Broadway Review – The Hit Musicals

This review aired on KBAQ April 14, 2011


Eugene O’Neill Theatre
230 West 49th Street, New York City

Neil Simon Theatre
250 West 52nd Street, New York City

Palace Theatre
Broadway and 47th Street, New York City

Broadway shows are exciting and a recent trip afforded the opportunity to see the three new musical hits, “The Book of Mormon,” “Catch Me If You Can,” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.”

The best new musical is “The Book of Mormon,” an irreverent show that jabs and jives Mormon teachings.  It’s never mean because “South Park” writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with “Avenue Q’s” Robert Lopez affectionately slam the subject.  They never let the religious hypocrisy become demeaning or nasty.  Catchy tunes enhance the spoofing as new missionaries tackle recruitments.  Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells are paired in Uganda where they join an unsuccessful convert group.  The pair plays off each other with energized comedic punch.  Rannells has doubts while Gad, who initially can only follow others, sparks as he explains the Church’s founding in unconventional terms.  When the Ugandans repeat the story for visiting Mormon leaders, the hysterical twists and turns become frenzied comic malarkey.  Action-packed staging adds merriment to make “The Book of Mormon” the best new musical in years as the fun-filled ride keeps you guffawing nonstop.

The ‘60s inspired musical version of the film, “Catch Me If You Can,” also charms and entertains as it tells a true story about Frank Abagnale, Jr. who by age 21 connived, lied, and worked as a doctor, lawyer, and jet pilot with no training just pushy vibrato and cocky confidence.  FBI agent Hanratty catches him but it’s a rowdy journey presented as a television variety show.  Fast-moving staging and exuberant dances make the show an amusing delight.  Aaron Tveit is smashingly energetic as a pulsating Frank, Norbert Leo Butz’ is a winning and disguised Hanratty, Tom Wopat is oily as Frank’s sharp-operator father, and Kerry Butler bounces as Frank’s girlfriend.  The show is a dazzling jewel of smashingly vibrant entertainment.

“Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” based on the cult film, tells about a trio of female impersonators who head to Australia’s outback to bring their unique entertainment to a new audience.  The show traces the trio’s hysterical journey in a rickety old bus and the many outrageous experiences are wild as they confront gay intolerance.  The Broadway cast isn’t as sharp as London’s but Tony Sheldon is a dazzling transgender Bernadette.  Will Swenson’s Mitzi lets out a tad of masculinity as he awaits a son and ex-wife where the show lands.  Nick Adams’ Felicia is the least convincing but the show routines and the trio’s reactions provide socko entertainment with glittering production numbers. 

In my final Broadway review on April 28, I will look at the “La Cage aux Folles” revival, the now infamous musical “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark,” and the play “Good People.”  For tickets to “The Book of Mormon,” call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or order tickets online at  For tickets to “Catch Me If You Can” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” call Ticketmaster at 877-250-2929 or order tickets online at