Like Audrey Tautou's hair in the film, the new Amélie musical playing Los Angeles's Ahmanson theater and heading to Broadway in the spring, is cute.
Charming goes a long way but without more it's not enough to ignite passion or excitement in theatergoers.
The show's music, written by Daniel Messé is serviceable but lacks grandness. A lot of that probably had to do with the rather pedestrian musical direction from Kimberly Grigbsy. Better orchestrations could have lifted the songs a lot!
More lift is definitely needed throughout the show - and not just sonically. The "big opening number" isn't very big. And if you're going for intimate, Broadway's not the best place for that!
Adam Chanler-Berat is a great actor and singer, but he did not fit the part of the male love interest. He's a Mark in a Rent - a role he's we've seen him do - and he was playing too much against type here, to the detriment of the show.
THANKFULLY, Amélieis worth seeing if for no other reason than Phillipa Soo. We first encountered her in 2013 when we saw her off-Broadway in The Great Comet. In this review, we called her "stunning". A little show called Hamilton happened since then and she is now a bonafide leading lady of the great white way.
Her skills are powerful and plentiful!
A big, brilliant voice and that indescribable "it factor". She radiates every moment she's on stage! And, our favorite parts of the show were when Soo was just by herself singing.
Améliewon't be the cultural sensation that Hamilton was, but fans of Phillipa will leave the theater very pleased with her performance.
P.S. The show feels too long to be performed without an intermission. Hopefully they fix that by the time they arrive in New York!
We missed An Act Of Godwhen it played on Broadway last year with Jim Parsons, but we're extra thankful we were just able to watch the show with Sean Hayes at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles.
The comedy is everything we were expecting - and more!
The set is big for a mostly one man play and the Will & Grace alum is even bigger!
Hayes is so magnetic! And the script, written by, David Javerbaum, with so many custom-tailed jokes not just about the actor but about Hollywood and the city of angels too!
There were even jokes about the election and Kanye West!
This show has been revamped and feels so fresh!
The laughter is nonstop, but underneath the humor are some very serious truths about mankind and why we do what we do. See, on the surface the show might seem like it's about God, but it's really about us.
And, if you go see this, you will be thoroughly entertained!!
Fiddler On The Roofhas played Broadway many times and regionally even more since debuting in the '60s, but Tuesday night was our first experience with the show. Of course we knew the famous songs, but we'd never seen it on stage or watched the film.
It was a thrilling and complicated experience.
We were a bit caught off guard with how funny the show is, yet how also sad it is as well.
This production, thankfully, played went for a more serious approach with the casting. The last Broadway revival starred Harvey Fierstein and Rosie O'Donnell.
We can't really imagine either of them in these roles, but…
Danny Burstein is electric as Tevye!
The whole cast is great and this production features some of the best dancing on Broadway! Phenomenal choreography by Hofesh Shechter. And exquisite singing and harmonizing, especially by the daughters!
The theater looked sold out when we saw it, and we expect this Fiddler to have a very long and healthy run. Deservedly!
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber is responsible for some of the best musicals in theater history! His latest, School Of Rock, is not one of them.
The choice material is not what one would expect of him, which we appreciate. He's trying something new! However, the bar is too high for himself and the genre of kids on Broadway, and this show is not up to par.
Alex Brightman is very charismatic as the inept substitute teacher, but he is living under the shadow of Jack Black as his performance veers too much towards imitation. Instead, a fresh take on this role would have been inspired - like Disney did with the Genie in their new Aladdin musical.
There are a couple of good and very memorable songs in School Of Rock, but the show would have benefitted far more from being a jukebox musical. Having a Stevie Nicks song be such a standout moment doesn't bode too well for your show of original music.
The kids in this production are all very solid. But, just down the street at Matilda, the child performers there are on a whole other level. It definitely helps that they have better material and direction.
Laurence Connor, who directed School Of Rock, did a fine-enough job. But a visionary director, like Alex Timbers, could have made this production so much more compelling!
But, at the end of the day, our opinion is irrelevant. As we were leaving the theater, we overhead this kid telling his mom that School Of Rockwas the best show he'd ever seen. And THAT was awesome!
Allegiance is an important story to tell and a difficult one.
Inspired by his own life, the new Broadway musical stars Star Trek legend George Takei in a dramatization of the time during World War II where over 120,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to concentration camps.
Takei skillfully acts his part, although he isn't giving much material in the singing department.
Thankfully, though, Broadway and Disney legend Lea Salonga is utilized to the best of her abilities and delivers THAT VOICE, which is easily one of the top three of all time in musical theater.
Telly Leung does a fine job of playing the war hero, or is he the anti-hero of Allegiance? His character, more often than not, comes across as unlikeable. And that's a major problem for a protagonist of a show.
The music is good, if not the most memorable.
Act I felt long, but Act II flies by and really tugs at the heartstrings.
In addition to Salonga, we also were blown away by Katie Rose Clarke as the nurse with the heart of gold.
There is a lot of pain in Allegiance, but - thankfully - director Stafford Arima does a brilliant job of not making the show too dark and of finding the beauty in the bleak. The way he represents the bombing of Hiroshima is so inspired! His formations and choices are to be strongly lauded.
Perez is a diehard and lifelong Gloria Estefan fan! So the bar was set high for the new Broadway musical,On Your Feet, based on her life and that of her husband, Emilio.
This show not only met our expectations - it exceeded them!
On Your Feetwill please the casual Gloria fan and also satisfy her most ardent admirers.
The show was masterfully crafted by Oscar-winning stage and screenwriter Alexander Dinelaris. His script weaves us between Miami and Cuba from the 70s, 60s, 80s and early 90s.
And the story that is told on the stage of the Marquis Theater could not be any more timely!
Yes, of course, the show touches on Gloria's nearly fatal bus accident. But that doesn't even happen until Act 2!
Instead, On Your Feetis a love story and an immigrant tale. It is inspiring and revealing!
There was a lot we did not know before, which shocked us! Notably: it was a surprise to learn that Gloria become estranged from her mother for two years at the height of her success, and that her sister "got in with the wrong crowd" around the same time too.
For a Cuban family to reveal those two things to the public - that's major!
And that's the kind of investment Gloria and Emilio made in this show! They are telling their story and telling its as authentically as possible!
Jerry Mitchell does a great job of adding great production value and making this show fit on Broadway.
And Ana Villafane was destined to play the role of Gloria! She is channeling her fellow Cubana up on that stage!!!
Gloria and Emilio did the orchestrations for Get On Your Feet and the music really shines in this show! It may surprise you how many ballads and midtempo songs are featured - we cried our eyes out - but the show ends with a bang, concert-style. Literally! There's a nearly 6 minute encore medley of uptempo hits to send you off on your way and raving to all your friends about how good On Your Feetis!
Hasan Minhaj hosted the, well, weird night, and he delivered some jokes -- and that included a good handful of ones about Trump even though he didn't want to be involved. He touched on Russia, Trump's NUMEROUS problems with the press, and all the issues facing minorities and basically everyone Trump is attacking.
The comedian also took some time to roast the Trump kids who have foolishly supported their dad just because he's that, their dad.
But our fave part had to be Minhaj calling out Trump as a liar because that is straight up what he is! It's not even a joke!
So unless you are Trump himself, watch and enjoy the roasting (above)!