Chaplin may not be your typical Broadway crowdpleaser, but it sure is pleasing to crowds!
Much darker - figuratively AND literally - than your typical fare on the Great White Way, Chaplin unflinchingly tells the tale of beloved screen icon Charlie Chaplin, the real Charlie Chaplin. Warts and all!
We love the show's honest depiction of the complex man. There was no whitewashing here! Though there is lots of razzle dazzle, albeit in muted tones - until the big finale when we finally get a pop of color and tears were streaming down our face.
Chaplin has been getting mixed reviews but lead Rob McClure has been getting universal acclaim for his take on the man behind The Tramp. Deservedly so! He brought a real intensity and a lot of emotion to his portrayal. He reminded us of Raul Esparza, and we say that as a compliment.
In many ways, the show reminds us a lot of Man Of La Mancha, a tale based on a pre-existing cannon about a man that was misunderstood by many.
Do we love Chaplin or the character he played? We really related and were touched a lot by the exploration of this topic and the character of Charlie. Self-reflection on many levels! Especially with the role of gossip icon Hedda Hopper playing an integral part in the show.
Hopper was expertly played by Jenn Colella, the show's other standout. She actually was so good and her character so important to the musical that we wish she would have been introduced towards the end of Act 1. It would have raised the stakes by a lot and given us a glimpse of what to look forward to in Act 2.
Dark shows don't often have long runs on Broadway, but they do become cult favorites. And we think Chaplin will easily be the favorite of many this season!
The staging/direction was great. The songs were above average. Though we do wish they had included Charlie's iconic "Smile". And we thoroughly enjoyed the show!
Other standouts were the dreamy Wayne Alan Wilcox as Chaplin's brother (who was wonderful - even though he could have been given at least one solo song!!!) and Erin Mackey as his 4th and final wife Oona. Christiane Noll as Charlie's mother was fine.
George Clooney is setting his sights high with his most recent charity endeavor.
The Academy Award nominated actor, along with film industry heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg, has launched a fundraiser to raise $350 million for Charlie Chaplin's Motion Picture & Television Fund, which provides health care for out of work and retired industry professionals.
Despite the staggeringly high goal, the project is going pretty well. They've already managed to rake in $200 million thanks to donations from megastars like Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg (and we're assuming Clooney and Katzenberg chipped in too). As far as the Descendants star is concerned, this cause is a no-brainer for anybody in showbiz, explaining:
"I was raised to believe that, as a community, we should be judged by how we take care of people who can’t take care of themselves. This is our community. This is our commitment."
How can anybody who has been successful in the entertainment industry say anything but yes to a guy like George?
We're happy to hear that some of the biggest celebs in Hollywood are gladly opening up their checkbooks to take care of the entertainers who have fallen on hard times.