Disaster!: Theater review by Adam Feldman
Put The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and Airplane! in a blender; add 30 pop hits from the 1970s (such as “Hot Stuff” and “I Am Woman"), carefully chopped; stir in a seasoned cast of Broadway pros and a magical secret ingredient called Jennifer Simard; add garish coloring, muddle with camp, and garnish with the kitschiest cocktail umbrella you can find. This is the recipe for Disaster!, a lovably scrappy and often deliciously silly jukebox-musical spoof.
Adam Pascal and Kerry Butler, both in excellent voice, play ex-lovers reunited on The Barracuda, a very unlucky disco-era gambling cruise. Roger Bart is the ship’s sleazebag owner, and Rachel York finds a fresh spin on dizziness as his lounge-singer girlfriend. Seth Rudetsky, who wrote the cleverly winky script with director Jack Plotnick, is a scientist who tries to avert the catastrophes that nonetheless descend on the boat’s passengers (including Faith Prince and Kevin Chamberlin as an amiably tacky couple). And Simard is divine as a miserable, gambling-addicted nun; she’s giving one of the funniest musical-comedy performances I’ve seen in years. Not every joke in Disaster! lands, but there’s a lot to enjoy on this nostalgia trip. Sit back, kick off your shoes, and have a few laughs on the lido deck.—Adam Feldman
Nederlander Theatre (Broadway). Book by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick. Directed by Plotnick. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 10mins. One intermission.
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