Friday, November 03, 2006

Grey Gardens Proves Fertile For Most Critics

Grey Gardens Proves Fertile For Most Critics

Last evening marked the opening for Grey Gardens -- one of the theatre season's most anticipated musicals. Reviews are mostly positive, with near universal acclaim for Christine Ebersole.

Perhaps the most enthusiastic review comes from Joe Dziemianowicz of New York's Daily News, who raves, "In Grey Gardens, Christine Ebersole delivers a bona fide star turn that is awesome, amazing and astonishing -- and that's just the A's....Ebersole already has a Tony, but this performance catapults her high into the Broadway heavens. She won't be coming down to earth for a long while. And after you see her in Grey Gardens, neither will you."

Proclaiming the musical "a fine production," David Rooney of Variety gushes, "The show's most buzzed-about aspect has been star Christine Ebersole in a staggering dual-role performance sure to become a new benchmark for musical-theater excellence....[T]his miraculous turn deserves every superlative thrown its way....In a Broadway arena that can be unaccommodating for 'serious' musicals, Grey Gardens is as boldly odd, original and beguiling as its subjects."

Calling Grey Gardens " experience no passionate theatergoer should miss," The New York Times' Ben Brantley is generally upbeat about the show. Despite finding some fault, Brantley states: "[W]hen Ms. Ebersole, portraying the middle-aged, time-warped debutante called Little Edie Beale, delivers her das and dums, any doubts that this show belongs on Broadway are sent packing....Watching (Ebersole's) performance is the best argument I can think of for the survival of the American musical."

Urging her readers to "Dig in and enjoy" along with her three and a half star review, USA Today's Elysa Gardner praises: "What's surprising, and refreshing, are the ingenuity and sheer heart informing the new off-Broadway transfer Grey Gardens....These portraits never devolve into caricatures, thanks to Michael Greif's sprightly, sensitive direction and a pair of superb performances -- or a trio, actually. Christine Ebersole plays Edith in Act 1 and Edie in Act 2, and infuses both roles with a profound poignancy that complements her comic prowess. Ebersole also sings gorgeously, and composer Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie have provided her with some of the most tuneful and moving songs to grace an original musical in years."

Deeming it only a "goodish musical" along with two and a half stars, New York Post's Clive Barnes sounds a different note: "Wright's smart book stitches together a most intriguing storyline, which adroitly gives answers before it asks questions. Yet for all its narrative interest, it's still a musical that sets out with one grave, even deadly, disadvantage. Its music. This derivative score...sounds like a secondhand, second-rate pastiche....Both Ebersole and (Mary Louise) Wilson share the same diva flair, but have to work like graceful demons to illuminate the long shadows and deep shallows of those aptly named Grey Gardens."

As mentioned earlier, I believe that Grey Gardens is helping propel Broadway's current season toward being among the best for musicals in decades. Now I just have to get my seats for what will clearly be a hot ticket.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Time To Meet The Reaper: Grey Gardens Opens On Broadway (November 2, 2006)
Mary Poppins, Grey Gardens Tops Among SOB Readers (October 27, 2006)
Survey Says.... (October 23, 2006)
Which Broadway Musical Will Depart Next? (August 21, 2006)
Grey Gardens Moving to Broadway, Lest There Was Any Doubt (May 15, 2006)

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At 03 November, 2006, Anonymous etroni said...

Argh you are instilling jealousy sounds great

At 03 November, 2006, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

It's probably a safe bet that this show wouldn't translate well across the pond, wouldn't you say? You'll just have to make another transatlantic journey!



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