Dr. Zhivago
Closed 2h 40m
Dr. Zhivago
63

Dr. Zhivago NYC Reviews and Tickets

63%
(36 Reviews)
Positive
42%
Mixed
39%
Negative
19%
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.

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Member Reviews (36)

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60
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.

70
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.

Critic Reviews (36)

The New York Times
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Time Out New York
April 21st, 2015

"'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."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 21st, 2015

""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."
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Entertainment Weekly
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Variety
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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The Wall Street Journal
April 22nd, 2015

"A slow-paced commodity musical suitable only for consumption by tone-deaf tweenagers...I spent two hours and 45 minutes sitting through “Doctor Zhivago.” Unless you’re getting paid to do so, don’t make the same mistake."
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The Observer
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Deadline
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Chicago Tribune
April 21st, 2015

"'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."
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New York Post
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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New York Daily News
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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AM New York
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Talkin' Broadway
April 21st, 2015

"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'."
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Theater Pizzazz
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Stage Buddy
September 14th, 2015

"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."
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DC Theatre Scene
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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The Guardian (UK)
April 22nd, 2015

"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. "
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The Huffington Post
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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The Wrap
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Newsday
April 20th, 2015

"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."
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WNBC
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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The Huffington Post
April 21st, 2015

"Never try to conquer Russia in winter. Napoleon ignored this lesson and paid dearly. Hitler ignored this lesson and it cost him World War II. Now director Des McAnuff and his foolhardy team of craftsmen and actors have foundered miserably in that same punishing landscape with little warmth and even littler imagination."
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The Associated Press
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Perez Hilton
April 21st, 2015

"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."
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Simon Parris Man in Chair
April 7th, 2015

"'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."
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NJ.com
April 21st, 2015

"'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."
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Variety
February 26th, 2011
For a previous production

"This version makes love, not war, the central theme, and to moving effect. While squeezing Boris Pasternak’s 500-pager onto the stage creates a densely packed show, there are plenty of moments that allow the key musical numbers to shine and avoid the shadows cast by David Lean’s film."
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S
February 21st, 2011
For a previous production

"It never quite soars, nor does it strum the heartstrings hard enough. Yet the dramatic heft and technical fluency of this quasi-operatic filleting of Boris Pasternak's novel makes for engrossing entertainment."
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C
February 20th, 2011
For a previous production

"It seems to me the book does great justice to personal relationships, as well as political ones. We can’t help but get a colourful picture of the impact of both the revolution and subsequent civil war. Aiding and abetting this are descriptive and poetic lyrics, to say nothing of a wonderfully sensitive score. It doesn’t seem to strive for hits, or predictable placements of genre songs, but goes its own way, in just telling the story helping us to get inside the characters, to walk a mile in their shoes."
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The Telegraph (UK)
February 22nd, 2011
For a previous production

"Dr. Zhivago is a show for theatregoers looking for something to chew on. It is a slow-burn musical, with polished performances, gritty plot, a fighting spirit and, most importantly, an excellent score."
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T
February 19th, 2011
For a previous production

"Michael Weller's book has individual moments of great strength, particularly in bringing the tempestuous politics alive. Too often, though, there's a sketchy quality to the storytelling as events that should seem fated have the feeling of contrivance. This musical aspires to be equal to monumental, life-altering events. Its emotional pull should be devastating, and it isn't. Doctor Zhivago is certainly enjoyable and a good night out, but it could be so much more."
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The Public Reviews
February 22nd, 2011
For a previous production

"This musical, ten years in the waiting, is well worth the wait! Des McAnuff’s production "Dr Zhivago The Musical" brings Boris Pasternak’s 1957 novel evocatively to the stage."
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U
May 10th, 2011
For a previous production

"'Dr. Zhivago' is the perfect production for theatregoers who are growing tired of the methodical process of musical theatre. It proves that the musical doesn’t have to be all strained smiles and slapstick comedy. It is intense and at times scary, so if you favour serious over sequins, then 'Dr. Zhivago' is the theatre experience for you."
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Time Out Sydney
February 11th, 2011
For a previous production

"You'd think it would be impossible for a new retelling to match the grandeur of the epic film or the novel, but this new 'Doctor Zhivago' gives the impossible a red-hot go. It does a terrific job of doing justice to Pasternak's original...A tremendous achievement and a worthy new musical."
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W
April 22nd, 2015
For a previous production

"Not knowing anything about the novel or film, I was pleased that the story was not difficult to follow, thanks to the projection dates and locations as the story moved along. Des McAnuff’s direction is suitable efficient for a musical covering decades of history in 2 ½ hours...Head down to Her Majesty’s Theatre for a grand night out."
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Trailer

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