Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mixed Reviews Tire The Drowsy Chaperone


Mixed Reviews Tire The Drowsy Chaperone

In the stunner of the season, The Drowsy Chaperone isn't quite the darling that advance buzz would have suggested. Perhaps it's that Broadway's latest musical had its start on the Left Coast in Los Angeles (horrors!) or that there's an air of conceit over its own cleverness. Whatever it is, some, but not all, critics were taken by the show that begins with a voice that intones displeasure at other musical fare being offered up on the Great White Way.

Ranging from pure gushing ("Add a dazzling production and an ideal cast to the mix and you have a musical that's as sparkling, fizzy and refreshing as a glass of topflight champagne," William Stephenson, Broadway.com) to gutteral pans (1 star and "...this little, horrifyingly pastiche musical started life in someone's living room in Canada. It should have stayed there," Clive Barnes, New York Post), reviews are completely across the board.

USA Today's Elysa Gardner once again delivers a **1/2 star review, but shows her disdain, "Call me a boor, but I've always been wary of entertainment that wears its cleverness on its sleeve." New York Daily News' Howard Kissel's review underscores the anti-LA attitude, even with his buoyant review: "It's full of wit and high spirits, so entertaining you can overlook the fact it came from Los Angeles." But it's perhaps Ben Brantley's critique from The New York Times that summarizes what all the musically weary, if not wary, critics and audiences are thinking at the end of this season: "Though this revved-up spoof of a 1920's song-and-dance frolic, as imagined by an obsessive 21st-century show queen, seems poised to become the sleeper of the Broadway season, it is not any kind of a masterpiece."

Unless Tarzan can rally the critical troops the way it's attracting audiences, this year's musical season will have gone bust, save for the reworked Sweeney Todd and Pajama Game or the one jukebox musical hit Jersey Boys.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for The Drowsy Chaperone tickets.

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