Previews start Mar 28

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (Broadway)

7 reviews
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After an extended run in La Jolla, the new musical about the 70s disco queen hits Broadway with a score featuring more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “Love to Love You, Baby;” “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff."

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She was a girl from Boston with a voice from heaven, who shot through the stars from gospel choir to dance floor diva. But what the world didn’t know was how Donna Summer risked it all to break through barriers, becoming the icon of an era, and the supreme queen for every diva who followed. Directed by Tony Winner Des McAnuff ('Jersey Boys').

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Reviews (7)

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Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "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

San Diego Union-Tribune

for a previous production "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

Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "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

San Diego Reader

for a previous production "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


for a previous production "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

The Hollywood Reporter

for a previous production "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

Times of San Diego

for a previous production "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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
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