Bullets Over Broadway is a fine show. Unfortunately, fine isn't good enough for a Tony nomination for Best Musical nor is it likely to help sustain a long run.
The new stage adaptation of Woody Allen's film is firing blanks.
The show was poised to be a big smash of the current season, with an all-star cast lead by Zach Braff and spearheaded by an all-star director, Susan Stroman.
While Stroman's last Broadway musical, Big Fish, was spectacular and filled with wonder, awe, imagination and playfulness - Bullets Over Broadway is "by the book".
Harmless. Inoffensive. Not a bad time. But not a great time.
It's all been done before. Mobsters. Self-reflection. Etc. Etc.
A lot of the blame lies on the material. The songs chosen are little-known jazz standards from the early 20th century. If they're "little-known", that should tell you something about the quality of the tunes!
The show's other big weakness is that not every movie works on the stage. Allen's characters from the film don't hold up well when having the spotlight on them and amplified on Broadway.
They aren't characters as much as they are caricatures.
There's Braff doing Woody. There's a girl doing a Cyndi Lauper impression. There's all these fine actors giving fine performances, but it's hard to relate to any of them because these characters are drawn so superficially.
There are, however, two standout performances.
Once again, Betsy Wolfe proves she is one of the top leading ladies on Broadway! Not only does she have one of the best voices, but she is also such a superb actress! She infuses the show with so much heart and humanity, something it's sorely lacking.
And the other standout Nick Cordero, who turns his one-dimensional role into a fully-fleshed and fantastic portrayal!