The Mystery Of Edwin Drood is THE MOST FUN we have had in a Broadway theater this season!
We knew nothing about The Mystery Of Edwin Drood other than it was a musical with a stellar cast and we wanted to see the show.
A period piece and a thriller were what we thought we were getting into, but instead we got a slapstick comedy that was experiential AND an experience!
Based on the unfinished Charles Dickens novel, the musical version of the story is inspired by but not a complete retelling. It varies from the book in that the stage show is much more lighthearted. A full-on comedy!
It is like The Pirates Of Penzance meets Victoria/Victoria and Spamalot, except Drood preceded those last two shows.
What makes Drood so great is the comedy and the fun twist that the audience gets to help solve “the mystery”. The songs, while not bad, are almost secondary.
In an unusual move, the show was written completely by Rupert Holmes, from music to lyrics to book to even orchestrations. And, little tidbit, Holmes is the dude who wrote and recorded the #1 hit Escape (The Pi├â┬▒a Colada Song) in 1979. For Drood, he won multiple Tony Awards when the show debuted in 1985 with Betty Buckley leading the cast as the titular character.
The Roundabout Theater’s current production is the first time the show is being revived on Broadway and it featured the most exceptional cast on Broadway at the moment, with the sensational and mega talented Stephanie J. Block as Drood.
Block was splendid – as was almost every other member of the cast.
The most enjoyable, for us, to watch were Andy Karl as Neville Landless, Jim Norton as the Chairman, and Jessie Mueller as Helena Landless – all of whom were so insanely funny and vocally enthralling.
Most exquisite to hear, though, was Betsy Wolfe as Rosa Bud. She has the voice of an angel!
Chita Rivera is an icon, a legend and Broadway royalty, but also the weakest link in Drood. She’s 79 years old and BLESS HER for still getting up there and strutting her stuff, but she felt lost in the show. Her voice was fine; it was her character choices and acting that were not up to par with the rest of the cast. Also, it’s definitely a bit jarring when you sound like you’re from New York when you’re supposed to be from England.
And, also, Peter Benson also underwhelmed as the actor who wants to be the star but just isn’t good enough. Or, maybe he was really playing the part too well!
So much of Drood‘s success relies on the performances, and the fact that almost every single actor delivered an A+ performance means the casting folks are really good and the director, Scott Ellis, deserves major congrats.
The rest of the production team did a very fine job, most notably William Ivey Long for the fabulous costumes!
Oh, and to get to see the show at Studio 54 was such a sweet treat! Bonus!