It’s commodity week on Broadway, where two big-budget musicals with blue-chip pedigrees have just opened. “The Wedding Singer” is based on Adam Sandler’s 1998 movie, which grossed $80 million in the U.S. alone. “Lestat” is a stage version of Anne Rice’s best-selling “Vampire Chronicles” with songs by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Unless I miss my guess, one show will be a huge hit, the other a humiliating flop.
The hit is “The Wedding Singer,” among the most ingenious and amusing musical adaptations of a Hollywood film ever to reach Broadway….
“Lestat” will surely go down in history as one of Broadway’s costliest disasters. The only thing about it that’s worth seeing is Derek McLane’s super-spectacular set, which will go to waste unless somebody does something quick. My suggestion is that Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, the producers of “Lestat,” close the show this weekend, then hire Joss Whedon, the creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” to write a new musical using Mr. McLane’s designs. Buffy on Broadway–now there’s a concept….
The National Theatre of Great Britain has brought Alan Bennett’s “The History Boys” to New York for a ten-week run, where it will doubtless send shivers down the spines of Anglophiles and snobs. Whether such folk are numerous enough to fill the Broadhurst Theatre all summer long remains to be seen, since Mr. Bennett hasn’t had a Broadway hit since “Beyond the Fringe,” which opened in 1962. For my part, I’m at a loss to say what I thought of “The History Boys.” Never before has a play left me with feelings so mixed that I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not….
I wasn’t quite persuaded, at least not on first viewing, that “The History Boys” is an effective indictment of the amoral sophistry I take to be Mr. Bennett’s ultimate target. To be glibly critical of glibness is–well–glib.
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