Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show
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Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show
67

Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show NYC Reviews and Tickets

67%
(116 Reviews)
Positive
52%
Mixed
34%
Negative
14%
Members say
Entertaining, Great singing, Fluffy, Funny, Disappointing

About the Show

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are reuniting live on Broadway — to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of their record-setting “American Idol” finale with a Christmas spectacular full of theatrics, music, and laughter.

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Member Reviews (116)

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40
Fluffy, Self-indulgent, Mediocre, Schmaltzy, Good singing

See it if you miss your hometown community theater Xmas pageant; you yearn for the cornball, mawkish holiday specials of Como, Williams, Crosby, et al

Don't see it if you have a cheese intolerance; u hope for an Idol concert [There's precious little singing by the two]; u expect a scintilla of wit or soul. Read more

85
Enchanting, Quirky, Great singing, Funny, Cheesy

See it if Like a variety show all about Christmas.

Don't see it if Do not like Christmas, hear music about it Read more

Critic Reviews (17)

The New York Times
December 11th, 2018

"Studdard and Aiken try to upstage each other in a showbiz arms race that’s cheeseball, and very funny...Aiken has an impish mien and a quick wit. Studdard is laid back to the point of impassivity, and his no-presence presence makes his singing all the more stunning...The two stars get solid support from the game cast...Unfortunately, it backloads all the sentimental stuff after intermission, and has a tougher time dealing with the reflective, spiritual side of the holidays."
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The Hollywood Reporter
December 11th, 2018

"A reunion for which no one was clamoring...Writers Arpino and Joyce vainly attempt to have their stars (and their five backup singers, who should be earning battle pay for gamely managing to smile throughout) deliver comedy sketches as well as holiday music. But the material is truly cringeworthy...While Aiken has some decent comic chops, Studdard is simply adrift, delivering his lines in a stiff monotone....It's a shame, because both Aiken and Studdard have lovely voices."
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Deadline
December 11th, 2018

"Pads the proceedings with intentionally cheesy sketch comedy, corny banter and, more successfully, thoughtful personal nostalgia...Neither Aiken nor Studdard have anywhere close to the comedic chops needed to pull off something like this...Musically, 'Ruben & Clay' is on surer footing, with Studdard’s silky R&B and gospel takes on the holiday tunes mixing very well with Aiken’s more Broadway-belting style...and the two make for fine carolers (as do their perky back-up revelers)."
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Theatermania
December 12th, 2018

“An evening of skits and scenes, performed by two artists who won the hearts of 40 million people 15 years ago...Thankfully, time has not withered their voices, and their personal performance styles complement each other onstage...There is an astounding amount of padding within this show's inexplicable two-plus hour duration. Similarly, the transitions are sloppy, the design is cartoonish, and the script...is painfully unfunny.”
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BroadwayWorld
December 12th, 2018

"Sweet and sincere, modestly-produced entertainment...Despite the show's ‘American Idol’ pedigree, the style here is enthused musical comedy belting and everyone gets a moment or two to shine...Aiken is the more energized star...displaying a fine knack for comedy. Studdard is low-key...but he's definitely in his element...beautifully crooning in his soft r&b style...’Ruben & Clay’ doesn't claim to be sophisticated or flashy...but it's sincere and pleasant."
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New York Stage Review
December 11th, 2018

"Aiken is the far more animated performer...Studdard seems markedly lower in energy...but his gospel-style baritone vocals remain downy in sound. Their musicianship is more about bravura singing than interpreting the sentiments of songs; they shoot for the big, lasting notes rather than explore any emotional nuances within the lyrics...There tends to be a muchness about such performances when they mostly involve vocal flash while offering scant heart.”
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Broadway News
December 11th, 2018

“While Studdard and Aiken still possess impressive voices, they may have been a bit late in sending out invitations to their reunion party...Their comic banter mostly has the strained and saggy feeling of, artificially crafted comic banter...There’s cheesy and there’s cheesy...This show’s relentless barrage of mostly witless badinage and engorging seasonal cheer is enough to send even the most lactose-tolerant fleeing up the aisles.”
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TheaterScene.net
December 12th, 2018

“Virtually every Christmas song in existence is wonderfully performed...Studdard and Aiken exhibit their renowned powerful singing, personability and a delightful rapport...Arpino and Joyce’s script is a skillful assembly of retro genre conceits linked by old-time humor with dashes of emotion. Tessero’s expert direction and Shriver’s snappy staging contribute smooth pacing and momentum...’Ruben & Clay’ is a prime opportunity for those seeking a merry diversion."
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Theatre is Easy
December 17th, 2018

"The opening number is genuinely engaging. And throughout the show Studdard—and particularly Aiken—try their best to make the material work, using every firework in their arsenal during lushly orchestrated solos and duets...While the lazy writing might suggest this is a cash grab, it does have a genuine charitable purpose. Overall, fans of Studdard and Aiken will be enthralled; everyone else might find Ruben and Clay merely an agreeable, if forgettable, holiday entertainment."
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Theater Pizzazz
December 13th, 2018

"The Pageant is cute, playing to their respective strengths and personalities...The pageant has the feel of 1970s television variety shows as rendered by Sonny and Cher or the Brady Bunch kids. It’s laden with cheesy jokes and good ones too...The comedy definitely feels burdensome – especially as the evening is a two act when 90 minutes would suffice...The price of admission is worth it just for the singing. The comedy is corny and goofy but it’s an amiable evening."
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Front Row Center
December 12th, 2018

"Overlong, amateurish and under-rehearsed. That being said, there is the kernel of something really workable in there, in the persons of Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard...The best moments in the show happen in the second act when onstage Ruben and Clay serenade video Ruben and Clay...You feel their authenticity...A smaller space would solve some of the problems...This is a cabaret show that should be 90 minutes maximum with no intermission."
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New York Theater
December 11th, 2018

“Like a trip to the moon, since so much of ‘Ruben & Clay’s'...is made of cheese...The two still have strong voices — if anything, their singing has improved. But there is less of it in their show than one might have expected...The singing duties are shared by other cast members, and the music is interspersed with so many lame skits and silly jokes and sentimental videos...It feels like a TV show – one with low ratings in a lesser market.”
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Times Square Chronicles
December 12th, 2018

"These men both have soul, can sing and have fan bases, so why not the Beacon Theatre and a fabulous concert? Instead we get a mediocre show, that is not Broadway caliber...It truly seems this show was put together with no money and not enough rehearsal time. Also when you are as weighed down with such an amateurish script, nothing is going to make it work."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
December 11th, 2018

“A new holiday show for all ages...Features a fast-paced selection of seasonal songs, silly skits, and...their tongue-in-cheek rivalry, along with a serious message about finding the true meaning of the yuletide spirit in hope, love, friendship, and giving...Presented in the format of an old-fashioned TV variety show, with vintage-style humor and pop-culture references...Though not all of the intended humor hits the mark, there’s a lot of corny laughs and goofy fun."
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StageZine
December 12th, 2018

“For those that remember and care to reminisce about Studdard and Aiken...this ‘first annual’ Christmas Show might be something worth taking the entire family to, but anyone else expecting a razzle-dazzle Broadway seasonal extravaganza will be disappointed...Both men still have fantastic voices, and Aiken’s is particularly soaring and suitable for live theater...They would be wise to add a bit more glitz to make everything more 'spectacular' and trim the padding if they return."
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Motherhood Later
December 21st, 2018

"A warm ‘n witty two hour holiday show...Ruben and Clay both rib and support each other and exhibit an earnest rapport, as they make their way (at times awkwardly) through a host of comedic skits and running gags…some better than others. But the real treat here is when they sing...The show could stand a trimming. If it were 90 minutes, no intermission, with a focus on doing what they do best, this singing duo might evolve over time into a slick holiday crooning team."
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On Stage Blog
December 13th, 2018

"Panders and meanders its way through a muddy mix of Christmas songs and jokes, that equal parts put you in the holiday spirit as they do put you to sleep...This show delivers you the perfect nostalgia kick to 2003—if that’s what you’re looking for. Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard have nothing short of electrifying voices...Ultimately, the songs and velvet voices of the stars will leave you filled with warmth and good-will toward all."
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