Identity crisis renders Anastasia dull, derivative

Sep 05

Identity crisis renders <i>Anastasia</i> dull, derivative

As much as we might like to think that the future of Broadway looks like Hamilton or Hadestown, I'm pretty sure the future looks more like Anastasia, the inconsequential musical based on the 1997 animated film (in turn based on the 1956 movie starring Ingrid Bergman) that is now touring the country. Given how uninspired this show is, the fact that it ran for two years on Broadway is surprising, but perhaps lukewarm rehashes are just what audiences want.

Read More

Carole King and all that is Beautiful

May 30

Carole King and all that is <i>Beautiful</i>

Almost six years ago, a Broadway-bound musical had its world premiere at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, and though there were a few issues, the show looked like a bona fide hit. Sure enough, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical became a smash on Broadway, winning a Tony Award for star Jessie Mueller and continuing to draw a cheering audience more than five years later.

Read More

Not even Oompa Loompas can save this foundering Factory

Apr 18

Not even Oompa Loompas can save this foundering <i>Factory</i>

A golden ticket doesn't buy you much these days – a cut-rate touring musical with chintzy sets, a mediocre score and about as much joy as you'd find in a board meeting about turning wacky movies into boring musicals. You'd be justified in hoping for more from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a new musical re-working of the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl and the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Read More

Hamilton continues to dazzle in new #AndPeggy tour

Feb 22

<i>Hamilton</i> continues to dazzle in new #AndPeggy tour

If anything, the current company – known as the #AndPeggy company – of Hamilton now at the SHN Orpheum Theatre through Sept. 8, is even better than the one we saw at the same theater in 2017. Maybe it's because this company got to perform for three weeks in Puerto Rico with the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, reprising the lead role. Or maybe the Hamilton machine, with productions in New York, Chicago and London and with tours here, Tampa and Cincinnati, has just become so incredibly efficient that it has collected all the best performers in all the land(s).

Read More

Well, well helloooo, Dolly!

Feb 21

Well, well helloooo, <i>Dolly</i>!

The Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! has spawned a national tour with the marvelous Betty Buckley as Dolly, and while the erstwhile star of Cats, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Sunset Boulevard may not be the first person you think of when you think of musical comedy, she attacks the material as a serious actor and delivers a deeply felt performance full of life and love.

Read More

Humans at their best in joyful Come From Away

Jan 10

Humans at their best in joyful <i>Come From Away</i>

Already a long-running hit on Broadway, Come From Away is now making its way around the country. The touring company at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre is extraordinary. A dozen performers play the passengers and the townsfolk with astonishing ease and remarkable versatility with just the shift of an accent or a small bit of costume (designs by Toni-Leslie James).

Read More