Charles McNulty

Charles McNulty is a critic with Los Angeles Times. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (52)
65
Los Angeles Times

"The show stars Broadway divinity Kelli O’Hara, who endows whatever musical role she’s playing with coloratura splendor. Muscularly directed by Scott Ellis, the production showcases Warren Carlyle’s exhilarating choreography...No one is likely to go home feeling outraged or under-entertained. Yet some essential human chemistry is missing...That sense of seductive inevitability, which was ever-present in the 1999 Broadway revival, is roughhoused out of Ellis’ production." Full Review

55
Los Angeles Times

"A better show than 'Summer.' And by better I mean it’s a glitzier and more entertaining ride. But once again the math is off: One singular superstar is infinitely greater than the sum of her theatrical knockoffs...This is a jukebox musical, where biography is processed through a kind of playwriting Auto-Tune...Ludicrously long. At times it felt as if I were doing a marathon of laps in a pool of glitter. But when 'Believe' blasts and the three Chers are encircled by hunks, it’s impossible not... Full Review

30
Los Angeles Times

"I am terrified of the monstrous concoction that has been cooked up in the international laboratory of mercenary producers eager to remake Broadway in the image of Barnum & Bailey. The best thing about this tourist attraction is Kong himself...'King Kong' doesn’t simply come up short as a stage translation of a landmark horror film. It actually manages to fit around this failure one of the most ludicrous Broadway musicals in recent memory." Full Review

75
Los Angeles Times

"Better at conveying the band’s story through the music than through Dominique Morisseau’s book. The narrative is loose and conventional, but nothing can get in the way of the production’s vibrancy when the actors are grooving at full tilt...What the performers do manage to replicate to perfection is the energy of the music...It’s the showmanship, not the story, that makes 'Ain’t Too Proud' an entertaining addition to the admittedly lesser jukebox genre." Full Review

45
Los Angeles Times

“The main problem...is easily diagnosed: The music of the Go-Go’s isn’t a natural fit for a story that traffics in faux Elizabethan iambic pentameter...’Head Over Heels’ comes across as a grab bag of theatrical games...Rather than involve us emotionally in the fate of the characters, the show seems content to have us cheer-lead the triumph of LGBTQ values...This jukebox experiment doesn’t succeed, but...at the end, some genuine new wave Elizabethan feeling sneaks through.” Full Review

90
Los Angeles Times

"I had seen Marianne Elliott's production in London last summer and was blown away by how Kushner's masterwork spoke directly to the crisis we're facing today in Trump's America. In particular, the character of Roy Cohn, incarnated by Nathan Lane with insolent glee, seemed to channel the voice of the current political zeitgeist...Elliott's production earns the optimism that has troubled me in the past...No play can repair the world, but 'Angels' offers us a timeless road map." Full Review

95
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production “A spectacular production...This new ‘Vanya’ has a conversational smoothness...The words tumble naturally from the mouths of the actors...This Old Globe production modernizes Chekhov's play without updating it...Every minute is imbued with a density of life...One of the most exquisite renderings of ‘Uncle Vanya’...a heartbreaking reading of the play that retains just enough of the original's sly humor to be truly Chekhovian...Pitch-perfect ensemble.” Full Review

45
Los Angeles Times

"I don’t need this flimsy bio musical, and neither do you...The lack of playwriting imagination is startling...Certainly no shortage of danceable tunes. But the way the songs are cut up suggests that what works well on the dance floor isn’t necessarily effective onstage. The backstory of the music is often clunky and contrived, but there are moments of genuine feeling...The musical is such a patchwork that the chapters of Summer’s life flash by in cursory fashion. Nothing has much impact." Full Review

45
Los Angeles Times

"The lesson he wants us to take home is a noble one...But these plucky narratives, largely recycled from his writings and talks, have the monotonous ring of an infomercial for his brand. I have no political beef with Moore...But I found myself cringing at the self-congratulatory applause that would break out when he would utter one of his pieties...'Surrender' would be less objectionable if he were driving around the country in a bus and delivering these monologues...for $10 a head." Full Review

65
Los Angeles Times

"Baker moves beyond the easy target of the entertainment industry to satirize the cultural mystification surrounding the art of storytelling...The play, filled with eccentric touches from the start, gets stranger as it goes along...'The Antipodes' feels like a transitional play...The dramatic journey, delightful in its micro moments, keeps doubling back on itself in a way that is ultimately more intellectually intriguing than theatrically satisfying." Full Review

60
Los Angeles Times

"'Groundhog Day' has the narrative makings of a successful musical comedy. So what’s gone wrong?—or should I say only half right?...Matthew Warchus finds clever theatrical solutions to deal with the inherently cinematic nature of the material...The fundamental problem with the show has to do with the monotony of musical storytelling...'Groundhog Day' is ultimately a vehicle for Karl’s virtuosity...Let’s hope fate eventually frees him up for a more satisfying musical." Full Review

75
LA Stage Times

for a previous production "The play reveals the author’s relative inexperience through creaky exposition and crude plotting, but it also flaunts his comic audacity and fearless iconoclasm. McDonagh re-creates traditional Irish family drama only to set it ablaze with a postmodern blowtorch...The play still provides a jangly theatrical escape for those who don’t mind when a fable leaves them recoiling." Full Review

35
Los Angeles Times

"I found it hard to believe that the characters were even related...The effect of this shifting character balance is a smaller play about addiction and its repercussions in the home. O'Neill knew alcoholics the way Wordsworth knew daffodils, but he didn't write a 12-step drama…If great ensembles are a credit to their directors, ineffective ones point to where the blame should be laid.…This O'Neill outing felt like an endless exercise in Beckettian waiting." Full Review

70
Los Angeles Times

"The emptiness at the heart of 'American Psycho' is the source of both its originality and its eventual tediousness. What succeeds as satiric comedy falters when the mood turns more serious. But when the show works, it does so with tremendous flair. This isn't another 'Sweeney Todd,' but its sharp style lifts it above the mercenary rung of most musicals spun from pop cultural ephemera." Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

"Gurira's drama occasionally meanders, losing momentum and character sharpness. Tommy's production, however, is exceptionally vivid...Original music and sound design and lighting help maintain the intensity of the drama even when the writing goes slack...This is an ensemble piece, not a star vehicle, but Nyong'o can't help standing out...Her plight is terrifying, and Nyong'o makes the tragedy achingly personal." Full Review

75
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "This appearance is really more of a tease, an occasion for sketch comedy rather than prophetic drama...Is this what passes for a hit Broadway comedy these days? Are we really expected to take any of this theology seriously?...But of course there's nothing wrong with light diversion, especially when served with Hayes' eye-brow-arched flair...It's about time someone took politicians and sports heroes to task for vainly invoking His name in victory." Full Review

95
Los Angeles Times

"I'd be happy to see this transformative revival at least a dozen more times…A spiritually transcendent theatricalization of the tale that had me silently shouting 'hallelujah' and 'amen.' Doyle is aided by a glorious female cast…Through this directorial legerdemain the drama achieves the force and fluidity of a Gospel service. ...Emotion soars as despair and despondency give way to forgiveness…'The Color Purple' has finally found the freedom it needed to attain sublimity." Full Review

20
Los Angeles Times

"If eavesdropping on a switchboard is your idea of drama, then 'China Doll' is the play of your dreams. (I was secretly hoping Mickey would holler for Carson to get Mamet a play doctor.) The playwright toys with a number of dramatic possibilities but never finds conviction...Reports of Pacino having difficulty memorizing his lines have been circulating...But I would defy anyone to try to learn a script so vexingly stylized it seems as though it could only be a Mamet parody." Full Review

75
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "The play has geeks, tongue-in-cheek fight scenes and action that could have sprung from a comic book targeted to millennials wearing thick black glasses and skinny jeans...The play moves back and forth in time in a hectic rhythm that can make it tricky initially to keep track of the characters and the chronology...'Vietgone' careens wildly, threatening whiplash to heighten our amusement. By the end, however, this riotous theatrical cartoon won me over with its simple honesty." Full Review

55
Los Angeles Times

"Unfortunately, the subtextual wrangling gets lost on the big stage. 'Old Times' needs a more intimate house. The language too often floats free of the characters here. Pinter's dazzling non sequiturs don't seem psychologically rooted...Transplanting the delicate weirdness of "Old Times" to Broadway seems absurdist in all the wrong ways." Full Review

100
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "This version of 'Spring Awakening' must go down as a rousing success. Beyond the enthralling scenic design, the production has a youthful ensemble vigor that reanimates the joyful sense of discovery while recalling the anxiety, sorrow and disillusionment that are every bit as much a part of growing up. Deaf West's admirable inclusiveness seduces us through its artfulness. This is a show for anyone who wants to see a contemporary American musical superbly done." Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production “A beguiling one-woman show…This rough-hewn offering provided a memorable showcase for the marvelous eccentricities of an Actors Studio original...It was also an opportunity to become better acquainted with Angelica's own considerable gifts as a performer…For those who have been touched by Page's sorcery — and I personally don't know any great actor who hasn't been — Angelica's virtuosic conjuring of her mother's spirit is something to behold." Full Review

90
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "What could be the points of connection between an avant-garde performance company and this monastic tradition? Nothing on the surface, but dig deeper and you'll find the same proud insularity, daily commitment to work and openness to the grace of inspiration..."Early Shaker Spirituals," a brief work that could probably be presented as effectively as a theatrical installation in a gallery, reminds us that artists following a true calling are secular saints." Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production 'There have been plenty of new American musicals better put together than "Fun Home," but I can't think of one in recent years that has touched me as much with its tender, ironic and courageous vulnerability." Full Review

45
Los Angeles Times

""Kinky Boots," has arrived fresh off the assembly line, hoping to make a bundle with its generic sequins and bland uplift. This slavering-to-please production is a tall, overstuffed wedding cake crammed with so much sugary filling that even those with an insatiable sweet tooth might prefer a slice of cantaloupe instead." Full Review

45
Los Angeles Times

"The heightened intensity is part of the originality. But the relentlessness is wearying and the hyperbolic style is at odds with the protagonist’s predictable emotional arc...Iconis writes in an indie-rock style that succeeds chiefly in conveying the inner turmoil shaking the characters. The clobbering effect is potent yet monotonous...With a 2½-hour rackety running time, the musical’s dimensions are out of whack." Full Review

80
Los Angeles Times

"Sorkin's reworking moves as confidently as it speaks even if it doesn’t completely add up dramatically. To adapt a high school classic to the stage one must take ownership...Quarrel all you want with the liberties that are taken, Sorkin, Sher and an impeccable cast have created something provocatively fresh...That the roles of the children are played by adult actors isn’t at all an issue. It’s the writing that occasionally lets the youth down." Full Review

65
Los Angeles Times

"The writing can be strained and mechanical, but it inches toward a greater complexity...The production, directed by Kenny Leon, occasionally hits its marks too insistently...'American Son' Isn’t a play for the decades, never mind for the ages. But it speaks directly to our grievous times. If the playwright’s limitations are conspicuous, his knowledge of criminal-justice realities brings an uncompromising verisimilitude to an ending that should leave Broadway audiences gasping for breath." Full Review

55
Los Angeles Times

“For all its ostentatious faults, ‘Pretty Woman’ is helped by the charisma of its leads...Barks is a vibrant musical theater performer. She can’t usurp Roberts...but when she sings, she owns the stage...The chemistry between Barks and Karl may not be intensely sexual, but it is romantic, and this flawed show depends on the compatibility of their radiant talents to cover up the myriad shortcomings in a musical serving old wine in a new bottle.” Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

"Mantello's smoothly calibrated staging takes care of any awkwardness in the structure...Jackson may not draw out the full range her role's tragicomic music, but her mercilessness potently conveys the playwright's existential realism...A smaller venue would draw us in more quietly to a vision better served by understatement. But Albee's writing is sublimely searing, Mantello's staging is magnificent to behold and these three larger-than-life actresses are nothing short of transfixing." Full Review

65
Los Angeles Times

"Were there more enchantment to this relentlessly perky stage adaptation of the highest-grossing animated movie in history, my mind probably wouldn't have strayed from the path of fantasy and fallen victim to the mudslide of fact...If truth in advertising prevailed, the marquee would read, 'Moderately entertaining and fortified with vitamins and minerals!'...Grandage lays too much emphasis on the psychology of characters who can't sustain the weight of so much dramatic complexity." Full Review

55
Los Angeles Times

“The daffy non-sequiturs are delivered with lunatic aplomb...But the play is still the play, which is to say it’s barely a play at all...The enjoyment of the actors compensates (to a degree) for the deficiencies in the writing...The deeper significance of the work may have to do with the superficiality of our celebrity culture, which normalizes theatergoers paying top dollar for the privilege of having no artistic experience whatsoever." Full Review

90
Los Angeles Times

“A performance that few lucky enough to attend will ever forget…Springsteen could easily have turned his autobiography over to Broadway hacks, who would have jumped at the chance at adapting his life story into a jukebox musical. But thankfully he created something more artfully haunting…His prose, even when overripe, conveys the richness of his heart. But his presence onstage communicates his soul...Broadway, it turns out, is an ideal highway for his mature artistry.” Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

"Gold’s direction isn’t always precisely calibrated, but Laurie Metcalf redeems the production with her sorcery...Shifts rapidly from laughter to fury to sorrow to somber acceptance. I can’t think of many performers capable of Metcalf’s fearless extremes. The agility of her acting, the way she can reverse course while making it seem like she’s simply following the logic of her character, is a marvel. Her performance in Hnath’s smart play is one of the headier pleasures of this Broadway season." Full Review

90
Los Angeles Times

“A favorite star finally performing the role she was destined to play...The blissful production operates under the principle that golden age musicals should keep intensifying the pleasure of the audience until a state of euphoria is achieved…A touch of hoarseness may have diminished Midler's range, but it didn’t interfere with her ability to communicate the emotional truth…Half the fun of seeing Midler and Pierce face off comes from watching two pros at the top of their game." Full Review

75
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "The musical adaptation reinvents the movie’s frolicsome charm…Soo seems to be relying at this point more on her presence than her acting. Soo’s Amélie is shy, beautiful, genial — and a little bland. The character’s individual contours aren’t fully drawn yet…But these quibbles likely won’t keep you from getting swept up in the fun of this larky show…And every time Soo opens her mouth to sing, the stars in Paris’ night sky shine brighter." Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

“Never has anything this educational been so sensationally staged...The powerhouse stage presences of Wolfe's actors have to compensate for characters who are only incompletely sketched...What ‘Shuffle Along’ lacks in drama it makes up for in sophisticated showmanship...The second best new musical of the Broadway year...The beauty, poignancy and breathtaking verve of this production are the product of a unique solidarity between troupers of different eras." Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

"Admittedly, the comic coincidences and plot conveniences don't stand the test of realism and the ending is sentimental in a non-rom-com way. But the show's heart is earned through the beauty and integrity of Mueller's work...'Waitress' wears its flaws on its uniform sleeve, but the naked honesty of Mueller's singing is enough to make an overscheduled theater critic wish that the curtain would never come down." Full Review

95
Los Angeles Times

"Daniels has graduated to brilliant in the Broadway premiere at the Belasco. Here he shares the stage with the intensely captivating Michelle Williams, in a production by Mantello that perfectly calibrates the volatile sexual chemistry of the leads...They fight to a draw, leaving us even more disturbed by a play that unsettles us not by telling us what to think but by provoking within us feelings that are impossible to reconcile." Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "A modest and compassionate solo work based on interviews and conversations with child survivors of the Holocaust...Satie doesn't bring these women to life much beyond their childhood tales. But the respectful way she communicates what they lived through is perfectly measured. Sentimental flourishes are banished in Anita Khanzadian's simple and direct staging. These witnesses are witnessed with quiet love." Full Review

80
Fly
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "Because of the nature of the historical material, the rudimentary dramatic outline is less of a drawback than it might otherwise be. If the playwriting isn't always especially sophisticated, it has the virtues of being intelligently distilled and briskly delivered. The characterizations are writ large. Each is individually contoured, but the weight of history works against too much subtlety. The 4 actors are at their most effective when singing a military song or marching in stylish lockstep. " Full Review

65
Los Angeles Times

"The kids are downright charming — a breath of fresh air in a musical that too often settles for stale competence…Between the cacophonous score and over-obvious book, I was ready to pronounce 'School of Rock' a miserable failure before the first act was even halfway through, but something happens once Dewey decides to turn his classroom into an incubator for the next Mick Jagger and Janis Joplin…'School of Rock' squeaks by with the lowest of passing grades." Full Review

80
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "Rebecca Taichman's darkly entrancing production lends the material theatrical urgency and sizzle...The circumscribed scope isn't always dramatically convincing, but the play's alternative moral vision is moving in its passionate conviction...'Indecent' reminds us of the power of art to tell us truths long before we are able to recognize them as such." Full Review

80
Los Angeles Times

"Daniel Aukin's production is sensationally acted...Arianda vividly embodies the conflict between May's sensuality and shame...But the revelation for me was Rockwell, who sheds new light on Eddie...The nonrealistic elements of the production are a tad too italicized here." Full Review

70
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "Has its share of memorable moments, to be sure...'The Object Lesson' has the rhythm of an impromptu show-and-tell, with Sobelle hemming and hawing from one section to the next, even though he's no doubt following a script...The lack of a narrative flow is a liability. There are pockets when nothing much seems to be happening but Sobelle aimlessly scurrying...It's only in the final section that 'The Object Lesson' attains a density of surreal meaning." Full Review

45
Los Angeles Times

"How do you solve a problem like "Gigi"?...Director Eric Schaeffer tries to distract us from the way political correctness has sanitized the story and made it soppier while lessening the stakes...A solution to 'Gigi' has not been found... It's the music that tempts us back to "Gigi," and hearing the score cascade from a live orchestra is an undeniable treat. But in an attempt to bring the story up to 21st century standards, the new 'Gigi' only seems more dated." Full Review

45
Los Angeles Times

"There are laughs, to be sure, in this comedy that begins with a phone call in the dead of night and proceeds to find humor in hospital vigils, confusing last wishes and grief transmuted into lust and greed. But stretched out over the length of about three and a half episodes of "Curb," the show huffs and puffs its way to the finish line like a geriatric marathoner wheeling an oxygen tank behind him." Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "Winnie, like all of us, is being buried alive by time. But while she has her Willie semi-sentient by her side, it is another happy day. This richly inhabited production, suffused with the tender solace of human connection in the existential void, gives us a less ironic reason to rejoice." Full Review

40
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "An attentive production...Those with a penchant for homespun elegy playfully whipped up may enjoy 'Smokefall,' but the work is really a collection of derivative themes in search of a fleshed-out drama...The despair running under the surface of Haidle's play doesn't quite justify the sickly sweet way the characters interact...This isn't an actual family — it's a playwriting conceit." Full Review

80
Los Angeles Times

“The Book of Mormon has the old-fashioned musical comedy heart of adults who spent much of their adolescence lip-syncing to original cast albums in their finished basements." Full Review