This world-premiere musical charts the life of Donna Summer, the undisputed Queen of Disco, from her modest Boston childhood to international stardom. Directed by Tony winner Des McAnuff. More…
Told through the dramatic lens of her final concert, 'Summer: The Donna Summer Musical' presents the complexities and conflicts the iconic songwriter and singer faced in her meteoric rise–and descent. Featuring three actresses in the title role and a score with more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “Love to Love You, Baby,” “Bad Girls,” and “Hot Stuff,” this show is a tribute to the voice of a generation.
"A too familiar biographical sketch of an artist who overcame obstacles to achieve success and died too young. Along the way, there's some pretty cringe-worthy dialogue...The saving grace is that the show looks and sounds as exciting as an audience of fans would want...As director, Mr. McAnuff paces the performance sharply and with admirable discipline...It is already a flashy audience favorite. If the writers prop up the book, its future may be even brighter." Full Review
"Her catchy songs, turbulent life and billowing ball gowns are all rich source material, but this show moves almost too fast. While sprawling iconic lives can never quite be tidily summed up in such productions, a few too many milestones in Summer's career are missing here...Despite its missteps, there is still so much to like, particularly the three women portraying the title character in different phases of her life...While this version of her life isn't quite Broadway-ready, it has all the... Full Review
"This may be the most dazzling show ever staged at the Playhouse...But the story, about an emotionally complex woman with at least 12 sides, is CD thin...Every technical effect moves a consistently frenetic pace...You could almost say Brill has created the visual equivalent of disco...If fans of Summer just go for the music, the rewards are many...The music pays a blaring-thumping tribute to the great artist. But along with being skimpy, the book feels tentative and holding certain truths back." Full Review
"It needs a lot of work. The show is both overdone and underdone...A few scenelets that give a cursory glimpse of her experiences, but no depth of insight or character. The other people in her life are ciphers. Donna is said to have broken down barriers, battled prejudice, but we get none of that...There’s no denying that 'Summer' is entertaining. The music is energetic and some of those songs are unforgettable...But the sum total is much more like a concert than a book musical." Full Review
"What’s most surprising about La Jolla Playhouse’s world-premiere Donna Summer musical is how little it seems to engage with that phenomenon or the context it evolved in...Songs are frustratingly condensed in the process...There’s not much sustained music to this musical for a good while...'Summer' delves into plenty of its subject’s difficult personal struggles, but is less adept at showing why she and her music mattered so much to the wider world." Full Review
"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
"The lazy script and perfunctory direction fail to energize the production...The script...dances frantically from one plot point to another with the finesse of a runaway train. All three performers playing Donna strut with empowerment. They have outstanding pipes, and they capture Summer's essence and trademark sexuality...The generic and uninspired writing sells out Summer's significance. More than anything, it's a show full of emptiness." Full Review
See it if You want to see a jukebox musical that captures all the joy of pop music, but performed by a cast that belts out like Broadway divas.
Don't see it if You are expecting an award-winning book of a musical: yes, the story is thin, but the show still works!
See it if You love disco! Incredible singing and an interesting story. Be prepared for weeks of listening to her music after seeing it.
Don't see it if You dislike Disco or Summers; have no room in your heart for sparkle.
See it if If you enjoy listening to Donna Summer’s music and would also like to learn about her life, see this show!
Don't see it if If you don’t like concert type Broadway shows, or Donna Summer’s music, then don’t see this show.
See it if if you like fluffy entertainment and enjoy the music of Donna Summer and appreciate modern casting/staging.
Don't see it if if you want to see a truly developed play with more depth to the characters involved. It felt overreaching.
See it if The music did not sound like Donna Summer, the production had too much resonance and they used women to simulate the men that danced to her
Don't see it if Didn’t sound like Donna Summer and the sound was echoey