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Perez Reviews: Heathers

The new Heathers musical, currently playing off-Broadway, will fuck you gently with a chainsaw!

If you liked Legally Blonde the musical, which we did, then you will love Heathers!

The stage show based on the iconic '80s movie has everything the singing Elle Woods production did - including a lot of the same creative team - and MORE!

Heathers has sass, sex, songs and laughs! Lots of laughs!

Yes, there's really song in the show called My Dead Gay Son! And it WINS!!!

Big high five to Kevin Murphy & Laurence O'Keefe for not only writing those super fun songs but ALSO writing the equally fun book! Very unusual in the musical theater world and to be applauded!

Heathers is definitely an "off-Broadway" production and prime to make the jump to the Great White Way!

In this production, Veronica barely has any costume changes - a pitiful two or three!! On Broadway we'd want at least 12!

And can we do something about her wig ASAP, please? We know things are lower budget off-Broadway, but that's just CHEAP!

Thankfully, though, when our only main critique is the lack of costumes and the minimalistic stage, you know you've got a winner - with a very attractive and talented cast of up-and-comers!

Barret Wilbert Weed is no Winona Ryder, and she's not trying to be. Vocally she's amazing in Heathers and we enjoyed her acting too. But she's no Winona. She played Veronica a bit too cheery and optimistic, whereas Ryder brought more edge and darkness.

It was wonderful to see the adorable Elle McLemore from Bring It On again - putting her cheerleader skills to good use!

Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alice Lee were fab and fab as Heather Chandler and Heather Duke, respectively.

BUT….

The real star of this show is Ryan McCartan as JD Dean - aka the Christian Slater part.

McCartan is electric! We could not take our eyes off him onstage! And not just because he's dreamy to look at! The actor, currently starring on some Disney Channel show we'd never heard of before, has a BEAUTIFUL voice and so much presence! Star quality! He's truly magnetic on stage!

And he completely made us forget about Christian Slater! He was THAT good!

We really hope Heathers transfers to Broadway. We'd love to see them take this up a few notches! Bigger show and bigger audiences!

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Perez Reviews: If/Then

If Idina Menzel were not so super talented, then If/Then would be such a Debbie Downer of a show - more so than it already is!

Unfortunately, this is no Wicked or Rent.

If/Then fails to serve the greatness that is its leading lady and her big Broadway return in 10 years is dampened by a show that is underwhelming at best and laborious throughout.

The whole concept of the show, a musical ripoff of the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors, does a disservice to the material and actors. If/Then would have worked A LOT better as a musical comedy! The show is a dramatic musical, but you're not very invested in the characters because you don't have time to be. The action is split into two alternating stories that explore the different consequences Idina's character would have been faced with if she made different decisions in her life.

Brian Yorkey's book literally made us groan repeatedly. There were so many moments we wanted to pull our hair out throughout the show, but then - thankfully - Idina would sing and all would be temporarily better.

Note to Mr. Yorkey: cursing repeatedly does not make your show "cool" or "edgy".

And even worse and more distracting than the book was the choreography by Larry Keigwin. It is just embarrassingly cheesy and bad!

Sigh.

THANKFULLY, though, there are some real standout performances. James Snyder brings so much warmth to his role as the love interest that you can't help but fall in love with him. And LaChanze brings so much humor and personality to her role as the best friend that she almost steals the
show!

Annmarie Milazzo did a FANTASTIC job with the vocal arrangements and she must be applauded for truly giving the audience what they want - to hear Idina sing and really show off that big and iconic voice of hers!

Menzel is at the top of her game vocally, and despite the show itself being lackluster, she will still likely get a Tony nomination!

Hopefully next in line for her… Menzel with a Z! Or something like that!

A Menzel one-woman show would have a lot more appeal and would be such a universally loved hit!

Do it! Do it! Do it!

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Perez Reviews: Cabaret

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We had never seen Cabaret before - until recently! And, boy, are we glad that the first production of the iconic Kander & Ebb musical we saw is the much-heralded one by the Roundabout Theater Company, now playing on Broadway with Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming in the starring roles

This is a revival of a revival, which is very unusual and not done - but it sure is merited!

Directed and conceived by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, their Cabaret is brilliant! You are transported and immersed in the Kit Kat Club, which happens to be the old Studio 54 space.

This production is dark, sexy and oh so bittersweet!

You're all probably wondering if Michelle Williams can sing. We know she can act, and the answer is a resounding YES! She sounds awesome and we are surprised she hadn't sooner gotten her Anne Hathaway on!

Alan Cumming is sinister and sensual. He's completely captivating!

And the entire ensemble is great - and HOT!

It must have taken such a long time to cast this production because every member of the house band - prominently featured and utilized in the show - is ridiculously good looking!

BUT….

None of the bells and whistles that this production has would matter much were it not for the timeless score! Those songs!

And the book still feels fresh!

Cabaret is only playing a limited run, so hurry and get your tickets NOW!

P.S. Major props and congratulations also to Deborah Hecht, the show's dialect coach. Those German accents were all flawless!!!! Kudos!

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James Franco Might've Laughed Over His "Little B*tch" Comment, But The Critic He Dissed Responds With A Bigger Laugh!

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Looks like James Franco is trying to make amends!!

The actor took to his Instagram to post a picture of an ad (above) that ran in the New York Times for his Broadway show Of Mice And Men maybe as a sign of a peace offering?

Since he, ya know, BLASTED the New York Times critic, Ben Brantley, the other day, calling him a "little bitch" because he did not give the show as favorable of a review as James had hoped.

Harsh words, James!!

HOWEVER, the famously hated critic has responded back via the New York Observer and his words show how tough of a skin Ben has got!

He said:

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Perez Reviews: Mothers And Sons

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It would be easy to dismiss Mothers and Sons as just another AIDS play from Terrence McNally.

But Terrence McNally is not just any other playwright. He is the great American gay playwright. He's the Arthur Miller of queer dramaturgy. He writes important plays about gay life and AIDS.

And his latest is just as important! A reminder of an era that has passed but is still affecting people in many meaningful ways.

The story is about a mother's loss and how she comes to terms - or doesn't - with her son's passing of AIDS.

Like life, Mothers and Sons is at times very funny and at times extremely emotional and sad. And true to life, things don't always end in a happy ending or wrapped up in a neat little bow.

But this play is beautifully written and even more beautifully acted by the great dame that is Tyne Daly.

She gives a tour-de-force performance! Showy but not forced.

And equally beautiful in this production is Bobby Steggert, who plays the husband of the widow that Daly's son in the play left behind. Less theatrical than Daly but just as good, Steggert is so real and believable in the part we oftentimes forgot he was acting. He was being. And being so good and sweet and charming and filled with love and light! He shines!

The same cannot be said of his counterpart, the miscast Frederick Weller. Weller looks way younger than his character is supposed to be, and seemingly to compensate he has a distracting vocal affectation - as if he's trying to age his voice. He is acting way hard. Too hard.

And, rounding out the cast is precocious youngster Grayson Taylor, who is so endearing. Kids always work on Broadway! And so does this play!

Go out and see it! It's nice to see shows besides musicals!

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James Franco Goes On Instagram Not To Flirt With Teenagers But To Diss A Theatre Critic! Read His Deleted Rant HERE!

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Hell hath no fury like a James Franco scorned!

James took to Instagram to absolutely bash Ben Brantley, a New York Times theatre critic, who gave a less than stellar review of his new play Of Mice and Men!

It's since been deleted, but in his caption he calls Ben a "little b*tch," and in all caps:

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Perez Reviews: The Threepenny Opera

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We LOVE the theater!

We have seen many many MANY shows, and there's countless others we have not seen - like the classic The Threepenny Opera, now playing at the Atlantic Theater Company.

This production of the Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht musical features some MAJOR Broadway talent in an intimate off-Broadway house. The perfect setting to soak in this incredible score!

From the very get-go this production puts the emphasis on the music - and the orchestra on stage. The songs are so beautifully orchestrated and played so beautifully! With all those period instruments! Who doesn't love some accordion music?????

Major kudos to music coordinator Michael Aarons, conductor Fred Lassen and every member of that topnotch orchestra band!

The performances were fabulous - most especially the women! Laura Osnes' voice is unreal! Mary Beth Peil is a legend! And Sally Murphy was a revelation and instant new fave!!

The original production of The Threepenny Opera premiered in 1928!!!!!! It feels more like a play with songs than a musical. And it was really interesting to see how this show influenced later vehicles, like Cabaret and Sweeney Todd.

The Threepenny Opera is dark, sexy and this production is a definite must-see!!

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