Reviews for A Beautiful Noise are In…

Will Swenson as Neil Diamond in the new musical “A Beautiful Noise” at the Broadhurst Theater in Manhattan. Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Critics found A Beautiful Noise noisome. Bio jukebox musicals have succeeded in the past because of the interesting lives of the source (Beautiful: A Carole King Musical), phenomenal star performances (Tina – The Tina Turner Musical) and/or creative storytelling and weaving of the songs into the story (Jersey Boys). A Beautiful Noise seems to have struck out on all counts; despite a fantastic song list, the show stands as proof that music and sequins are not enough to make for good musical theater.

The New York Times Review of A Beautiful Noise

“A Beautiful Noise, the Neil Diamond Musical,” [is an] ambitious, often rousing, occasionally heavy-handed biographical show. … Steven Hoggett’s subtle choreography, which to its credit looks like nothing else on Broadway right now: The movement is fluidly, organically incorporated into the scenes, rather than awkwardly grafted onto them. … It all looks and sounds great, but the clock is ticking — therapy! — and we are no closer to understanding the real Neil. … [Then] the show finally makes the essential connection between Diamond’s artistry and his roots, including his Jewishness. By that point it feels rushed and not quite earned, not to mention a little too nakedly sentimental. And yet, the beating heart of “A Beautiful Noise” is that sequence, featuring “Brooklyn Roads” and “America” leading into “Shilo,” which becomes Diamond’s Rosebud and is performed with almost unbearable grace by the ensemble member Jordan Dobson. Never mind: naked sentimentality is just fine.

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New York Post Review of A Beautiful Noise

Good times never seemed so dull. So dull. So dull. So dull. … But “A Beautiful Noise” is one off-key moment after another. … Jacoby summons a superstar rocker energy — even retired and in a boring gray sweater — that Swenson cannot muster. Usually it’s the lead performances that redeem and lift these soulless musician MadLib shows. Unfortunately, Swenson makes no impression and we’re left feeling as though we got to know nothing about the inner life of a prolific and ingenious singer-songwriter. “A Beautiful Noise” ends with a second singalong of “Sweet Caroline” — an experience you can get every single night at any bar in New York that serves beer. And it’s there, not on Broadway, where you’ll really feel Diamond’s legacy reaching out, touching me, touching you.

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Deadline Review of A Beautiful Noise

With a team of immensely talented Broadway veterans both on stage and behind the scenes [A Beautiful Noise] so relies on overused formula and tired tropes that it can’t even breathe life into some of the most irresistible pop songs of the last half-century. … A Beautiful Noise – The Neil Diamond Musical is, alas, neither bold nor, in any meaningful way, new. A by-the-numbers jukebox bio-musical that lacks the necessary galvanizing, dramatically intriguing central force of a Tina Turner (or a forget-everything-else-and-just-watch-the-star performance of Tina‘s Adrienne Warren), Beautiful Noise is a lackluster affair despite its countless sequins. … A Beautiful Noise could have used some dramatic stakes from the get-go.

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TimeOut Review of A Beautiful Noise

[I]n its biggest numbers it resembles an old-school Vegas-style impersonation show, recreating concert moments for the benefit of an audience that is happy to embark on a musical nostalgia trip. … [B]ook writer Anthony McCarten, a specialist in biodrama—he wrote the screenplays for The Theory of Everything and Bohemian Rhapsody, and his Warhol-Basquiat play The Collaboration is also opening on Broadway this month—is not content to “Cherry, Cherry”–pick his way through the catalog. Instead, his setting gives us a pair of Diamonds. … This is a smart approach, and an ambitiously dark one: Diamond’s rise to riches and fame is always shadowed by the chagrin of his later self, who watches from the sidelines as though in a reverse production of Follies. … The production numbers are buttressed by Emilio Sosa’s flashy costumes and Stephen Hoggett’s groovy, springy choreography, and the ensemble is well-served throughout. … In the end, A Beautiful Noise can’t overcome the central challenge of being a Neil Diamond biomusical, which is that Diamond’s life has not been, in and of itself, especially dramatic. … The therapeutic framing notwithstanding, what we get here is less a story than a retrospective sequence of events, or perhaps events of sequins. 

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Wall Street Journal Review of A Beautiful Noise

Giving a fair assessment of a jukebox musical is not easy when you find yourself intermittently wanting to pull the plug. “A Beautiful Noise, the Neil Diamond Musical” will appeal primarily to the many admirers of Mr. Diamond’s songbook. Growing up in the 1970s, I certainly registered Mr. Diamond’s easy-listening pop-rock hits in my consciousness, but I never warmed to them. … There are certainly some infectious sing-along numbers, notably “Sweet Caroline.” And Mr. Diamond had an early knack for jaunty (if derivative) 1960s guitar-driven pop, evinced by the smash “I’m a Believer,” which the Monkees made famous. But this smoothly produced show’s presentation of his semi-symphonic rock and sentimental balladry failed to convert me. I’m still not a believer.

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