Woody Allen misses the mark with “Bullets Over Broadway”

Woody Allen misses the mark with “Bullets Over Broadway”

Woody Allen’s comedy is something unique. It’s not too easy to interpret. If “Bullets Over Broadway- The Musical” is any proof, even Woody Allen himself struggles with his own scripts. Bullets over Broadway opened on the 10th of April, at the St James Theater and it has been unanimously slammed by critics and theater-goers alike. Bullets Over Broadway has all the makings of a wonderful musical. It’s got Woody Allen, Susan Stroman, Zach Braff- all big names. But the play itself leaves a bad taste in the mouth. When Allen’s movie (of the same name) released in 1994, it was regarded as a light-hearted comedy. The movie showcased everything Allen has become popular for, as a director. Allen’s humor might not appeal to everybody, but at least it is well defined. At least, that’s what one would expect until they walked into St James Theater, and endured this play for the next three hours.   The biggest problem with Bullets Over Broadway is the fact that it suffers from identity crisis. It’s based on a light-hearted movie, and it does it’s best to be charming and comedic. But there is an underlying layer of drama and tension that one associates with Broadway, but not with Allen’s work. And it’s that underlying layer that proves to be the undoing of this play.   It’s rather surprising that the musical does not have a single original score- all the music used in the play is from the ’20s. The music and choreography are beautifully handled- Stroman has one her best. The happy, foot-tapping dance bits are probably the best parts of the play. But besides that, the play does not have much going for it. Braff’s acting is passable, at best; and the entire production seems just a little too over the top.   Descriptive Keywords: Woody Allen, Bullets Over Broadway, Zach...

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If/Then- Watch it for Idina

It’s hard to say how well If/Then would have done, if Idina Menzel had not been a part of the cast. Menzel’s return to Broadway, after a whole decade, was highly speculated. Her fans are certainly going to be pleased about her return, and her performance in the musical. It seems like a wonderful follow up to the “Let It Go” craze, that just does not die down. But, here’s the million dollar question- what if Menzel was not in If/Then?   This might seem too harsh, but If/Then would not be a show worthy of Broadway if it had not been for it’s star cast. The characters are rather insipid and colorless, and they fail to make up for the lack of a plot. A musical about destiny, choices and possibilities can be without a plot- as long as the characters are strong enough to carry the burden on their backs. However, this musical fails on both the fronts.   Menzel shines as the middle aged urban planner who cannot decide whether strategy is better than impulse. Broadway is all about showcasing dilemmas and the pain of choices, but the choices depicted in the musical are not nearly emotionally charged enough to make an impact on the audience.     Tom Kitt, who scored the music, has done a wonderful job. Brian Yorkey and Michael Greif, who handled the story and direction, respectively, could have certainly done a better job. The stage setting was done beautifully- it was a wonderful interpretation of New York’s urban landscape.   Bottom line? If you have been a devoted Wicked fan all your life, go watch If/Then. It’s wonderful seeing Menzel back on stage. If you are still not convinced, just watch Wicked and swoon over Menzel’s beautiful performance....

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Why Bridges of Madison County Deserves More

  It would be impossible to find a person who is not a fan of Meryl Streep. She is an actor almost everybody else can take tips from. It would be difficult for any actresses to step into her shoes, and play a part almost as well as she did, but Kelli O’Hara, who plays Francesca Johnson in the newest musical of Bridges of Madison County, has done a praiseworthy job.   This new musical might be the best version of the book yet. It’s a wonderful interpretation and it’s got some powerfully moving performances by Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale. It’s a beautifully intimate production, with an 18 member cast. It’s got really simple stage instructions and sets- and that just makes the production dearer. There is nothing distracting one from the lucid emotions so wonderfully portrayed by Francesca and Robert. Jason Robert Brown, who composed the score for the musical, had actually written Francesca’s part with O’Hara in mind, and it shows.   Seeing O’Hara and Pasquale on stage is a treat. Their trauma, and their love feels so real, it is impossible to think that they are just actors. Pasquale’s interpretation of Robert’s character is rather impressive, especially since he brings out the inner sadness and melancholy that led Robert to Francesca in the first place.   Bridges of Madison County has never been better, yet, the musical seems to be drawing fewer crowds than it should. It’s certainly the most intimate play in Broadway right now- the lack of flashy showmanship might be a downer for a few people. The musical also lacks any big Hollywood names, even though it has some class- A actors. The musical might not be doing too well right now, but there is a chance that it will do better, once the Tonys are announced....

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