Broadway Theater – “Something Rotten,” “Doctor Zhivago,” and “Gigi”

This review aired on KBAQ May 25, 2015


“Something Rotten,” “Doctor Zhivago,” and “Gigi”
New York, NY

In this last of three looks at current Broadway shows, I will review three more musicals I saw including the amusing “Something Rotten” and two of the least successful musicals I saw, “Doctor Zhivago” and “Gigi.”  I will also wrap up my coverage with some general comments about attending Broadway theater.

“Something Rotten” is a hysterical musical dissecting the battle between Shakespeare and his chief playwrighting rival, Nick Bottom.  Watching Broadway veteran Brian d’Arcy James breeze through Nick with comically wild relish is a Broadway joy and it is refreshing to see “Smashes” Christian Borle play a swinging Shakespeare who creates his own delightful comic mayhem.  The funny show is enhanced by a winsome score of cute, catchy songs.  For “Something Rotten” tickets, call the Telecharge box office at 212-239-6200 or order tickets online at

Finally, the least successful musicals I saw on Broadway were an epic but pompous and overly dramatic version of the film “Doctor Zhivago” and a weakly cast and ineptly staged adaptation of the movie musical “Gigi.”  Entrusting a show like “Gigi” to newcomer, Vanessa Hudgens who delivers a heavy-handed title character that lacks the fiery passion and musical poise of the film’s Leslie Caron, is an unforgivable mistake.  Musical theater veteran Victoria Clark delivers a fine Mamita that is earthier than Hermione Gingold in the film, and Dee Hoty is appropriately “nose-in-the-air” arrogant as Gigi’s Aunt Alicia.  The unit set with added props and furniture to change locales looked cheap and didn’t provide the grand impression of the Paris setting.  The tunes lifted from the movie are fine but a few additional songs don’t add much.  A major change in “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” allows the song to work better and removes some questionable inference the song had in the film.

Both shows made me wonder why stage versions of successful films are attempted unless they can improve upon the source films while making the shows relevant to contemporary audiences.  Neither “Doctor Zhivago” nor “Gigi” achieved this goal.  “Dr. Zhivago” closed and for “Gigi” tickets, call the Ticketmaster box office at 877-250-2929 or order tickets online at

A few words about attending Broadway theater.  Tickets are expensive if you go to the box office and pay established prices.  Musicals cost upwards of $150.  Although balcony seats are cheaper discounted tickets are available many places and theatergoers should only pay high prices for the few hit musicals which do not discount tickets.  Head for the TKTS booth and 47th Street and Broadway where they sell discounted tickets for most Broadway shows.  Signs list the shows available and the ticket costs.  Discounted tickets are available online and in handbills distributed throughout the theater district.  Remember that many long running hit shows now struggle to fill seats and have discounts readily available.  You can see most Broadway shows for what you would pay in Phoenix and it’s very exciting to see a big Broadway hit.