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Perez Reviews: Clinton, The Musical

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

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Get ready to be transported back to the '90s!

Clinton, The Musical takes you back to the scandals that plagued former President Bill and his wife, Hillary. And there were many!

The show is playing just where it belongs at the best off-Broadway house in New York City, New World Stages.

The theater is big - seating close to 400 - and real money was spent on the wonderful set and production design by Bowulf Borrit.

The songs are fun and effective - and definitely green. Clinton, The Musical's score was written by Paul Hodge, who is still in school! He's getting his Ph.D in music composition.

The show is tight - without an intermission - and featuring a truly sensational cast of Broadway all-stars, including Kerry Butler, Judy Gold and John Treacy Egan.

Clinton, The Musical is camp and niche and a lighthearted, silly, fun night out!

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Perez Reviews: Gigi on Broadway

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesVanessa HudgensPerez Reviews

Gigi is back Gigion Broadway for the first time since 1973 - with a new book and a former Disney star in the title role.

This revamped Gigi has been sanitized and given The Pretty Woman treatment, without Julia Roberts or the heightened stakes that made that movie so effective.

Even though the Gigi is about a "courtesan" - a high class hooker - this new version of the show has taken the prostitute out of the equation. The safer road, though, is not always the better road traveled.

This new and not-quite improved is now far less interesting a character than her grandmother and great aunt, whom are grooming her to be a sophisticated lady so that she can get rich boyfriends.

But My Fair Lady this is not - even though the musical was done by Lerner & Lowe, the same team behind the Audrey Hepburn classic.

Hudgens for her part has great star quality but she's almost too sweet and endearing. Her bubbliness would be better suited for Glinda in Wicked than Gigi.

Dee Hotty steals the show as Aunt Alicia, commanding laughs and attention in every scene in which she appears.

And the huge staircase set by Derek McLane almost upstages the entire show. Massive. A bit too much so. A smaller set but bigger production dancers with more dancing would have been a far more effective move by director Eric Schaeffer.

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Perez Reviews: Hand To God on Broadway

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

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Hand To God is a new comedy on Broadway that is seriously funny and funnily serious! Sinister and shocking, this is not for the faint of heart!

If you are easily offended, then this is not the show for you.

If you can't laugh at yourself and your demons, then this is not the show for you.

If you view anyone critical of religion as blasphemous, then this is not the show for you.

However….

If you loved John Waters' iconic Serial Mom, then this is the show for you!

If you enjoyed Avenue Q, then this is the show for you!

If you laughed at all the political incorrectness of Book Of Mormon, then this is the show for you!

Hand To God is like a mixture of those three, which happen to be favorites of ours!

Playwright Robert Askins makes his Broadway debut with this dark comedy about a demonic puppet that overtakes the body and soul of his puppeteer, and the havoc that "Tyrone" wreaks!

There's puppets cursing, puppets having graphic sex, adults cursing, adults having graphic sex, lots of laughs and lots to think about.

The show is very critical of religion, and if there was one fault with Hand To God is that it is a tad too harsh on religious folk.

The show originally played off-Broadway at MCC and scenic designer Beowulf Boritt and director Moritz von Stuelpnagel have done a great job of filling that larger stage.

Major props to Marte Johanne Ekhougen for the inspired puppet design!

And, most especially, congrats and WOW to Steven Boyer, the show's lead who gives an exhausting and exhilarating tour-de-talent performance that is sure to get him a Tony nomination!!

Hand To God is a must see!

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Perez Reviews: Honeymoon In Vegas

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

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We are sooooooo happy we got to see Honeymoon In Vegas before it sadly closes Sunday - far too soon!

Yes, the musical is based on the film, but Andrew Bergman - who also wrote the movie - did a phenomenal job of adapting it while also turning it into a whole new creation.

The Broadway show is also a romantic comedy but it does not feel like a film adaptation at all. Instead it feels like a loving homage to the old Broadway romantic comedies of yore.

There's a mother who haunts the lead in the film from the grave! Real absurd - in the best way possible. Ridiculously sublime!

And, following what we thought was a very disappointing score for his last Broadway outing, The Bridges Of Madison County, composer Jason Robert Brown delivers a real crowd-pleaser with Vegas.

So good! And made even better by one of the best leading men currently working on Broadway, the fiercely talented Rob McClure.

If this show comes to a city near you, we strongly recommend seeing the tour!

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Perez Reviews: Brooklynite

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

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Michael Chabon is responsible for some truly magnificent books and screenplays, and then he also created the characters that are the basis for the new musical Brooklynite.

He isn't involved in this production, but if he were it probably would have benefitted greatly from his expertise!

The show has lots going for it, but its book needs A LOT of work! And that's understandable given that the show's director, Michael Mayer, and the composer, Peter Lerman, wrote the book.

The songs, though, written solely by newbie Lerman are excellent!!! He has a real bright future in lyrics and music!

And the winsome Matt Doyle is the lead in the show, charming and singing beautifully as always.

Some serious rewriting and restructuring is needed for this anti-hero superhero tale that could be a lot funnier and more moving. But, like many superhero movies, it's good fun!

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Perez Reviews: 'Manhattan Parisienne'

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesFrancophiliaPerez Reviews

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Alain Boublil
is the librettist and lyricists behind such HUGE musicals as Les Miserables and Miss Saigon - and the legendary Frenchie just premiered a new work in Manhattan, appropriately titled Manhattan Parisienne.

However, do not go into this show expecting a massive chorus or flying helicopters. Manhattan Parisienne is is super intimate - a mostly two person musical in a small theater. There are no reserved seats! General admission!

The show is a sweet and simple modern-day love fantasia between a French woman and an American man and the musical features some staples of the French and American songbook. From Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg to the Gershwins and Sinatra.

The story is almost irrelevant, though. Manhattan Parisienne is all about the song selections. And they prove to be a very enjoyable experience!

Performed without intermission, the show is like a fancier cabaret act. And because it's mainly all about the songs, our one big note is…. while the cast features some great singers, the intimacy of the theater and the grandness of these songs called for some PHENOMENAL singers. There is a big difference between great and phenomenal singers.

However, this cast did a fine job and it's a more than fine show!

With some bigger voices or bigger names, though, this could play to much larger audiences.

Manhattan Parisienne is very enjoyable - especially for a date night!

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Perez Reviews: 'On The Town'

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

On The Town is a classic!

Leonard Bernstein! Jerome Robbins! Comden & Green!

Musical theater LEGENDS who brought us some of the most iconic shows of all time!

And we had never seen it before! Thankfully, Thursday night we fixed that!

The new Broadway revival of On The Town is inconsistent but consistently entertaining!

It's worth seeing just for the dream ballet in the second act! One of the most exquisite things we have ever seen in a theater!

The show itself features some epic songs and epic dancing!

A revival is all about choices and, unfortunately, we just didn't agree with a lot of the direction, courtesy of John Rando.

The casting was problematic. Some actors were perceivably much older than their parts were written and intended to be.

Other actors, many of whom we've seen in multiple shows and LOVE, were directed to overact. WAY OVERACT.

It's as if the director felt too much of a need to fill the cavernous space of the Lyric Theater. Yes, that Broadway house is too big for that show!

Yet, despite those missteps, the show is very entertaining.

MAJOR PROPS must be given to choreographer Joshua Bergasse for his moves! Truly inspired! And there's LOTS of dancing in the show!

And, our favorite performer of the night turned out to be Samantha Sturm - and understudy for the female lead! She was clearly hungry for it and giving us her all! She was radiant! KUDOS!!!

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