightful touches…Librettists Thomas Meehan (The Producers) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) retain the spirit and cheer of the film while cannily punching it up…The efforts of Nicholaw, Meehan and Martin compensate for a less-than-overwhelming score from Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin; their work is only slightly better than on their earlier attempt, The Wedding Singer. Read the full review
The New York Times
The latest seasonal stocking stuffer and pocket picker…tinseled in synthetic sentiment, performed with a cheer that borders on mania, and instantly forgettable…The score is generic, true, but it is also polished, hummable-tune laden and professional. Mr. Beguelin’s lyrics, at their best, have a bright comic zest and are well-matched to Mr. Sklar’s gently swinging music…The director, Casey Nicholaw, coaxes fine work from the performers, who do their chores with unfailing commitment. Read the full review
New York Post
A giant spoonful of uncut sugar…The screen Buddy was played by Will Ferrell, who brings a naughty, slightly sleazy quality to everything he does. Here, we get the sunny, milquetoast Sebastian Arcelus. He’s appealing and works very hard, but lacks the gleefully anarchic strain that made Ferrell’s Buddy such a cathartic force of nature. But then, everything has been toned down several notches. Book writers Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Thomas Meehan (Hairspray, The Producers) can’t seem to tell the difference between childlike and childish. It’s all very tasteful and safe, when the show should conjure semi-lawless energy…Luckily, the main cast members are easy to like…Too bad they all feel underused. Read the full review
A surprisingly diverting confection that’s a sleigh-length ahead of recent seasonal fare on the Great White Way…Relative newcomer Sebastian Arcelus has the right blend of antic innocence for the role, though his modest singing voice and lower wattage suggest he’s less an above-the-title leading man than an apt choice for a made-for-DVD Elf sequel. Composer Matthew Sklar and lyricist Chad Beguelin…offer a stockingful of pleasantly melodic tunes…Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin’s book remains mostly faithful to the movie while adding a few humorous modern flourishes…A modest show with modest charms, but director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw keeps the production humming along. Read the full review
Director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw and his game, nimble cast allow us to enjoy the ride, however predictable. The players aren’t helped much by the formulaic songs of Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin’s libretto isn’t long on surprises, either — there are the usual cheeky pop-culture references and ingratiating nods to tourists and locals — but it provides some easy, breezy laughs. Read the full review
The Hollywood Reporter
Flavorless candy…A pedestrian show that broadens the material to be more specifically kid-friendly, rendering it innocuous in the process…Nicholaw has a better feel for period styles than he does for contemporary cute, and the writers struggle to make the mostly second-hand jokes land. Their efforts are given little support by a mediocre score…With few exceptions, the sound-alike numbers blend into one, and the lethargic dance interludes provide minimal elevation. It’s all pleasant, but generic…The cast does what it can with the wan material. Read the full review
Time Out New York
Fair-to-middling musical…It is not the fault of this Elf’s star, the hardworking Sebastian Arcelus, that he lacks Ferrell’s unique earnest-ironic comic charisma; but without it, Buddy is just an overeager naïf in green tights, and the plot’s corn doesn’t pop. Directed and choreographed with routinized showbiz gumption by Casey Nicholaw, the show provides little chance for anyone to shine…Earns dutiful applause but no Christmas cheers. Read the full review
Who needs Will Ferrel?…[Elf] stands on its own with great sets and design, a funny adapted script and a collection of hardworking actors…a tight, polished, expensive-looking affair that has enough jokes for adults and enough special effects for kids. And The Rockettes have some serious competition this Christmas season…Nicholaw’s choreography is a throwback to classic Broadway, sometimes with a twist. Read the full review
Parents hoping to avoid trendy seasonal cynicism may be tempted to lay out $137 apiece for orchestra seats. Be warned: Your children over 8 years old will never forgive you. The Magic Flute at the Met is sterner stuff, no joke…The mischievous wit for which Thomas Meehan (The Producers and Hairspray) is known seems to have been rubbed too smooth by his co-writer, Bob Martin…the tunes are instantly forgettable and you can predict every rhyme a mile away…Casey Nicholaw, the director-choreographer who brought a fine retro stylishness to “Drowsy Chaperone,” does well here with a limited company…The dancing hardly breaks new ground, but at least the seamless non-stop busyness on stage diverts us from the gooey goings-on. Read the full review
Too sweet and a big mess…too much of the show is overly familiar…Casey Nicholaw’s direction and choreography aren’t particularly fresh…Even the design elements are halfhearted. The usually imaginative David Rockwell has provided cheap-looking sets for this flimsy Christmas card…Most of the songs sound like every Christmas tune you’ve ever heard. It’s only when they are called upon to depict an emotion other than holiday cheer that they really cook. Read the full review
Have you seen the show? What did you think?
There’s been lots of news this last week. Here are the big items:
West Side Story and Promises, Promises have just announced that they will close on Broadway on January 2, after playing 748 and 291 performances, respectively. West Side Story has had quite the run – an admirable revival that played to positive reviews and celebrated great attendance throughout. Promises, Promises, which opened to very poor reviews, ended up pulling in many more patrons than anyone thought after Sean Penn’s Tony Award appearance (and on-screen heterosexual kiss with his co-star, Kristin Chenoweth). The closing comes soon after announcements that Kate Finneran, who received much critical acclaim and a Tony Award for her performance in the show, would be departing the production.
Fela! will also be closing its doors on January 2, after a bit of celebrity casting in the role of Fela’s mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Pop star Patti LaBelle has stepped into the role created by Lillias White and will continue until the show’s final performance in January.
Elf has now been fully cast and will star Sebastian Arcelus (Jersey Boys, Wicked, Rent) opposite Amy Spanger (Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer) alongside an ensemble of big name stars, including: Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone, Mamma Mia!), Mark Jacoby (Sweeney Todd, Show Boat), George Wendt (“Cheers,” Hairspray), Matthew Gumley (Addams Family), Valerie Wright (Steel Pier), Michael McCormick (Curtains) and Michael Mandell (Big River).
The biggest casting excitement is over that of the star-studded Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which includes the likes of de’Adre Aziza, Laura Benanti, Danny Burstein, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mary Beth Peil, Sherie Rene Scott and now Justin Guarini. If star power is worth anything, this show will bring in the crowds. Whether they’ll recoup with the size of the checks they’ve got to be writing for this cast is another question altogether…
As to casting changes, American Idol winner Jordan Sparks has joined the cast of In the Heights and gave a stunning rendition of “Breathe” at this year’s Broadway on Broadway. Constantine Maroulis left Broadway’s Rock of Ages to tour with the production, and has been replaced with Broadway newcomer Joey Taranto. Ryan Jesse will be stepping into the role Sebastian Arcelus is vacating in Jersey Boys on October 12, but most everyone else appears to be staying put.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Elf and Priscilla Queen of the Desert all had premiere performances this last week, the first on Good Morning America and the other two at this year’s Broadway on Broadway. Check out the songs below. What do you think?
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Priscilla: Queen of the Desert
Become a Producer
And then there’s a new category of news – Ken Davenport is producing Godspell on Broadway and is inviting anyone with $1,000 to help him do so. It’s what he’s calling “the first ever community produced Broadway musical.” Shares are available at $100 a pop, with a minimum purchase of 10. For more information or to become a producer, go to www.peopleofgodspell.com.
He’s not the only actor returning to a role he played on Broadway years ago – John Dossett (Gypsy, Ragtime) will be returning to the role of Sam Carmichael in Broadway’s Mamma Mia! on September 22. He will be joined by Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (Drowsy Chaperone, Young Frankenstein, 42nd Street), who’ll be taking over the role of Donna Sheridan.
But it’s not all cast reunions – there’s also a Broadway debut – Dee Roscioli, who starred in the Chicago production of Wicked, will join the cast of the Broadway production as Elphaba starting July 21.