Broadway Review – Two Musicals and A Play

This review aired on KBAQ April 28, 2011


Longacre Theatre
220 West 48th Street, New York City

Friedman Theatre
261 West 47th Street, New York City

Foxwoods Theatre
213 West 42nd Street, New York City

On my recent Broadway visit, I saw eight shows. In early April we talked about the three new hit musicals, “The Book of Mormon,” “Catch Me If You Can,” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” Today we will talk about the “La Cage aux Folles” revival, the now infamous musical “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark,” and the play ”Good People.”

True, that isn’t eight shows but “Sister Act,” a musical adaptation of the Whoopi Goldberg film, and “People in the Picture,” a new musical about a Jewish theater troupe in pre-Nazi Germany that flashes forward to contemporary New York City, were still in previews so they can’t be reviewed.

“La Cage aux Folles” took a new approach to the splashy Jerry Herman musical. “Good People” is a solid play that can expertly be done by a local professional theater. “Spider-Man” is now closed for additional rewrites before a hoped for June opening.

The original “La Cage aux Folles” was a big extravaganza set in a seedy French nightclub featuring female impersonators. The story focuses on Albin, the show’s star, and his lover Georges, the club’s owner. The Menier Chocolate Factory production from London dwells on the pair’s relationship. The smaller production still has elaborate but tamer musical numbers and it’s a far more intimate affair. It plays wonderfully headlining original book author Harvey Fierstein as Albin and Christopher Sieber as Georges. The production on tour will be part of the next ASU Gammage Broadway series where there are plans to keep the revival intimate even playing in the cavernous local auditorium. Although the Broadway revival closes this weekend, it’s scheduled May 15-20, 2012 here starring George Hamilton.

“Good People” is about losers from a rough Boston neighborhood and what they’ve done with their lives. It was beautifully acted and sharply directed but it will be done just as well by one of our professional theater troupes. More analysis when it plays here.

After all the talk, I had to see “Spider-Man.” The version I saw was co-authored and directed by “The Lion King’s” Julie Taymor. Her creativity turned out a rambling, unfocused show that added unnecessary archeological characters and inferences that sidetracked the well known story and left it incomplete. Taymor’s extrapolations will be dropped while it gets rewritten and the original story will be fleshed out in front of the most elaborate scenery ever seen on Broadway. The performance I saw stopped cold when a mechanized cocoon failed to let an actor down. The dreadful Bono and The Edge music doesn’t help and the hardworking and brave cast turns the characters into broadly bland caricatures. “Spider-Man” was certainly the worst Broadway show I’ve ever seen and the current retooling is unlikely to help.

That’s the word on current Broadway shows. For tickets to “La Cage aux Folles” and “Good People,” call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or order tickets online at For tickets to “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark,” call Ticketmaster at 877-250-2929 or order tickets online at