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"It doesn’t break ground or dazzle with an unusual recipe, but it delivers reliable pleasures with polished professionalism and infectious energy...If there’s a secret ingredient that gives the musical version a zest, it is the wonderful score...Certainly not without its formulaic or sentimental aspects. Few mainstream musicals are. But it captures both the milieu it evokes and the colorful characters who populate it with a buoyancy and humor that ultimately won me over." Full Review
"Credit director Jerry Zaks (and co-director Robert De Niro) with terrific casting...Let’s face it, this ill-advised musical version, with an anemic score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, isn’t going to send ’em dancing up the aisles. While there are fun things to be found, like those jailbait Doo-Wop Guys singing and snapping a cappella under the streetlight, the music is soggier than overcooked meatballs and the lyrics have absolutely no bite...Sergio Trujillo’s choreography is a snooze." Full Review
"There goes the neighborhood. Just when it was getting cool to go to a Broadway musical, along comes the lumbering and hackneyed 'A Bronx Tale'...A musically unmemorable mix of sappiness and contrived melodrama...Aside from Machiavelli-quoting mobster Bobby—played with expertly calibrated swagger by Nick Cordero—none of the characters command interest, and Alan Menken and Glenn Slater’s doo-wop–heavy score is far too lightweight for a plot that features murders." Full Review
"Because it resembles an urban fairy tale, Palminteri’s story works even better as a musical than it has in its earlier incarnations where its stereotypical aspects felt more glaring...'A Bronx Tale'—in the second half, packed with a succession of melodramatic incidents—can feel rushed and unconvincing...While the score doesn’t feature any breakout songs, it is tuneful and fun...Though hardly sophisticated entertainment, 'A Bronx Tale' has genuine charms." Full Review
"When a property has been waxed to a commercial Broadway shine as this one has at the Longacre Theatre, it's hard to locate the cracks and crevices that originally gave it character. But when the rhythms and melodies of the story's milieu are fully engaged in painting the picture of this microcosm on Belmont Avenue, 'A Bronx Tale: The Musical' is completely captivating." Full Review
"For all the craft and polish applied, this musical winds up right in the middle of the wrong place. It’s an unmoving target...Nothing rings true...The songs are all as professional and tuneful as you would expect from the team of Menken and Slater...They do perfectly well what songs are supposed to do in standard commercial musicals...But in doing so they normalize material that should not be normalized...That’s a shame; the musical is handsome and reasonably well performed." Full Review
"Too many of the songs are inconsequential, which serves to dilute those ingratiating, low-brow, mob-infused charms which won audiences over in the first (and second) place...'A Bronx Tale' is unlikely to work without a strong performance in the central role of the gangster Sonny. Fortunately, Nick Cordero carries the musical with aplomb...'A Bronx Tale' gets a passing grade, and might well prove a crowdpleaser; but 'Jersey Boys,' it’s not." Full Review
"A reasonably enjoyable period piece…But whereas some shows swing for the fences, this is one doesn’t aim much further than second base. This is a premiere that feels more like a revival and comes shrink-wrapped in its own nostalgia…Most of the pop, ballad and doo-wop numbers are satisfying, though forgettable...There’s not much that’s surprising in the show’s look or its dance sequences...It is well served by its leads, particularly the rumble-voiced Cordero." Full Review
"The characters feel borrowed from 'Jersey Boys' and 'Guys and Dolls,' the plot in Act II from 'West Side Story.' And Alan Menken’s score, a pleasing if generic mix of doo-wop and Motown and Broadway ballads, manages to make 'A Bronx Tale' feel like an old jukebox musical...'A Bronx Tale' is unlikely to make anybody’s top 10 list. But the show is also unlikely to disappoint theatergoers nostalgic for the old neighborhood and the old-time Broadway show." Full Review
"What might have been a gut-punch melodrama ends up a half-hearted musical bildungsroman...Palminteri's book only roughs it in, and the often tuneful and literate songs don't dig deeply enough under the story's surface to reach the primal emotions underneath...Directors DeNiro and Zaks have delivered a brisk, efficient production, which, nevertheless, lacks the flavor of life...How is it that a show with murders, beatings, family secrets, and shocking betrayals, ultimately seems so weightless?" Full Review
“Much of it is raucously enjoyable—it received a sincere standing ovation—and the heart of Palminteri's original remains intact, but its soul seems compromised by the window dressing of a big-budget production...Performed with pumped-up gusto for a fast-moving two hours, only occasionally stopping to catch its breath, the show, with its saucy profanity and comical sexual allusions...isn't for audiences seeking Disney-type entertainment.” Full Review
"It takes everything that was good about 'A Bronx Tale' and waters it down until it’s as tasteless as a fast-food milkshake...Not only does Mr. Thornton’s relentlessly tautological first-person narration tell you what you just saw and are about to see, but so do Glenn Slater’s flat lyrics, which start out unpromisingly and get no better. Alan Menken’s music is Disneyfied doo-wop with some ersatz Sinatra thrown in, the stuff TV commercials are made of." Full Review
"The characters are simple, the storytelling is derivative of better-known musicals and the tone is excessively sentimental and solemn. But 'A Bronx Tale' is nevertheless an entertaining crowd-pleaser and a poignant piece of theater...There is a heartwarming aura to the storytelling and a palpable sense of sadness lurking under the nostalgia...The staging is tight and high-powered. Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater have built a fresh and flavorful score." Full Review
"A winningly performed but losing-ly scripted musical…Murders are forgotten about and accusations pivot for no apparent reason...This is a production that attempts to serve many masters, and the outcome is more jarring than it is synchronistic…Fortunately, the cast shines, with Mr. Cordero being the brightest of the stars." Full Review
"If you know you want a lot of liquidy doo-wop music, non-threatening fights and fake-looking Molotov cocktails, an aww-inducing love story, and two showy, starry central performances from Bobby Conte Thornton and Nick Cordero, then rest assured that's what you'll get, with nothing else getting in the way...Earworm wrangler Menken is in solid form here...But none of it causes your spine to tingle or your eyes to leak...There are far worse ways to burn off a couple of hours." Full Review
"From an outstanding score by Alan Menken, touching and cohesive book by Chazz Palminteri, the effervescent choreography by Sergio Trujillo and an award-winning cast, 'A Bronx Tale' has it all. 'A Bronx Tale' is an old-fashioned musical, done the way musicals used to be with heart, soul and just a little bit of schmaltz. It is exactly what the doctor ordered in these trying times. You will get your money’s worth in entertainment and will leave feeling good about the world." Full Review
"Good luck getting one of the many zesty, sticky numbers out of your head...It is impossible to experience 'A Bronx Tale without myriad other musicals popping into your head...'A Bronx Tale' is a wildly uneven show—some parts feel just ridiculous in the broadness of their strokes, others entirely charming. The greatest strength of the piece lies in its characterization of Sonny...Sonny, like this show, is a thinly veiled but incurable romantic." Full Review
"Generously plumped with ingredients from older, better shows, an easy-going familiarity suffuses 'A Bronx Tale,' along with the comforting glaze of nostalgia. They don’t make ’em like they yoozta (try as they might)...Astutely staged by Zaks and, OK, De Niro, 'A Bronx Tale' unfolds briskly...As to the score, like the story itself, it’s instantly forgettable. Every line and every rhyme comes roaring down the straightaway from a mile off." Full Review
"The show’s makers and shapers haven’t squandered their gifts. But they haven’t dug especially deep in the imagination department, either. 'A Bronx Tale' packs some tasty ear candy and fine performances, but it’s as conventional as it gets and could use a surprise or two...While the story unfolds strictly by the numbers, songs by Glenn Slater and Alan Menken lend periodic lifts. Menken is an ace at crafting Zelig-like melodies that evoke a period. Doo-wop and ‘60s pop loom large." Full Review
"Cordero's sinister yet charismatic gangster-in-chief contributes mightily toward making this singing and dancing 'A Bronx Tale' an enjoyable musical entertainment...While the show has been given a sugary Disney gloss, the score is easy on the ears and the lyrics advance the story and include showstoppers...Slick, colorful and tuneful as it is, the overall feel and those echoes of 'West Side Story' do place this into pleasing but standard Broadway musical territory." Full Review
"All these actors are great, singing and dancing up a storm, and giving us a totally solid show. This solidness is maybe the only complaint I have with this show. It is so well done, a total professional piece of musical theatre, but somewhere along the way it fails to be something special. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy myself at any given moment, but I was never swept away...There doesn’t seem to be any stand out numbers." Full Review
"A stunning new musical that combines realism with just the right amount of moral ambiguity and rich enduring questions to make a delicious theatrical event worth seeing once if not twice...Mr. De Niro and Mr. Zaks provide rich direction to the ensemble cast and keep the action moving forward at an appropriate pace. The realistic conflicts of each character drive a believable plot full of wonderful dramatic surprises that give the story interesting twists and turns." Full Review
"Chazz Palminteri’s semi-autobiographical theatrical coming-of-age story has been told and retold so many times that it has the ritualized feel of a folk myth—and not in a good way....A by-the-numbers show written by Palminteri with similarities to 'Jersey Boys' and 'West Side Story'—but not in a good way...The cast is fine, but seldom electrifying...The lyrics by Glenn Slater have nursery rhymes you can anticipate before they are sung." Full Review
"Why does the adult Calogero have to be as strictly white-bread boring as Tony in 'West Side Story'...While some of the problem is Thornton’s vanilla performance, the book gives its lead character little to do but narrate...He and others are saddled with the music of Alan Menken...Why does everyone sound like they’re still listening to the Four Seasons and the Ronettes despite all the violence and death circling around them?...A score that’s more Disney than the Bronx." Full Review
"For all the work’s flaws, one can’t doubt the well-meaning efforts of co-directors DeNiro and Zaks...Still, you would think such accomplished men might realize that cold-blooded murder, racial unrest and pseudo-Motown mix kind of like gin and Diet Coke...As engaging as a few of the musical numbers are they diminish Palminteri’s core story...It seems to aspire to match 'West Side Story's' achievement–and how far short it falls of that aim. It’s not even half as good as 'Jersey Boys.'" Full Review
See it if You love the movie or original Chazz Palminteri one man show. Very Italian and very New York. Great cast and acting is fantastic.
Don't see it if You don't like stories that feature mobsters. Don't expect a strong score. I didn't care for the music and felt it should've been a play.
See it if You want to see a well-acted, captivating, smoothly directed show pulsing with energy and heart.
Don't see it if You're looking for a show that needed to be a musical - I think this would have done just fine as a play.
See it if you like easy entertainment w a little edge, or friendly mob stories set in NY. It's a good show, enjoyable. OK for teens & [grand]parents.
Don't see it if It's a sharp story that's been covered in bubblewrap. Criminality & racism are softened by nice, but forgettable, songs.
See it if There some great original songs in this predictable musical and despite a problematic second act, I had a swell time even with uneven cast.
Don't see it if Bobby Thornton is beyond odd and awkward, but, luckily, Nick Cordero lights up the stage every time he appears. The staging isn't great.
See it if you want to take your bridge-and-tunnel friend to a Disneyfied, diluted, corny, unnecessarily-musicalized version of a much better film/play
Don't see it if you have any respect for the powerful storytelling of the original play/film. The flimsy score is completely incompatible w/the dark themes.
See it if you are a fan of Jersey Boys, West Side Story, Memphis, and Hairspray. It's basically a combination of all of them.
Don't see it if you are sensitive to stories that include themes on neighborhood corruption, organized crime, and/or race related tensions.
See it if you like old fashioned, traditional musicals. If you don't mind somewhat cliched material. Excellent performances all around. Well staged.
Don't see it if you like more innovative or challenging theater. This is formulaic but is well done. Second act felt derivative of West Side Story.
See it if you like singing/dancing musicals, Italian gangster stories, interracial love stories, family dramas, attractive main characters
Don't see it if you expect elaborate production numbers, don't enjoy cliched characters, not interested in gangster tales,
See it if wanting a musical that is thoroughly entertaining, captures a time and place, has great music and deals with relevant themes. A gem!
Don't see it if don't think you can be charmed by great music, an absorbing but a little clichéd plot and great performances.
See it if If you loved the movie you will love the show, the score also reflects the times
Don't see it if You grew up in the Bronx in the 50/60's as this is a one dimensional portrayal, I'm sure my view is colored by being there at that time
See it if You enjoy some drama in your musicals; love songs that move the story forward; like a variety of characters none of whom is perfect
Don't see it if You don't like stories about gangs, the mob, importance of family. A cross b/w Jersey Boys and West Side Story by Robert Deneiro.
See it if Interested in great directing and want a please all entertaining evening. Good staging-Jersey Boys style. Interesting remake of old story.
Don't see it if You only see the creme de la creme of current theater.
See it if you enjoy a fairly by-the-book musical that you'll remember little about the next week but that entertains you while it has you in the seat.
Don't see it if you'd prefer a show that is less simplistic in its treatment of racial issues. The lead is forgiven much too quickly for an egregious slur.