Broadway Maven

Chicago | 50-64 | Male
About:  Passionate Lover of Musicals and Theatre from the 1960's to the Present. I Enjoy Seeing & Discussing the Classics and Ground-Breaking New Works. Theatre, Music & Movie Trivia are Favorite Pastimes. I Visit NYC at least 3 Times a Year to See all the Latest New Productions.
Reviews (32)
70
During previews
The Great Society
Upper W Side
Docudrama, Overrated, Slow, Ambitious

See it if you’re a student of History or enjoy docudramas. The play is well staged but lacks theatrical sizzle & deeper insight into its characters.

Don't see it if you need fast-paced plays that challenge your ideas & emotions. This often seems more like a re-enactment of history than exciting theatre.

Also Although, I admired “The Great Society” for all of its ambitions, this... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Disappointing, Lacks an edge, Talented cast

See it if you love parodies & have seen lots of Broadway. If you’re a follower of past installments, this needs a sharper edge.

Don't see it if you expect to laugh & giggle at pure, shameless fun. The insights & observations on the current state of Broadway lack true wit & satire.

Also I’ve seen many of the past installments of “Forbidden Broadway” but th... Read more Read less

80
During previews
Provocative, Indulgent, Funny, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if you like serious underlying themes with your comedy. These characters & racial situations are challenging, provocative & uncomfortable.

Don't see it if you’re too impatient to sit for over 2 hours without a break. The play is well acted & staged but too long & the second part needs trimming.

Also “Slave Play” by Jeremy O. Harris is an engaging, provocative & funny n... Read more Read less

68
Empty, Gorgeous sets & costumes, Overrated, Disappointing

See it if you like fluffy, Vegas-y musicals w/pop tunes galore & shows that are all style over substance. You’ll come out humming the sets & costumes!

Don't see it if you need more than eye-popping visuals and one knockout performance by Danny Burstein to hold your interest. Aimed at the tourist crowds.

Also Who could have thought that this splashy, $30 million extravaganza bas... Read more Read less

80
Disappointing, Intense, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like new concept musicals with some great performances, jazz-infused tunes, moody atmosphere and constantly inventive staging.

Don't see it if you need fully-rounded, believable characters, a varied score and different source material. Razor thin plot. Lots of style over substance.

Also Director Rachel Chavkin has created the real magic here with her atmos... Read more Read less

85
Funny, Entertaining, Great singing, Refreshing

See it if you loved “Tootsie,” the film, but want to see how something can be successfully re-imagined for the stage. This is surprisingly funny.

Don't see it if you like stage adaptations where the film is literally transferred to the stage, word for word. This approach never works.

Also Broadway producers who are adapting movies for the stage should see ho... Read more Read less

78
During previews
Great acting, Great staging and sets, Talky, Historical characters

See it if you like Janet McTeer and strong acting by a talented ensemble or enjoy plays based on historical characters.

Don't see it if you don’t like talky, deliberately -paced plays that are over-written and underdeveloped but based on well-known, historical characters.

Also Theresa Rebeck’s promising but under-developed play, “Bernhardt/Hamlet... Read more Read less

85
During previews
The Nap (Broadway)
Midtown W
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Dizzying

See it if you know nothing about British billiards (snooker) and love funny, cleverly-plotted, twisty plays with a great ensemble.

Don't see it if you have little patience for talky, intricate plays with heavy British accents or subjects that you think won’t hold your interest.

Also This dizzying, cleverly-plotted play about a young & talented but inco... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Carmen Jones
East Village
Great singing, Beautiful score, Must see, Sensual, Spellbinding

See it if you love Bizet’s classic operatic score, or you want to experience superlative singing, creative staging & a knockout ensemble. A Must See!

Don't see it if you only like big, commercial Broadway shows that are bombastic or you dislike artsy, minimalist stagings of older classics.

Also I’ve just seen Classic Stage Co.’s superb production of “Carmen Jones,... Read more Read less

90
Exquisite, Great writing, Relevant, Enchanting, Sumptuous

See it if you love Shaw’s story and the classic Lerner & Lowe score, or if you think old musicals can’t be updated or made more relevant today.

Don't see it if you don’t enjoy musicals with excellence in every department.

Also Unlike the disappointing re-do of “Carousel,” this feminist re-imagini... Read more Read less

78
Ambitious, Cliched, Absorbing, Thoughtful

See it if you enjoy thoughtful, intimate musicals with Jewish & LGBT themes.

Don't see it if you don’t like musicals that cram in too many subjects & ideas and have too many shifts in mood.

Also “A Letter to Harvey Milk” is a well-intentioned, at times, touching mu... Read more Read less

85
Great staging, Great singing, Absorbing, Riveting, Exquisite tango dancing

See it if you’ve never seen an Encores! revival, or you enjoy darker, romantic & decadent musicals reminiscent of “Cabaret” by Kander and Ebb.

Don't see it if you prefer lighter musicals, or you don’t like multi-character plots with Brechtian overtones & haunting music reminiscent of Kurt Weill.

Also I’d never been able to see an “Encores” presentation before because th... Read more Read less

88
Ambitious, Absorbing, Documentary musical, Great singing, Heartwarming

See it if 9/11 is a subject you want to re-examine from a different angle or if you wouldn’t have thought it possible to musicalize this tragic event.

Don't see it if you don’t like a 12-cast ensemble playing dozens of characters & enacting a historical piece with minimal sets, costumes and staging.

Also “Come From Away,” written by the husband & wife team of David Hein and... Read more Read less

85
Enchanting, Confusing, Great staging, Great singing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like fairy tale musicals with great singing & immersive staging, a strong cast & a melodic score with infectious Caribbean rhythms!

Don't see it if you don’t like musicals with messages that are convoluted or over simplified and the sound is over amplified causing lyrics to be missed.

Also The revival of “Once on This Island” is presented in the round and env... Read more Read less

100
Enchanting, Refreshing, Profound, Exquisite, Resonant

See it if you’re tired of the glitziness & over-the-top wailing of most Broadway fare. This is a haunting, romantic & heaven-sent musical for adults.

Don't see it if you have no patience for slowness & subtlety in plot & action, or you dislike stories about isolated people yearning to make a connection.

Also “The Band’s Visit” arrives on Broadway as something like a miracle. Th... Read more Read less

90
Great writing, Resonant, Great acting, Funny, Must see

See it if you want a wild, theatrical roller coaster ride or if you think the dark politics of the Reagan era are behind us and not resonant.

Don't see it if you’re a sheltered individual easily upset by adult content, lgbt themes & frank language, or you prefer lighter entertainment.

Also A fresh, powerful revival of Kushner’s grand opus seems as potently re... Read more Read less

95
During previews
The Inheritance
Midtown W
Packs an emotional wallop, Spectacular ensemble, Beautiful writing, Funny and profound

See it if you love revisionist plays based on classics. Even if you’re unfamiliar with “Howard’s End,” this LGBT-themed production packs a wallop.

Don't see it if you’re not into memorable, adult, emotional plays. This is a beautiful, intensely involving theatrical experience that is richly rewarding.

Also Whether or not you’re familiar with E.M. Forster’s classic novel, “How... Read more Read less

60
During previews
Scotland, PA
Midtown W
Talented cast, Slow, Cliched, Disappointing, Quirky

See it if you like new musicals whether they’re ready for prime time or not. This work needs much sharper writing and a more specific point of view.

Don't see it if you expect a fully realized musical. It’s too campy in its approach & execution. The clever premise needs stronger performers & direction.

Also What does “Scotland, PA” want to be exactly? Is it satire, is it dark ... Read more Read less

88
Wicked (NYC)
Midtown W
Must see, Entertaining, Great staging, Enchanting

See it if you enjoy a landmark production. Great staging, dazzling sets & costumes & an inspired, heartfelt performance by Hannah Corneau as Elphaba.

Don't see it if you don’t like re-imagined classic stories or don’t enjoy Broadway musical spectacles.

Also I saw “Wicked” in its original production 16 years ago & recently re-v... Read more Read less

79
Quirky, Romantic, Indulgent, Epic, Ambitious

See it if you’ve never seen “King Lear” or the towering Ms. Jackson on stage before. Gold directs a wildly uneven production of Shakespeare’s opus.

Don't see it if you don’t like a 2 hour first act (which flies by), intrusive music or acting styles that are all over the place.

Also This Sam Gold production of “King Lear” has some great performances & ... Read more Read less

25
Ear-numbing, Excruciating, Cliched, Banal

See it if you can’t discern a quality musical from a loud, obnoxious one or you’re a hyperactive tween that can’t sit still or can’t hear.

Don't see it if you want a musical with memorable tunes and witty lyrics, or one where the performances and decibel level are not loudly over-the-top.

Also I didn’t see “Be More Chill” in its original, off-Broadway version but... Read more Read less

58
Cliched, Disappointing, Good songs, Superficial

See it if you like songs of the 60’s and themes of women’s empowerment sung by talented, if inconsistent, singers.

Don't see it if you expect to get higher quality writing, directing and performing with your off-Broadway musical entertainment.

Also It seems that there is a promising idea with this show about women’s e... Read more Read less

78
Great singing, Fluffy, Enchanting, Quirky

See it if you love Lerner and Lane’s sumptuous score, or you want to hear these timeless songs beautifully sung.

Don't see it if you don’t enjoy bare bones revivals of quirky Broadway musicals that were not big successes.

Also Irish Rep’s beguiling, trimmed-down revival of Alan Jay Lerner & Burto... Read more Read less

78
During previews
Ambitious, Entertaining, Great singing, Fantastic costumes, Unfocused

See it if you love Cher, you love her music, or you want to see & hear several performers with amazing vocal talents.

Don't see it if you don’t like bio musicals that lack focus & specificity, or you lose patience when a show is long & over complicated.

Also Visiting “The Cher Show” a couple weeks after my first visit, things h... Read more Read less

80
Funny, Entertaining, Resonant, Great writing, Beautiful set

See it if you’ve never seen this 1968 “landmark” gay play or film or if you like Broadway adaptations with a cast of big name actors in the ensemble.

Don't see it if you think the play not relevant or you want a definitive production of a flawed but fascinating examination of gay characters & themes.

Also Fifty years after it’s off-Broadway debut, Mart Crowley’s flawed but f... Read more Read less

75
Cliched, Entertaining, Great singing, Disappointing

See it if you love Donna Summer & her music but are okay with fluffy & silly bio musicals that aren’t in-depth portraits.

Don't see it if you need substance and details in your bio musicals or you like a raw, edgy examination of an iconic singer.

Also “Summer” the musical is a definite curiosity... Read more Read less

70
Great singing, Fluffy, Entertaining, Standard score, Cliched

See it if you like the movie and want to revisit the story, dialogue & characters, or if you like fluffy, romantic fare that is mildly entertaining.

Don't see it if you felt the movie was just okay & don’t love the story & characters, or you prefer your Broadway muscals to be edgy & thought-provoking.

Also When will creators of Broadway musicals realize that movies are not th... Read more Read less

82
Entertaining, Remarkable lead performance, Stupendous sets & costumes, Great staging, Clever fun

See it if you’re a fan of the show, you’ve never seen the show, you have kids to entertain, you love splashy Sets & Costumes, or are really a big kid!

Don't see it if you can’t enjoy silliness, you detest shows aimed at kids, you don’t like campy musicals with loopy visuals or music from many songwriters.

Also “SpongeBob-the Musical” would not have been on my radar as something t... Read more Read less

88
Entertaining, Gorgeous costumes, Great acting, Enchanting, Great singing

See it if you love Bernadette Peters; you want to see a superior Dolly Levi with presence, sass, sexiness, vulnerability & impeccable comic timing.

Don't see it if you don’t want to see another revival of an old-fashioned Broadway chesnut or you prefer musicals that are edgier and more contemporary.

Also I have seen all three Dolly’s since “Hello Dolly” returned to Broadway... Read more Read less

40
Banal, Fluffy, Insipid, Disappointing, Dumb

See it if you love the music of Jimmy Buffett & like fluff with not much plot, conflict or character development, or if you want to just sing along.

Don't see it if you aren’t a Buffet fan, or if you need a little more substance in your Broadway shows. The book, characters & plot are very flimsy.

Also If you’re a Jimmy Buffet fan or you’re just going to a Broadway show f... Read more Read less

92
Funny, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if you crave adult plays with brilliant writing, great acting & superb staging, or you enjoy profound meditations on the mysteries of life.

Don't see it if existentialist plays about aging and death are not your cup of tea or you don’t like plays that are talky and challenging for the audience.

Also “Three Tall Women” is playwright Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Slow, Disappointing, Overrated, Dated, Great singing

See it if you haven’t heard this famous score sung well, or to hear “If I Loved You” & “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” two of Broadway’s greatest songs!

Don't see it if you want to see a definitive production. Miscasting, a dated book & tired direction result in a disappointing, misguided Broadway revival.

Also This revival of Rogers & Hammerstein’s classic is rather dull and a mi... Read more Read less