Broadway Reviews: The River, Elephant Man, Side Show & Honeymoon in Vegas

This is one Broadway charged post. I managed to see a lot of theatre in NY over the holidays and I just decided to consolidated a lot of the reviews in a post. Here The river, The Elephant Man, Side Show and Honeymoon in Vegas.

The River

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Official DescriptionHUGH JACKMAN comes to Broadway’s most intimate playhouse in THE RIVER, a gripping new drama that thrilled and mesmerized audiences during a sold-out London run. On a moonless evening, a man brings his new girlfriend to a remote cabin for a night of trout-fishing. But before the night is over, it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems… and as memory collides with desire, the truth becomes the most elusive catch of all. From playwright JEZ BUTTERWORTHand director IAN RICKSON comes this haunting and seductive new play that has already become the must-see event of the season.

My take: The best thing about this show is the setting.  It is such an intimate environment and being in the third row, a foot from Hugh Jackman, made the night. You are intrically immersed in the action and the performances. The play  itselfis very good, with amazing performances.  However,  I’m not sure I loved it.  I liked it a lot but it’s a lot to handle.
The mystery of the show is great and I think what I liked the most is that you leave not really knowing what to think of the show, or clear as to what was going on.  whilst we were having dinner after the show we kept analyzing it.  I love those plays that go with you home and you keep thinking about it. hugh Jackman is always spectacular, but I have to give credit to Cush Jumbo and Laura Donnelly. I had not seen their work and they were acting revelations to me.

I was also lucky that it was the last day of collections for Equity fights aids, and seeing Hugh Jackman auction off his t-shirt was quite cool.

Elephant Man

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Official Description:  Two-time Academy Award® nominee Bradley Cooper (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook) is being called “the best Elephant Man yet!” (Deadline) Directed by Tony nominee Scott Ellis, this new production of Bernard Pomerance’s Tony Award®-winning classic also stars Academy Award nominee and Emmy® Award winner Patricia Clarkson (“Six Feet Under”) and Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle).

Based on the real life of Joseph Merrick, THE ELEPHANT MAN tells the story of a 19th-century British man (Cooper) who became a star of the traveling freak show circuit. When the renowned Dr. Treves (Nivola) takes Merrick under his care, he is astonished by the man’s brilliant intelligence, unshakable faith and, most of all, his resounding desire for love and understanding. He introduces Merrick to the beautiful actress Mrs. Kendal (Clarkson), who is deeply touched by this pure and genuine soul. As a complex friendship blossoms among the three, Treves and Kendal struggle to protect Merrick from a world of questionable intentions… and so begins a story of love as unique as “The Elephant Man” himself.

My take: An absolutely amazing show.  If you can, run to see it.  First of all the three performances are spectacular.  Alessandro Nivola was an incredible stoic presence.  Patricia Clarkson emotional range during the show is amazing and of course there was Bradley Cooper.  His take on the elephant man is impressive.  How he conveys disability without any prosthetics or makeup is just an acting wonder.  The play itself shows a heavy subject in a light and gracious manner.  Also the length is perfect,  not a minute  too long. Highly, highly recommended.

Side Show

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Official Description:  Directed by Academy Award®-winner Bill Condon (Chicago, Dreamgirls, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2, Gods and Monsters) making his Broadway debut, this exciting new staging of SIDE SHOW has “the flash and velocity of a Hollywood motion picture” and “puts gripping emotion in the main tent” (Los Angeles Times). Based on the legendary Hilton twins, Daisy and Violet, SIDE SHOW follows their heartwarming search for first love and acceptance amidst the spectacle of fame and scrutiny under the spotlight. The world of SIDE SHOW is set against the backdrop of 1920’s and ’30s show business that seamlessly blend the worlds of carnival, vaudeville, and Hollywood glamour.

My take: So it took me a while to post my review and I can’t believe this show is closing.  I did not go with the highest of expectations and they were exceeded in spades.  The music is superb and Erin Davie and Emily Padgett as the title pair gave amazing performances.  It is really impressive how their acting differentiated their personality.  the staging was beautiful, dark and appropriate, yet intricate and intimate when it had to be.

Honeymoon in Vegas

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Official Description:  SAY “I DO” TO BROADWAY’S MOST HILARIOUS & ROMANTIC NEW MUSICAL! HONEYMOON is already raking in the raves! Ben Brantley of The New York Times says it’s, “OVER-THE-TOP FUNNY,” cheering, “THE MUSIC HOOKS YOU FROM THE GET-GO.” And Bloomberg News calls it, “A WINNER,” with songs by the, “EXTRAORDINARILY GIFTED,” 3-time Tony Award® winner JASON ROBERT BROWN (The Bridges of Madison County, The Last Five Years, Parade). The show tells the story of Jack, a Brooklynite with an extreme fear of marriage, who finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy to marry him. But when smooth-talking gambler Tommy — looking for a second chance at love — falls head over heels for Betsy, Jack must go to extreme heights to win back the love of his life. A romantic romp from New York to Vegas to Hawaii, HONEYMOON is non-stop, laugh-out-loud Broadway fun!Tony Danza (“Who’s the Boss?,” “Taxi”), Tony® nominee Rob McClure (Chaplin) and Brynn O’Malley (Annie) star in this uproarious new musical about the crazy things we do for love. Get your tickets now to experience a HONEYMOON you’ll never forget!

My take: Another low expectations show that exceeded them in spades. Tony Danza was definitely not as terrible as I thought he would be. He was actually charming and not that terrible a singer, quite capable actually.  The surprise was rob McClure who was spectacular!  I upfront and seeing his performance in such close proximity was amazing.  I loved his voice and his acting –  I hope this shoes goes on for a bit so that Tony voters take him into consideration.   I have always loved Jason Robert Brown’s music and here he doesn’t disappoint.  The music is beautiful.
My favorite scene: the flying Elvis es –  you just have to see it to understand.  All in all its a good fun night at the theater.  It’s not spectacular but you will definitely enjoy yourself.

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