December 8, 2010


Gazpacho is a major ingredient in this musical based on Pedro Almodovar's movie Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown currently playing at the Belasco Theatre. We saw it on Sunday matinee on Thanksgiving weekend (see Lani's post here).

I've heard the buzz about this show and it wasn't good. Having seen it, it was ok. It wasn't as disastrous as I had anticipated (but then again my worst show is Banana Shpeel so the bar is really low). It's pretty straightforward and parallel with the movie but doesn't quite have the zing of the movie. Not quite sure how or where it lost it's way. I have to admit that I like Lani, I was nodding off in the second act, when Patti Lupone was singing! (OMG what blasphemy! But I might blame it on the delicious lunch we had in Chinatown) Some of the songs were upbeat and fun but sometimes I felt that some songs slowed the momentum of campiness. I don't know maybe it was just me.

The assembled cast are the best names in theatre. Patti Lupone was perfect as Lucia. Although oddly enough there were times I thought I was hearing Mrs. Lovett (of Sweeney) coming out in a Spanish accent. Laura Benanti was a hoot as Candela. She actually stole the show and ran away with it. I would perk up every time she was on stage as her bits were really funny. Sherie Rene Scott who usually plays Pepa was out the time we saw the show so our Pepa was De'Adre Aziza. Loved the rawness of her voice when she sings and she's every empathetic as Pepa. I'm glad I finally got to see Brian Stokes Mitchell. His booming voice is so soothing you could understand why all these women would fall for him. Danny Burnstein was spot on as the taxi driver. Our Paulina (the lawyer) was Vivian Nixon and I didn't enjoy her that much because her accent would come and go and it would take me out of the story. I guess it just bothered me.

I have to say though that with the production being presented by well loved Lincoln Center plus having a Tony winning director in Bartlet Sherr and an all star cast still doesn't ensure it being elevated from being ok to being amazing.


Anonymous said...

I was there on Saturday, and I also was pleasantly surprised. It was certainly not a disaster. Laura B was knock out fab and should get a Tony nomination, in my opinion. I did see SRS, and thought she was fine, but in comparison to the electricity LB was exuding, no one could shine brighter. Patti was underused, and I found the snippets of her were too short. Like the gun moment. It could have been even funnier if extended. and she can do that. I lay that sort of failure right on the director. The biggest flaw in the whole show was the ending. BAM it was over! If there had been a bigger ending number, I think all those little things we can find fault with would have been forgiven...something epic was needed, those talented people were underserved by the show itself. What a waste. I may go back just to see LB ham it up and to see PluP's motercycle scene, cuz it went by far too fast!
PS: Did I know you were in Reno for Julia? I was there with my SF/Fresno peeps.

Pinky said...

Bettie.....I wasn't in Reno when Julia Murney did her Wicked Divas concert.

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