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"The stage version of “Finding Neverland” is no replica of the film, though it might have been better if it were. Instead, it heightens the screenplay’s sentimentality, tidy psychologizing and life-affirming messages by thickening their syrup and corn quotients in ways presumably deemed palatable to theatergoing children and their parents. The show brings to mind those supersize sodas sold in movie theaters. Like such drinks, “Finding Neverland” is largely made up of empty calories." Full Review
"What’s most striking is how a show about the power of whimsy and imagination is so lacking in both. Paulus and Company don’t trust intimacy and charm, so everything is overplayed — despite the advice to an actor rehearsing Barrie’s “Peter Pan” to go “smaller.” Peter Pan taught others to free themselves and fly...“Finding Neverland” remains stuck to the ground.". Full Review
"Manic, childish applause might cure the poisoned fairy Tinker Bell, but it's not medicine enough for "Finding Neverland", the awkward, garish and manipulative musical based on the 2004 Miramax film about playwright J.M. Barrie and the boys who inspired Peter Pan. Show-doctored into a state of shrill mediocrity, the patient can barely walk, let alone fly." Full Review
"There’s not enough flying in “Finding Neverland” — those giddy flights of wit and imagination that make us believe, if not in fairies, then at least that the American musical is still alive and well. Despite the technical marvels that director Diane Paulus brings to producer Harvey Weinstein’s beloved obsession, this ambitious version remains stubbornly earthbound. The lead in its feet has a lot to do with the ponderous lyrics, but at the heart of the matter, this material doesn’t cry out to... Full Review
"An enchanting evening awaits audiences...Directed with heaps of fairy dust by Diane Paulus...Finding Neverland is never better than when Paulus and her illusions team create honest-to-god magic through pure theatricality. These moments are not only transcendent in their beauty, but also nearly impossible to do justice through words. No matter how seasoned a theatergoer you are, Finding Neverland feels like experiencing your first Broadway show all over again, and you'll never forget it. " Full Review
"Partly a weepie, partly a backstage comedy, partly a biography, partly a romance, partly a kiddie show, partly a magic show, there’s something here for everybody – but not really enough of anything for anybody...Most of the songs are dull adult contemporary ballads, forgotten before they’re even over...Director Paulus keeps throwing in magic tricks and storybook set changes, but no amount of illusionism can make the songs any better or the script and style seem any more definite." Full Review
"The flash doesn’t drown out the other aspects of the production. The acting is fine. The musical has funny moments and moving moments. The score mostly offers a sweet, bouncy British pop sound. There is nothing here outright to hate, and the attention to state-of-the-art stagecraft can be justified in a show that offers little real dramatic tension...But understanding the context results in a feeling of disappointment." Full Review
"It's at best a treasure chest of only mixed delights...It's not that the present cast and production creative team aren't working up to high levels...to gussy up the proceedings, the writers and director Diane Paulus turn to all sorts of diversions...since this is a musical, the score is the biggest disappointment." Full Review
""Finding Neverland" purports to be historical: the true tale of how Barrie, inspired by his dealings with the family of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, created the boy who wouldn’t grow up. It also purports to be a singing-dancing family entertainment. It winds up being neither...Even if everything in it were profound and true, it would still be a mess, suffering as it does from confusion (or willfulness) about what makes a musical a musical." Full Review
"Bombastic and exhausting, the show confuses childishness with an affinity for the child inside, at times recalling "Wicked" in its busily assaultive hyperactivity, but without that show's catchy songs or engaging central character dynamic...A rare blemish on the track record of gifted director Diane Paulus, the show does have a heart-stopping death scene that's both moving and visually spectacularBut the two hours-plus leading up to that moment, more often than not, are a chore." Full Review
"Less can be more...If only producer Harvey Weinstein and director Diane Paulus had learned that lesson. To be sure, James Graham, who adapted the story, and Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, who wrote the colorful and melodious score, have come up with much to like in this fictionalized account of the creation of Peter Pan. But Paulus’ staging can — and does — go overboard...The show also strains to be adorable, like a male "Matilda."" Full Review
"Finding Neverland flies. Occasionally it even soars...It's still too treacly and the tear-wringing ending just goes on forever. But there’s an audience for this show, which is visually cunning and something of a warm bath without being too insulting. It’s not for the Sondheim or the post-Sondheim crowd. It’s a sentimental throwback, unembarrassedly so." Full Review
"A troubled musical that does not quite know what to make of Barrie and his famous friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family...The actual finding in "Finding Neverland" never feels logical. Nor does the score, which often has a rootsy, "Big River" feel and, despite some sticky melodies, remains far removed from the show's milieu. The show lacks a journey." Full Review
"For a show about releasing the imagination, the musical is surprisingly conventional -- a down-the-middle family entertainment with excellent actors, as well as sturdy storytelling that recreates the movie with dogged fidelity. Directed by Diane Paulus, the production has a low-wattage wow factor that, though admirably true to the Edwardian period, mostly misses the chance to transform the fantasies in Barrie's mind with 21st century magic." Full Review
"“Finding Neverland” is a thoroughly enchanting new musical. Diane Paulus, the show’s current director, has kept this musical tale about J. M. Barrie’s creation of “Peter Pan” magnificently low tech...she creates magic not by being literal but recalling stage machinery that’s appropriate to the year of Barrie’s classic play, 1904...The rousing ensemble numbers could be lifted from a 1950’s musical...This production may not be total perfection, but it works real magic with its child’s play." Full Review
"Theater doesn’t always gel, even in the strongest of hands. We learn that lesson – in myriad ways, during the new musical ‘Finding Neverland…' The last time is during the final bows of this clearly well-intentioned yet ultimately unremarkable tuner...It never really takes flight or finds its true voice. In part, book writer James Graham simply tries to juggle a few too many stories." Full Review
"The end result is both rousing and erratic, with bits of thrilling stage magic that are signature Diane Paulus, and dialogue that sometimes feels as if it’s been focus group-sanitized to within an inch of its life...The melodies are pop-song good, if not likely to linger long with you. “Finding Neverland” is best in its scenes with surrogate father Barrie and the four boys...I think they’re the ones who deserve a lot of the credit for getting “Finding Neverland” to fly." Full Review
"Exuberant, quirky and somewhat conflicted about what it wants to be...It's a celebration of imagination that labors hard for a consistent tone and often leaves you feeling manipulated...Part Edwardian melodrama, part love story, part origin story, part valentine to invention and part send-up of the theater itself. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just that each has its own tone. Sometimes Graham is deadly earnest, sometimes he's sly and often he's just trying too hard at both." Full Review
"The show seems to live for moments of self-righteous gratification such as a cringeworthy scene in which Grammer’s character is subject of a 'Cheers' pun, complete with a pause meant for the audience to roar with approval and laughter. For a show that should be about the inexplicable magic of creation, every scene seems overwritten. Even Diane Paulus’ direction lacks effervescence, each moment so overwrought that each character seems to be wearing a light-up 'Applause' sign." Full Review
"Paulus is saddled with a lackluster score, mostly syrupy ballads and vaguely peppy production numbers. The book, by rising playwright James Graham, is better — hokey at points, but offering enough playful wit and compassion to make this story about the creation of Peter Pan fly." Full Review
"Swift-moving, playful, and appealing to children...This is not to say that "Finding Neverland" remains consistently airborne. The music and lyrics are redolent of pop-chart uplift and fail to contribute to character development. No matter how many emotionally effective touches the actors and their director, Diane Paulus, provide, the evening keeps returning to those mostly forgettable tunes. The lapses are especially apparent because this is, at heart, a show about artistic inspiration." Full Review
"'Finding Neverland' is a fairy tale steeped in magic. The magic stems not from the special effects, but from the delightful score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy; at times one would call it enchanting. The book by James Graham is a bit fussy and relies a lot on the obvious jokes...Director Diane Paulus does an admirable job of bringing the show together. Although not as exciting as her previous effort in 'Pippin,' she does get the job done." Full Review
"The book moves the story along, but lacks any sustained dramatic tension. We never become seriously involved with most of the characters. The show mostly plods from scene to scene, rarely achieving magical heights...The score is a huge letdown...The songs fitfully spring to life, but only occasionally do they fly or hit a tender chord." Full Review
"Harvey Weinstein made a bold and inspiring choice in hiring director Diane Paulus to helm his first Broadway musical...Unfortunately, Paulus' own genius is to blame for "Finding Neverland"'s lack of pixie dust. This production is good but not great...For a musical about the creation of and featuring Peter Pan, one would expect flying and all sorts of theatrical razzle-dazzle. Those moments of wonder and awe are few and fleeting, though." Full Review
"Loaded for Tony nominations and overflowing with charm...Paulus is expert at whimsy, and so her London shivers with confetti blasts, and delights in oversized bicycles, red balloons, and a hallucinatory clock sequence that I want to see again as soon as possible." Full Review
See it if you want a fluffy piece of theater that doesnt provoke much thought but is still an enjoyable time
Don't see it if you want an amazing musical with songs you want to continue singing when leaving the show
See it if you like learning how stories are inspired and created, you're a fan of the leads or the story of Peter Pan
Don't see it if you want something fresh and surprising--how many plays/musicals/movies can there be that in some way, shape, or form are about Peter Pan??
See it if You like Peter Pan, Hook or the film Finding Neverland, and you want a history behind the famous tale.
Don't see it if You expect it to be fairy-tale light with no sadness. You want to hear every bit of dialogue (some mumbling, trouble with accents).
See it if Another must see. If you want a truly beautiful night at the theatre that'll make you leave sobbing, laughing, and smiling for hours.
Don't see it if If you don't want to cry.
See it if you're curious how to emphasize everything hetero/patriarchal abt PeterPan story; if you want to see Bway pros make subpar material shine
Don't see it if you're susceptible to earworms; if you have anything else to do
See it if you love a good ol'-fashioned Broadway show full of magic and energy; if you are a sucker for show-stopping numbers and amazing singing
Don't see it if you don't have a lighthearted side; if you don't like capital-M musicals; if you hate Peter Pan
See it if you enjoy melodramatic musicals loaded with cliches and an overall ineffectual score and sloppy production values
Don't see it if you don't want to struggle to stay awake during the performance or were hoping to see something engaging
See it if you like great big disney musicals with a bit of heart. Big music numbers, a lot of funny moments.
Don't see it if you need a lot of character depth and nuanced development. Bits are skipped here and fluff is added.
See it if you can sit through the beginning to reach the pure magic of the ending. The cast is all very talented.
Don't see it if you like a good score and book. Direction and choreography is hit and miss throughout.
See it if you desire a family-friendly, enchanting story that will leave you inspired to seize the joys in life; if you like straightforward musicals.
Don't see it if you're heartless; not fond of children (noisy audience); unimaginative; or want intellectually-challenging drama. Must believe in fairies.