Today’s musicals usually feature actors who can sing instead of singers who can act. LaChanze, like Kristin Chenoweth, does both with awe-inspiring conviction. I’d believe anything that came out of her mouth–anything, that is, except “The Color Purple,” which is best described as two hours and 45 minutes’ worth of high-priced phoniness….
I can’t say enough nasty things about the music, which consists of generic gospel, scrubbed-up blues and fake-fur jazz, all somewhat less memorable than the score to a made-for-TV movie….
It’s hard to believe that Mike Leigh’s “Abigail’s Party,” originally written in 1977, is only now receiving its New York premiere. In England it’s considered something of a modern classic, a ferociously funny skewering of middle-class manners, but over here Mr. Leigh is mostly known–if at all–for “Topsy-Turvy,” his extraordinary 1999 biopic about the private lives of Gilbert and Sullivan. Fortunately, the New Group has produced several of his plays Off Broadway, all of them staged by Scott Elliott, the company’s artistic director, and this one belongs on your short list of shows that mustn’t be missed….
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UPDATE: The Journal has posted a free link to this review. You can read the whole thing here.