HomeReviewsBroadway Spring 2024: ‘Lempicka’ & All Of Deadline’s Reviews

Broadway Spring 2024: ‘Lempicka’ & All Of Deadline’s Reviews

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April on Broadway, to mangle a phrase from a showtune classic, is bustin’ out all over with no fewer than 14 new plays and musicals set to open before the April 25 Tony Award eligibility cutoff date. So crowded are the final weeks of the 2023-24 theater season that three days each will see the openings of two shows, a Broadway rarity.

Deadline will weigh in on each show. Whether you use this page as a guide or as an invitation to argue, drop by often for the latest on Broadway’s offerings. And there’ll be plenty of offerings indeed — here’s the schedule of April openings: The Outsiders (April 11), Lempicka (April 14), The Wiz (April 17), Suffs (April 18), Stereophonic (April 19), Hell’s Kitchen (April 20), Cabaret (April 21), Patriots (April 22), The Heart of Rock and Roll (April 22), Mary Jane (April 23), Illinoise (April 24), Uncle Vanya (April 24), Mother Play (April 25), The Great Gatsby (April 25).

Below is a compendium of our reviews. Keep checking back as the list is updated.

Lempicka

Eden Espinosa, ‘Lempicka’

Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

Opening night: April 14, 2024
Venue: Longacre Theatre
Director: Rachel Chavkin
Book and Music: Carson Kreitzer (book, lyrics, and original concept), Matt Gould (book and music)
Choreography: Raja Feather Kelly
Cast: Eden Espinosa, Amber Iman, Andrew Samonsky, George Abud, Natalie Joy Johnson, Zoe Glick, Nathaniel Stampley, Beth Leavel.
Running time: 2 hr 30 min (including intermission)
Official synopsis: “Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.”
Deadline’s takeaway: For a musical devoted to trumpeting the new and daring, Lempicka can feel decidedly backward-looking. That’s not a bad thing when those glance-backs include vivid flashes of Art Deco elegance, invigorating ’90s dance pop, big time Evita belting and a dash or two of One Night in Bangkok‘s jaunty decadence.

A pop bio-musical written by Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould about the groundbreaking Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka, Lempicka follows the artist through such 20th Century milestones as the Russian Revolution, two World Wars, the tragic slide of Jazz Age Paree to Nazi-occupied Paris, and, for a few brief moments, a lonely 1970s Los Angeles.

Actually, the musical doesn’t so much follow the artist as latches on for a ride that’s both thrilling and tiring. Directed by the ever-inventive Rachel Chavkin, with a powerhouse Eden Espinosa (Wicked) in the title role, Lempicka offers up a tempting mix of retro-futurism and just plain retro, with choreography (by Raja Feather Kelly), scenic design (Riccardo Hernández) and costumes (Paloma Young) that work hard to convey the Zelig-like scope of the artist’s life. That means we see, along with some sumptuous Deco-heavy visuals, lots of energetic dancing that frequently cribs from the most arresting of “Vogue”-era Madonna (fair is fair: Blond Ambition was a Lempicka painting come to life). At its worst, though, the dancing leads the musical through some very cartoony presentations of Soviet Realism and Left Bank bohemianism.

Though the musical’s book and lyrics remain doggedly by-the-numbers, Chavkin’s direction (and a good cast that includes Andrew Samonsky, Amber Iman, George Abud, Beth Leavel and Natalie Joy Johnson) keeps Lempicka barreling through the last century’s wartime horrors, peacetime optimism and an art that grew from both.

The Outsiders

Jason Schmidt, Brody Grant, 'The Outsiders'

(L-R) Jason Schmidt and Brody Grant in ‘The Outsiders’

Matthew Murphy

Opening night: April 11, 2024
Venue: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
Director: Danya Taymor
Book: Adam Rapp, Justin Levine
Music and lyrics: Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay & Zach Chance) and Justin Levine
Choreography: Rick Kuperman & Jeff Kuperman
Cast: Brody Grant, Sky Lakota-Lynch, Joshua Boone, Brent Comer, Jason Schmidt, Emma Pittman, Daryl Tofa, Kevin William Paul and Dan Berry, with Jordan Chin, Milena J. Comeau, Barton Cowperthwaite, Tilly Evans-Krueger, Henry Julián Gendron, RJ Higton, Wonza Johnson, Sean Harrison Jones, Maggie Kuntz, Renni Anthony Magee, SarahGrace Mariani, Melody Rose, Josh Strobl, Victor Carrillo Tracey, Trevor Wayne.
Running time: 2 hr 30 min (including intermission)
Official synopsis: In Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1967, Ponyboy Curtis, his best friend Johnny Cade and their Greaser family of “outsiders” battle with their affluent rivals, the Socs. This thrilling new Broadway musical navigates the complexities of self-discovery as the Greasers dream about who they want to become in a world that may never accept them. With a dynamic original score, The Outsiders is a story of friendship, family, belonging… and the realization that there is still “lots of good in the world.”
Deadline’s takeaway: A fine and catchy score that references pop, early rock & roll, country and showtune balladeering is performed by a terrific young cast in Broadway’s The Outsiders, opening in a heartfelt production at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

If you’ve read the book or seen the movie, you know the story. The musical’s book by Adam Rapp with Justin Levine stays close to its origins for better and worse, and the songs by the excellent folk and Americana duo Jamestown Revival, along with Levine, go a long way to fill in plot details and character histories.

Still, even with clever direction by Danya Taymor, The Outsiders never quite outgrows its Young Adult literary origins. Based on the groundbreaking S.E. Hinton novel and Francis Ford Coppola’s film adaptation, The Outsiders often comes across as a precocious teen all dressed up for a night on the New York town — clearly money has been spent on a spare, efficient set, with lots of stacked tires and planks of wood, designed by AMP featuring Tatiana Kahvegian, enhanced by Hana S. Kim’s cool projections (in one case, literally — images of Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke are, if nothing else, an easy time-placer). The full talents of the designers and special effects masters come together in a terrific barn fire scene, and Brian MacDevitt’s lighting design and Cody Spencer’s sound meld well with with the choreography, especially during a crowd-pleasing slo-mo, freeze-frame, strobe-lit rumble between the vengeance-seeking cliques.

While all the production’s elements seem to be in place — the cast, even when its acting chops falter, is, musically, a full-throated and easy-to-like ensemble — The Outsiders often feels like a musical that wants to hang with the grown-ups while unable to leave behind its adolescent earnestness and self-involvement. A more thoughtfully adult production might invent some credible consequences for a negligent, deadly arson, a fatal stabbing and a train derailment, all of which are presented, true to S.E. Hinton, as temporary glitches in the self-actualization of a 14-year-old boy.

The Who’s Tommy

Ali Louis Bourzgui in Chicago production of 'The Who's Tommy'

Ali Louis Bourzgui in ‘The Who’s Tommy’

Liz Lauren

Opening night: March 28, 2024
Venue: Nederlander Theatre
Director: Des McAnuff
Book: Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
Music and lyrics: Pete Townshend
Choreography: Lorin Latarro
Cast: Ali Louis Bourzgui, Alison Luff, Adam Jacobs, John Ambrosino, Bobby Conte, Christina Sajous, with Haley Gustafson, Jeremiah Alsop, Ronnie S. Bowman Jr., Mike Cannon, Tyler James Eisenreich, Sheldon Henry, Afra Hines, Aliah James, David Paul Kidder, Tassy Kirbas, Lily Kren, Quinten Kusheba, Reese Levine, Brett Michael Lockley, Nathan Lucrezio, Alexandra Matteo, Mark Mitrano, Reagan Pender, Cecilia Ann Popp, Daniel Quadrino, Olive Ross-Kline, Jenna Nicole Schoen, Dee Tomasetta, and Andrew Tufano.
Running time: 2 hr 10 min (including intermission)
Deadline’s takeaway: The Who’s Tommy is a nonstop surge of electrified energy, a darting pinball of a production that syncs visual panache with 55-year-old songs that sound as vital today as they must have at Woodstock. To read full review, click on show title above.

Water for Elephants

‘Water for Elephants’

Matthew Murphy

Opening night: March 21, 2024
Venue: Imperial Theatre
Director: Jessica Stone
Book: Rick Elice, based on the novel by Sara Gruen
Music and lyrics: Pigpen Theatre Company
Cast: Grant Gustin, Isabelle McCalla, Gregg Edelman, Paul Alexander Nolan, Stan Brown, Joe De Paul, Sara Gettelfinger and Wade McCollum, with Brandon Block, Antoine Boissereau, Rachael Boyd, Paul Castree, Ken Wulf Clark, Taylor Colleton, Gabriel Olivera de Paula Costa, Isabella Luisa Diaz, Samantha Gershman, Keaton Hentoff-Killian, Nicolas Jelmoni, Caroline Kane, Harley Ross Beckwith McLeish, Michael Mendez, Samuel Renaud, Marissa Rosen, Alexandra Gaelle Royer, Asa Somers, Charles South, Sean Stack, Matthew Varvar and Michelle West
Running time: 2 hr 40 min (including intermission)
Deadline’s takeaway: Water for Elephants is a pleasant, visually beguiling show with a cast led by The Flash‘s Grant Gustin in a sweet-voiced Broadway debut that puts some charm into a thin book by Rick Elice that probably veered too close to the novel for its own good. To read full review, click on show title above.

An Enemy of the People

Michael Imperioli in ‘An Enemy of the People

Emilio Madrid

Opening night: March 18, 2024
Venue: Circle in the Square
Written by: Henrik Ibsen, In A New Version By Amy Herzog
Directed by: Sam Gold
Cast: Jeremy Strong, Michael Imperioli, Victoria Pedretti, Katie Broad, Bill Buell, Caleb Eberhardt, Matthew August Jeffers, David Patrick Kelly, David Mattar Merten, Max Roll, Thomas Jay Ryan, Alan Trong
Running time: 2 hrs (including one pause)
Deadline’s takeaway: Watching Jeremy Strong (Succession) and Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) go head to head for two hours is a treat, as if the stars of your favorite HBO dramas had crossed over some crazy timeline to show each other what for. To read full review, click on show title above.

The Notebook

Joy Woods, Ryan Vasquez, 'The Notebook,' Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Joy Woods and Ryan Vasquez in ‘The Notebook

Liz Lauren

Opening night: March 14, 2024
Venue: Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
Directors: Michael Greif and Schele Williams
Book: Bekah Brunstetter
Music and lyrics: Ingrid Michaelson
Cast: Jordan Tyson, Joy Woods, Maryann Plunkett, John Cardoza, Ryan Vasquez, Dorian Harewood, with Andréa Burns, Yassmin Alers, Alex Benoit, Chase Del Rey, Hillary Fisher, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, Dorcas Leung, Happy McPartlin, Juliette Ojeda, Kim Onah, Carson Stewart, Charles E. Wallace, Charlie Webb
Running time: 2 hr 10 min (including intermission)
Deadline’s takeaway: Based on Nicholas Sparks’ 1996 bestseller about a young — then older, then much older — couple who survives a lifetime of tribulations (until they don’t), The Notebook is the theatrical equivalent of Muzak, comforting in its unapologetically manipulative way and unabashed in its disregard for anything approaching the grit of the real world. To read full review, click on show title above.

Doubt

Liev Schreiber and Zoe Kazan in ‘Doubt’

Joan Marcus

Opening night: March 7, 2024
Venue: Todd Haimes Theatre
Written by: John Patrick Shanley
Directed by: Scott Ellis
Cast: Amy Ryan, Liev Schreiber, Zoe Kazan, Quincy Tyler Bernstine
Running time: 90 min (no intermission)
Deadline’s takeaway: That the play holds up as well as it does since its 2004 premiere — and it really does — is due in large part to a top-tier cast that the Roundabout Theater Company has assembled, an ensemble that keeps us guessing from beginning to end. To read full review, click on show title above.

Content Source: deadline.com

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