New York | 2h 40m | Already closed

Dr. Zhivago

From 36 critic and 35 member reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious, Romantic, Entertaining

About the show

A new musical adaptation of the 1958 Nobel Prize-winning novel about an epic romance set against the backdrop of the Russian revolution. More…

Dr. Zhivago is the story of a political idealist, physician and poet who is tossed by the tides of history, torn between a life with his devoted wife, Tonia, and the passionate and mysterious Lara. Zhivago competes for Lara's affections with the young revolutionary Pasha and the aristocrat Viktor.

2h 40m | Already closed | The Broadway Theatre (Midtown W)


"'Doctor Zhivago' is an earnest romance with an epic, operatic scope. With a concise book, eloquent lyrics and heartfelt music the story is given estimable treatment. Des McAnuff directs a thoughtful production. Yet in encompassing so much plot and philosophy so economically, the characters can sometimes feel oversimplified." Full Review

Simon Parris Man in Chair

"'Doctor Zhivago' does not quite reach the 'Les Misérables' standard for romantic musical drama but it certainly comes very close. Fans for this genre looking for fresh material will not be able to resist it." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The strength of the production lies in the musical storytelling. The tale is told through poignant lyrical and musical achievement and a romantic love that pulls at the heartstrings adding to the emotional blood surge.There are powerful songs...The battle scenes are explosively intense...the incomparable Des McAnuff directs with great assurance and style." Full Review


"This ambitious but politically vapid new adaptation may feed some unexpressed hunger for the Masterpiece Musicals of the '80s, now that the revolutionaries and urchins of 'Les Misérables' have been storming the barricades for so very long." Full Review

AM New York

"The musical is unexpectedly easy to follow - achieving that kind of clarity is no small achievement. The songs are often moving...And while it’s admirable that the creators largely avoided bombastic gestures, it never captures the emotional agony and historical turbulence its characters confront. You come away with no sense of why “Doctor Zhivago” has been turned into a musical in the first place." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"I had hoped that a major benefit of winning the Cold War would be no longer having to sit through a show like 'Doctor Zhivago'. It does weave in a whirlwind tour of Russian history of the early twentieth century, but its heart seems to be in a different era – the Broadway of the 1980’s, when musicals were pseudo-operatic, self-serious and soapy, yet somehow ran forever...Everybody’s a pro, but the entire enterprise leaves me a bit nonplussed." Full Review

Perez Hilton

"BIG belting! EXQUISITE vocal arrangements! GORGEOUS orchestrations to really show it off! And, unfortunately, THE WORST book of the new Broadway season. This love story is so melodramatic that it's hard to find any of it believable and even harder to not laugh at some of this campy dialogue." Full Review

New York Post

"Fiery revolutionaries, overheated passions, power ballads belted to the balconies — hey, if it worked for 'Les Misérables,' it could work for 'Doctor Zhivago!' The only problem is that the creators of this new musical forgot to include such minor details as compelling characters, thrilling drama or, you know, an inspiring score. At a time of heightened competition on Broadway, “Doctor Zhivago” is so dull, it may soon be Zhiva-gone." Full Review


"Making a musical of 'Doctor Zhivago', you have to wonder which of the numerous plots in this sprawling narrative the creatives would choose to musicalize. The answer is: All of them. The immortal love story of Zhivago and his Lara is up there, but so is the entire Russian Revolution, which in 1917 completed its upheaval in less than a year. Here, it seems to drag on for ages." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

""Somewhere, My Love," there's a great musical to be made from this classic tale. This isn't it...The notes are all there, but the emotion is sorely lacking. The same could be said of the entirety of this big-budget musical...The show dutifully features all the major characters and dramatic moments familiar from the book and film, but in a breathlessly paced, mechanical style that never manages to engage the heart or mind." Full Review


"Pasternak’s novel 'Dr. Zhivago' and its film adaptation are love stories that also treat themes of revolution and the value of private life. The musical boils the story down to a romantic core. That may have seemed like a winning approach, but this over-ambitious production never manages to pull the heartstrings quite the way you wish it did." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Humanity is exactly what's too often missing...There's an overwhelmed, exhausted atmosphere here that gives preference to stage pictures and the movement of the individual elements than on the people who are driving the story...A musical bereft of joy (and thrills) would look a lot like 'Doctor Zhivago'." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"You never quite believe over the course of the misguided musical version of 'Doctor Zhivago' that there’s any great romance–much less a spark of attraction–between the poet-physician Zhivago and his alleged paramour...director Des McAnuff doesn’t do the show any favors with dull staging." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Perhaps the best compliment that can be paid the tuner tune-up of Boris Pasternak's 'Doctor Zhivago' is that it's earnest -- two hours and 40 minutes of tireless earnestness...The melodies are unrelentingly derivative...Worse even than the music are the lyrics." Full Review

The Wrap

"The show is not fun in a so-bad-it’s-good sort of way, although Kelli Barrett’s chipper Laura offers a few moments of unintended levity. The ponderness of the material and Des McAnuff’s direction make the two hours and 45 minutes fly by with the speed of a Soviet Union train. Nothing wears out its welcome faster than bombast." Full Review

The Associated Press

"The folks behind 'Doctor Zhivago' promise it is "sure to steal your heart." They apparently hope to do so by bludgeoning you into unconsciousness and then cutting you open with a scimitar. Visually beautiful but one-dimensional, the show is breathless and bombastic to the point of silly...What this show needs isn't a Doctor Zhivago, it's a script doctor." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The music is big and the cast is big and the emotions are definitely outsized. The story itself, which centres on a pair of lovers parted while Russia writhes toward a not-so-glorious revolution, suggests the epic. Yet the impact is oddly minimal. 'Doctor Zhivago' seems a lot more overblown than overpowering. " Full Review

Time Out New York

"'Zhivago' is Jean Valjean with a poetic streak and a medical bag...No amount of syrupy, portentous music—swamping workmanlike lyrics—can make us care for the synthetic, drably colored pageant. Des McAnuff’s staging looks expensive but ugly, with cheesy video close‑ups of actors, giant Soviet propaganda posters, eruptions of fire and the occasional explosion or gunshot to wake us up. To Siberia with it." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"'Doctor Zhivago' is playing to an audience that has shown up for a love story that plays out across three decades of Russian upheaval and personal angst. But that love story is lost in a melange of flame, ice, death and frantic characters rushing around a heavily raked stage without ever seeming really to know where they are going...Alas, you never believe they, or their show, really have a chance." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"The show is both so overconfident and insecure that it doesn’t satisfy itself with showing off lavish sets and costumes, it also must make them as loud as possible. Fire shots, explosions and marching abound, all make the show more erratic than operatic, as we are constantly being asked to shift gears along with the confused characters... 'Doctor Zhivago' on Broadway seems uncomfortable being there." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Sprawling European novels do not make great musicals. Unfortunately, this lesson has fallen on deaf ears at the Broadway Theatre — and I don’t just mean those forced to endure the mess that is 'Doctor Zhivago'. I also mean its authors and director, who together have turned Boris Pasternak’s novel into a musical so awful it is almost sadistic." Full Review

The New York Times

"A turgid throwback to the British invasion of Broadway in the 1980s, and more specifically to the epic-romantic style of “Les Misérables” and “Miss Saigon.” If full-throated love ballads, thundering militaristic anthems, baggy plots, highly expositional dialogue and doomed romances are your cup of tea, fire up the samovar and give the show a try. But be warned: “Doctor Zhivago” is inferior in most respects to the musicals it is emulating." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Broadway's 'Doctor Zhivago' is an epic miss. Based on the acclaimed Boris Pasternak novel, this miscalibrated musical is yet another attempt to bottle page-to-stage lightning a la 'Les Miserables.' But electricity doesn’t zap. Not much does in this nearly three-hour show." Full Review


"The tunes are unmemorable, the lyrics are generic and why is everyone speaking with British accents? It’s all bang and no seduction. An unwieldy mess, daunting in scale, assaultive on the ear, humorless and resistant to any involvement on the viewer’s part in this sweeping tale of love, revolution and war. In a word, it’s stinko." Full Review

The Observer

"Oh, the agony of it all. Grenades explode. Guns blare. Bodies fall. Marching boots stomp. Depressed and dying lovers search for each other in vain, mournfully moaning lyrics that make no sense. Between one world war, one revolution, one civil war the fall of the Germans and the arrival of the Communists, an ambitious saga of tedium unfolds called 'Doctor Zhivago'. You can hardly hear it for the snoring. After just under three hours, a verdict is reached. It’s a colossal bore." Full Review

Great acting, Great staging, Exquisite, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You like a great story. The costumes and the set is amazing. Very touching and heartfelt. Loved everything.

Don't see it if Don't care for on old classic.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Romantic

See it if Your open to learning about other cultures

Don't see it if Your not willing to pay close attention and follow the storyline

Intelligent, We loved it.

See it if The music is good, the lyrics inventive, the story original... different than the movie. The actors are so talented!

Don't see it if The weakness of the opening number will put you off for the rest of the very strong show.

Absorbing, Great staging, Epic, Great acting, Riveting

See it if You like epic stories full of action and romance. Very similar in style to Les Miserable

Don't see it if You don't like epic stories with a lot of subplots

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great staging, Romantic, Fluffy

See it if You like big staged theater, beautiful costuming, love stories, old school stories

Don't see it if You hate musicals. I dislike most musicals, but enjoyed this. If you dislike bright lights or it bothers you. You hate romantic stories.

Entertaining, Great acting, Original

See it if you like love stories.

Don't see it if want a serious play.

Fantastic singing, Ambitious, Underrated

See it if you want to hear a great Lucy Simon score sung passionately. Paul Nolan. Beautiful costumes.

Don't see it if The leads unfortunately lacked chemistry. Zhivago was more compelling in his solo songs which made him seem self-involved. Bad projections!

Absorbing, Epic, Disappointing, Romantic, Dizzying

See it if You love big, epic musicals, no matter how iffy the material.

Don't see it if You have extremely fond memories of the movie and are expecting something on par.

Enchanting, Great staging, Great acting, Slow, Romantic

See it if This closed WAY TOO EARLY! It got a bad rep. When I went, it was fab! A little slow, but so was the movie and the mini series.

Don't see it if Haters gonna hate. You should have seen it.

Great singing, Exquisite, Riveting, Romantic, Intense

See it if If you like beautiful music and romantic stories.

Don't see it if If you want a perfect book or you didn't like the movie.

Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of the movie. This show was not nearly as bad as everyone said. I was entertained and not bored, so that's a partial win.

Don't see it if You don't like the movie or stories of war and relationships.

Indulgent, Entertaining, Disappointing

See it if You know the classic movie and want to see a different take on it.

Don't see it if You are looking for a replica of the splendor of the film (visually), and if you are annoyed by poor choices of staging.

Disappointing, Epic, Great staging, Great acting, Romantic

See it if you loved the film. This is that, with music, and Kelli Barrett and Paul Alexander Nolan giving great performances.

Don't see it if you want a musical staging of the film to add something new or at least enhance our understanding of the story; this uneven effort doesn't.

Ambitious, Epic, Bland score, Confusing, Bad set design

See it if you are in love with the novel and story.

Don't see it if you are expecting an epic musical with a first rate score and staging.

Absorbing, Disappointing, Dated, Overrated

See it if You would appreciate a love story with many obstacles, during wartime.

Don't see it if You expect a light-hearted love story with a happy ending.

Ambitious, Also a movie

See it if didn't see movie and prefer musical format

Don't see it if you have high hopes based on already seeing movie

Slow, Intelligent

See it if you like a show with a intriguing first act, and don't care if the second act throws it all away.

Don't see it if you are looking for a show with songs you'll walk away humming. I can't name a single song from this show.

Excellent cast, Slow, Disappointing, Unmemorable musical numbers

See it if you are a fan of any of the great cast or you must see the classic story.

Don't see it if are expecting a wonderful musical with big memorable musical numbers.

Cliched, Exquisite, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you're ready for beautiful sets and costumes! Cast delivers the material well, but the material doesn't always live up to their talents.

Don't see it if you're looking on a fresh take on the classic - this is traditional in a big way. No one left the theater humming the forgettable music

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if You have a lot of patience- I loved the movie, but found the show very drawn out and boring

Don't see it if You fall asleep at shows easily

Ambitious, Disappointing, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of the story and want to remember it.

Don't see it if weird staging choices. Plot is contrived and character development is not done well.

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Slow

See it if you love a ballad (or many)

Don't see it if just don't see it - there is better out there

Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if you are a fan of the book and movie; beautiful costumes; poor script and music

Don't see it if violence on stage bothers you (blood splats from gun shots); you expect a well put together story of epic proportion;

Epic, Confusing, Ambitious, Disappointing, Urgent

See it if you like epic stories on a big stage

Don't see it if you get overwhelmed at large productions that are urgent, fast paced and always in motion. Snow??

Disappointing, Slow, Romantic

See it if You like the book or movie.

Don't see it if You don't want to be bored.

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