Just as I wrote out my “Five Shows You Should See on Broadway” there happens to be five shows you shouldn’t see as well. Let me qualify that by saying that most shows that get produced on Broadway are worth seeing for one reason or another — they wouldn’t have landed on Broadway if there wasn’t something unique/special about them. But there’s some shows that you should probably just stay away from, especially if you are in NYC for only a limited time. I always think, “Will I regret it if I miss this show?” If the answer is yes, than I make sure that I go. Unfortunately, there are a few shows that you might just regret actually going to and spending all that money on.
Here’s a list of shows that I’ve regretted going to:
1. Bye Bye Birdie at Henry Miller’s Theatre – Oh, what can I say? It’s a mess. After sitting through this, my friend and I coined the phrase, “The best high school production of Bye Bye Birdie I’ve ever seen.” But then I digress, I’ve actually never seen Bye Bye Birdie performed at a high school. From the color-coordinated costumes to the lack of choreography, this show is just wrong. Oh, and did we mention that the teenagers are actually teenagers? So, if you are willing to shell out between $86.50 – $136.50 to see high schoolers perform, than more power to you. But I left, severely disappointed. The moment when you really want to walk out is during Gina Gershon’s mess of a dance, “Spanish Rose” — if you actually can call a “half-fan kick” dancing. It’s not scheduled to close till April 25, 2010. April can’t come any sooner.
2. Billy Eillot at Imperial Theatre – I’ll probably get some flack for this one, considering it won the Tony Award for Best Musical this year. The first time I saw this, I actually almost walked out during intermission. I hated it that much. I wanted it to be so much more than it actually was considering that I loved the movie SO much. My biggest beef with this show, is that somewhere along the way, it lost its “heart”. The show changes so much with what Billy you see. The first time, I saw the “angry” Billy. Th second time was the “confused” Billy. These kids have to be a triple threats and both of the ones I saw were incredible dancers, but lacked in the acting department. Maybe the two new Billys will be better? Also, I have to talk about the set: it neither gives a clue of where we are or what time period we’re in. And for a show that specifically needs to identify both, I was sorely disappointed. (And that damn circular bed just drove me crazy.) The show is incredible in regards to the dancing, so if you are a dance enthusiast than you should check this one out. I say: pass. Wait for it to come on tour (or don’t). More info, here.
3. West Side Story at Palace Theatre – This is another show that I should have loved, but instead really felt nothing for. I saw a matinee, which might have influenced my overall feelings, but I really thought I would like it and I didn’t. It has the makings for something incredible. Obviously, the show is incredible, yet I felt that this revival didn’t have anything new to offer, except for the genius performance by Karen Olivo playing Anita (who won the Tony Award). Olivo was the only one to give a fresh perspective to her character. Finally, they are replacing Matt Cavenaugh, who plays Tony, on December 13th. Frankly, they never should have cast him in the role in the first place. Riedel, of the NY Post gives some advice to the next Tony, “Don’t miss any performances, don’t get old, and don’t get married.” Apparently, Ms. Olivo has been missing performances as well, so your best bet is just to miss this one altogether. More info, here.
4. The Phantom of the Opera at Majestic Theatre – I solely write Phantom of the Opera on this list because you are better off seeing it in Las Vegas than in NYC. I’ve actually never seen the Broadway production because there is always something else that is more important. Always. The Vegas version is quite thrilling, especially since they cut all the nonsense to 90 minutes. Besides, the sound design is the best I’ve ever heard from any show, anywhere. See something else on Broadway and take a trip to Vegas to see Phantom. You won’t regret it. Besides, it’s been running on Broadway since 1988. Maybe with the sequel, Love Never Dies, coming out next November on Broadway it will finally die away…. maybe. More info, here.
5. Mamma Mia at Winter Garden Theatre – Really, I mean really. This show should close so something else worth seeing can take its spot. Immediately. The show opened back in 2001. We are at eight years now. Playbill.com says, “The infectious music of ABBA provides the framework for a romp through the preparations of an unusual wedding.” Romp. Now I’m for sure not going.
Seriously, people. Stop. Going. To. This. Show.
More info, here.
Memphis at Sam S. Shubert Theatre – I actually hate putting Memphis on the “shows you should skip” list. I really don’t want to because the performers are kind of amazing — it’s the show that just doesn’t work. All of the sudden the show ended and I didn’t know why? That’s how convoluted the story gets to be at the end. You can’t deny the comparisons between Hairspray and Dreamgirls; it feels awfully similar to both of those shows and not in a good way. My friend and I decided that all of the performers in Memphis should be in Bye Bye Birdie and than, we would have something to write home about. Though Chad Kimball gives a unique and note-worthy performance, we unknowingly ended up hating him and his ridiculous Memphis accent. Montego Glover’s vocal range is impressive throughout, she’s just not given the songs to truly shine and show off her magnificent instrument. Bay Area local, James Monroe Iglehart, stole the show with his Act II performance. The audience couldn’t get enough of him. All in all, it’s a talented cast, just not a great show. More info here.