Aladdin. New Amsterdam Theatre (see Broadway). Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Directed by Casey Nicholaw. With Adam Jacobs, James Monroe Iglehart, Courtney Reed. Running time: 2hrs 20mins. One intermission. Aladdin: In brief Disney unveils its latest cartoon-to-musical project: the tale of a boy, an uncorked spirit and an aerodynamic rug. Composer Alan Menken adds new tunes to the 1992 original soundtrack, and Chad Beguelin provides a fresh book. Reputed highlights include James Monroe Iglehart's bouncy Genie and the flying-carpet F/X. Aladdin: Theater review by Adam Feldman What do we wish for in a Disney musical? It is unrealistic to expect aesthetic triumph on par with The Lion King, but neither need we settle for blobs of empty action like Tarzan or The Little Mermaid. The latest in the toon-tuner line, Aladdin, falls between those poles; nearer in style (though inferior in stakes) to Disney’s first effort, Beauty and the Beast, the show is a tricked-out, tourist-family-friendly theme-park attraction, decorated this time in the billowing fabrics of orientalist Arabian fantasy. “It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home,” sings the genial Genie (a game, charismatic Iglehart) in the opening song, and that’s the tone of Aladdin as a whole: kid-Oriented. As in the 1992 film, the Genie steals the show from its eponymous “street rat” hero (Jacobs, white teeth and tan chest agleam). The musical’s high point i
Theater review by Adam FeldmanBroadway musicals often feature heroines trying to find themselves, but perhaps never as literally as in Anastasia. In 1927 Leningrad, the scrappy, strapping Dmitry (Derek Klena) and the worldly, roguish Vlad (John Bolton) devise a scheme to pass off a street sweeper, Anya (Christy Altomare), as the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholaevna Romanov, rumored to have survived the massacre of the rest of her royal family in the Russian Revolution 10 years earlier. But as the con men school her, My Fair Lady–like, in the ways of nobility—hoping to deceive Anastasia’s grandmother in Paris, the Dowager Empress (an elegant Mary Beth Peil)—it emerges that Anya may be the real Anastasia after all. Who knows? Not Anya: She has amnesia. What former self might be nested like a doll inside her, waiting to be revealed? And might there be other dolls inside that one?As Anastasia piles discovery upon discovery, the happiest surprise is how consistently good the musical turns out to be. Smartly adapted by Terrence McNally from the 1997 animated film and the 1956 Ingrid Bergman movie—with Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens impressively expanding their score from the former—Anastasia is a sweeping adventure, romance and historical epic whose fine craftsmanship will satisfy musical-theater fans beyond the show’s ideal audience of teenage girls. (When I saw it, a second-act kiss was greeted with deafening shrieks of approval.) Director Darko Tresnjak keeps the story swirling
Theater review by Helen Shaw When someone stages one of the great Greek tragedies, we usually have to search for the reasons. How can we relate to such ancient plays, these 2,500-year-old texts, first sung and danced and chanted under a younger sun? But then, Zeusdammit, there’s Sophocles' Antigone. The ugly old world just keeps making it relevant. Antigone’s story is simple. After a civil war, Thebes chooses to bury its prince Eteocles with “all our rites” and to leave his rebellious brother Polyneices to rot where he fell. Their sister Antigone (Alexandra King) dares to sprinkle earth on Polyneices’ body, and is punished terribly for obeying decency rather than power. A boy left dead in the street, a security apparatus that sees mourning as terrorism: We don’t need the pointed design details in the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s outdoor production—the Black Lives Matter poster on Eteocles’ public shrine, the guards’ SWAT costumes—to make connections. But for all its seriousness of intent, this Antigone is not some grim, eat-your-spinach night at the classics. It is free, an hour long and a summer-evening delight. There’s dance (choreographed by Tiffany Rea-Fisher) and a superb comic turn by Anthony Vaughn Merchant as a soldier touchingly dedicated to self-care. Director Carl Cofield knows that Sophocles’ intensity will land strangely on our ears, so he sometimes redirects it into humor. As king Creon (Ty Jones) tries to dominate Antigone, his attempts at control turn sud
Young Scottish magician Scott Silven drops by the McKittrick Hotel for dinner, whiskey and light hocus-pocus in this elegant variation on dinner theater, which returns this fall after a sold-out run in 2017. Audience members are seated around a large table in what used to be the Heath restaurant, upstairs in the complex that also houses Sleep No More and Gallow Green. The story Silvan threads through his show is on the hokey side, and the magic is largely standard-issue mentalism. (There’s a lot of guessing what people have drawn on pads.) But it’s an enjoyable diversion overall; the intimate candlelit atmosphere, welcoming spirit and delicious food and drinks do the trick.
After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery. Running time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.
Theater review by Adam Feldman In a musical that is full of beautiful moments, perhaps the loveliest is the one shared on a plain park bench by Dina (Katrina Lenk), an Israeli café owner, and Tewfiq (Tony Shalhoub), an Egyptian bandleader stranded for the night in her uneventful desert town in 1996. As members of his ceremonial police orchestra play incidental music behind them, Dina asks Tewfiq how it feels to be a conductor. They each raise their arms, inhabiting an imagined experience together, and the music we have been hearing stops; what they feel is realer, and we are invited to imagine it with them. To entrust such a moment to silence is an unusual choice for a musical. But The Band’s Visit, which seems even richer on Broadway than in its award-winning 2016 run at the Atlantic, is unconventionally wise. It is rare to encounter a show that has such a graceful sense of time. Itamar Moses’s book, adapted from a 2007 Israeli film, embraces the unspoken; the characters use English as a second language, which gives the dialogue a tentative, searching quality that draws us closer. And David Yazbek’s Middle Eastern–accented score, orchestrated by Jamshied Sharifi, includes not only wryly witty character songs but also joyous instrumentals for oud, cello, violin, clarinet and darbouka. Lenk, who mixes languidly feline sensuality with knowing self-deprecation, is mesmerizing; her scenes with the courtly, soulful Shalhoub capture the awkward pleasure of lonely people reachin
Beautiful—The Carole King Musical shares several virtues with its titular singer-songwriter, among them humility, earnestness and dedication to craft. If Douglas McGrath’s book never achieves the dramatic grit or comic zip of Jersey Boys, at least director Marc Bruni’s production avoids being a brain-dead, self-satisfied hit parade à la Berry Gordy’s Motown. Still, it does seem that stretches of Broadway’s newest jukebox musical consist of situations such as this: “Carole, you’ve got to write us a hit!” “I’ve written something.” “It’s a hit!” Yes, Beautiful loves its diligent, long-suffering pop genius, and invites you to do the same. It’s quite an easy task when you have the phenomenal Jessie Mueller in the lead. The effortlessly appealing star cut her teeth on Broadway flops (the mis-reconceived On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) and in supporting parts (The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Now she’s ready to carry a show. As Brooklyn-raised King, who started churning out teenybopper tunes at 1650 Broadway in the late ’50s, Mueller exudes warmth and common sense, playing up King’s old-fashioned modesty and insecurity without becoming a doormat or cipher. And when she wraps her rich, burnished voice around those hits—“So Far Away,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “It’s Too Late”—they feel as fresh as the day King penned them. McGrath’s deft, wry book tracks its hero’s tortured first marriage to lyricist-partner Gerry Goffin (Jake Epstein) and their friendly rivalry with anothe
Three deadpan blue-skinned men with extraterrestrial imaginations carry this tourist fave, a show as smart as it is ridiculous. They drum on open tubs of paint, creating splashes of color; they consume Twinkies and Cap'n Crunch; they engulf the audience in a roiling sea of toilet paper. For sheer weird, exuberant fun, it's hard to top this long-running treat. (Note: The playing schedule varies from week to week, with as many as four performances on some days and none on others.)
If theater is your religion and the Broadway musical your sect, you've been woefully faith-challenged of late. Venturesome, boundary-pushing works such as Spring Awakening, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Next to Normal closed too soon. American Idiot was shamefully ignored at the Tonys and will be gone in three weeks. Meanwhile, that airborne infection Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark dominates headlines and rakes in millions, without even opening. Celebrities and corporate brands sell poor material, innovation gets shown the door, and crap floats to the top. It's enough to turn you heretic, to sing along with The Book of Mormon's Ugandan villagers: "Fuck you God in the ass, mouth and cunt-a, fuck you in the eye." Such deeply penetrating lyrics offer a smidgen of the manifold scato-theological joys to be had at this viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q. As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush, you will be transported back ten years, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with metatheatrical irreverence and a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years. The high
Theater review by Helen Shaw A woman runs from the Syrian police, feet churning under her, face stricken. A man stands holding a camera, pointing it at the sea as migrants drown just an arm’s length away. The intertwining and eventually converging monologues of Henry Naylor’s Borders tell the story of Nameless (Avital Lvova) and Simon (Graham O’Mara) as each of them crashes against the limitations of art: Nameless as a graffiti artist protesting the regime of Bashar Hafez al-Assad, Simon as a photographer who begins to turn away from the suffering of others. Borders was a big hit at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, and directors Louise Skaaning and Michael Cabot have given it the fleetness and stripped-down aesthetic of something made to scramble from venue to venue. But the show might play better amid the hurly-burly of a festival, where its seriousness could cut against the comedy acts all around it. In its current iteration at the NYTW Next Door space, it’s not entirely effective; it feels lopsided and, strangely for a touring show, a little unfinished. Naylor is best at writing for Nameless, perhaps because the character was purpose-built for Lvova, a powder-keg performer. Her monologues—which touch on subjects including her mother’s prayers, a boyfriend’s shy sweetness and the tacky sensation of spilled paint under her sneakers—shine with detail and moral complexity, and Lvova rockets around the tiny space, spitting fire. But Simon’s side of things is duller: He sprin
Theater review by Adam Feldman In the advance-publicity photo for The Boys in the Band, the actors rise out from a mass of black turtlenecks like the nine well-coiffed heads of a single dark Hydra. There is monstrousness at the base of Mart Crowley’s 1968 depiction of a disastrous birthday party attended by eight gay men and crashed by a ninth of questionable Kinsey status; in its groundbreaking original Off Broadway run, the play inspired a backlash among activists who felt it presented gay life in too unflattering a light. But the root of the characters’ unhappiness is not homosexuality, but homophobia refracted into self-destruction. As one character wishes at the end of the play: “If we could just…learn not to hate ourselves so much.” To some degree, at least, we seem to have learned. The keen-edged and engrossing 50th-anniversary revival of The Boys in the Band—which is also the play’s Broadway debut—is the creation of five openly gay producers, an openly gay director (the redoubtable Joe Mantello) and nine openly gay actors. No one seems worried about being role models; they focus on their roles, and on Crowley’s flavorful dialogue, whose basic bitterness is frequently cut with acid. Jim Parsons is Michael, the host of the party and the play’s unstable core: anxious about aging, deeply in debt, trying not to fall back into drinking. The birthday boy is the imperiously weird former figure skater Harold (the icy Zachary Quinto), Michael’s frenemy and nemesis; the wild
A boy must choose between his law-abiding, bus-driving father and a smooth-talking mob boss in Chazz Palminteri’s coming-of-age story, which began as a monologue, became a movie and now returns as a Broadway musical. With songs by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater (Leap of Faith), the piece is directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks. Read the full review.
Theater review by Adam Feldman No one can say they weren’t warned. The ravishing Anika Noni Rose plays the title role in Classic Stage Company’s revival of Carmen Jones, Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1943 reworking of Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen for black Americans during World War II. Singing “Dat’s Love”—the show’s version of the teasing “Habanera”—she puts her cards on the table like a fortune-teller: “I tol’ you truly if I love you / Dat’s de end of you!” And so it is for the primary object of her attention, a previously virtuous soldier named Joe (Clifton Duncan), who can’t stave off her wiles even if they lead to debasement and death. But Rose is indeed irresistible. Sheathed in a killer red dress, and using all the colors of her remarkable voice, Rose makes Carmen a complex agent of chaos—a femme fatale with a fatalist streak, exercising all the freedom she can in a world of men who want only to possess her. Directed and reduced to 100 minutes by that strict diet doctor John Doyle, CSC’s Carmen Jones offers a physically spare but musically rich account of a historically significant curio. Hammerstein’s attempts at African-American vernacular are often clunky, and the staging fumbles a few key moments of violence. But the score is sung thrillingly by a cast that also includes David Aron Damane as a strutting boxer, Lindsay Roberts as Joe’s hometown sweetie and the dynamite Soara-Joye Ross, who puts her own tattoo on “Beat Out Dat Rhythm on a Drum.” It’s hard not to be sedu
Theater review by Adam Feldman A beautiful bad boy can be hard to resist. In Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1945 musical Carousel, set in 19th-century Maine, the moony, quietly nonconformist Julie Jordan (the soulful Jessie Mueller) is drawn, moth to flame, to the well-built, sexually charismatic carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Joshua Henry). She marries the rageful brute, and both pay a price they can’t afford: Julie loses her job at the local mill and her reputation in town; Billy falls from favor with his hawklike employer, Mrs. Mullin (a perfectly seasoned Margaret Colin), and is driven to crime. Their unhappy struggle—they can’t even articulate their love for each other—is set against a seemingly idyllic seaside world of busting-out-all-over Junes and real nice clambakes, and contrasted with the upward mobility of Julie’s best friend, Carrie (the huggable Lindsay Mendez, who beams like nobody’s business). Carousel's sumptuous new Broadway revival plows steadily through the show’s darker currents. Director Jack O’Brien invites us to admire the show as an exemplar of classic American musical theater, lovingly emphasizing its virtues. Prime among them is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s innovative and varied score, repolished by orchestrator Jonathan Tunick and sterlingly sung by the cast; Henry offers a powerful account of Billy’s long and winding first-act finale, “Soliloquy,” and opera star Renée Fleming—though too grand in manner for the role of Julie’s kindly
After more than 15 years at the Waldorf Astoria, Steve Cohen, billed as the Millionaires’ Magician, now conjures his high-class parlor magic in the marble-columned Madison Room at the swank Lotte New York Palace. Audiences must dress to be impressed (cocktail attire is required); tickets start at $100, with an option to pay more for meet-and-greet time and extra tricks with Cohen after the show. But if you've come to see a classic-style magic act, you get what you pay for. Sporting a tuxedo and bright rust hair, the magician delivers routines that he has buffed to a patent-leather gleam: In addition to his signature act—"Think-a-Drink," involving a kettle that pours liquids by request—highlights include a lulu of levitation trick and a card-trick finale that leaves you feeling like, well, a million bucks.
This John Kander–Fred Ebb–Bob Fosse favorite, revived by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking, tells the saga of chorus girl Roxie Hart, who murders her lover and, with the help of a huckster lawyer, becomes a vaudeville sensation. The cast frequently features guest celebrities in short stints.
One of the more unlikely musicals on Broadway this season, Come from Away is the tense but humane story of an airport in Gander, Newfoundland, where 38 planes and more than 6,000 passengers were forced to land on September 11, 2001. The book, music and lyrics are by the Canadian team Irene Sankoff and David Hein. Read the full review.
Theater review by Helen Shaw A baffling waste of resources and time, David Ireland’s failed black comedy stretches a single bad analogy into a numbing 100 minutes. Stephen Rea plays Eric, an Ulster Unionist so insane with anti-Catholic feeling that he thinks his new grandbaby is literally the former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams; the increasingly violent Eric then spews great gouts of bigotry (of every stripe), which is meant to shock us into laughter and, one assumes, into seeing that such foulness is wrong. Certainly racism can be like madness, but it’s not actually useful to pretend it’s the same thing as psychotic derangement—a distinction this repetitive, smug, underthought play blithely ignores. Public Theater (Off Broadway). By David Ireland. Directed by Vicky Featherstone. With Stephen Rea. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission. Follow Helen Shaw on Twitter: @Helen_E_ShawFollow Time Out Theater on Twitter: @TimeOutTheaterKeep up with the latest news and reviews on our Time Out Theater Facebook page
In this captivating original musical, Hello, Dolly! scene-stealer Taylor Trensch now plays the title role of a high school student thrust into social relevance after a classmate's suicide. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score combines well-crafted lyrics with an exciting pop sound, and Steven Levenson’s book gives all the characters shaded motives. Read the full review.
After a hit run at the York Theatre last year, Peter Kellogg and David Friedman’s rootin’-tootin’-shootin’-prosecutin’-prostitutin’ Wild West musical returns with a second helping of its tasty corn pudding. Very loosely adapted from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure (and written in rhyming dialogue), the show ropes you in with peppy songs and an engaging cast of six sharpshooters: Peter Saide as a strapping lawman, Conor Ryan as a jailed outlaw, Sarah Parnicky as a nun (with a wimple and a dimple), Nick Wyman as a lecherous German villain, Gary Marachek as a boozy priest and Lauren Molina as an ever-game, highly seasoned saloon gal.—Adam Feldman 2017 theater review by Diane Snyder [Note: This review is for the original New York production of Desperate Measures at the York Theatre Company. The show returns for an encore run at New World Stages starting May 30.] It takes true grit to fashion a musical from Shakespeare and set it in the late-19th-century Old West. Inspired by Measure for Measure, the peppy tuner Desperate Measures follows the plight of soon-to-be-nun Susanna (Emma Degerstedt), who can save her brother (Conor Ryan) from the hangman’s noose only by spending a night with the deplorable governor (a deliciously drooling Nick Wyman). To preserve her chastity, the handsome sheriff (Peter Saide) suggests she get saloon gal Bella (Lauren Molina, hilariously bawdy) to switch places with her. After all, Bella’s the reason Johnny got involved in the deadly gunfight
Theater review by Adam Feldman What do you expect from a Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical? The alley outside the Marquis Theatre has been done up as an empty stretch of beach, and that pretty much sums up Escape to Margaritaville, which seems intended to be watched with your feet up and a melting frozen drink in your hand. Along with more than two dozen songs from Buffett’s tropical-burnout catalog, the show offers steel drums, jean shorts, palm trees and dancers dressed as fluffy white clouds. It’s often hokey and sometimes pokey. But I’ll level with you: I had fun. Oh, right, there is a plot. Paul Alexander Nolan plays a songwriter who works at a shabby Caribbean resort with his bartender pal (an endearing Eric Petersen), and Alison Luff is a spunky environmental scientist on a weeklong trip there with her soon-to-be-married best friend (Lisa Howard). Romance predictably ensues, stumbles, and ensues anew. Written by sitcom veterans Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley, the show doesn’t shoehorn Buffett’s songs into a story so much as cobble a story around them, extrapolating characters and situations from details in the lyrics, which is more successful in small ways than in large ones. (Shrimp, sponge cake and a lost shaker of salt are neatly planted, for example, to yield comic fruit.) Performed by a vocally overqualified cast that also includes Don Sparks, Rema Webb and Andre Ward, the score is pleasantly catchy—I’ve had “Fins” swimming in my head for days—and it probably help
Theater review by Adam Feldman At several points in the first act of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s metatheatrical semicomedy Fairview, the upper-middle-class black women onstage look straight out into the audience and check their makeup. The fourth wall here is a one-way mirror, like the ones in police stations or psych-test observation rooms: The characters can see themselves, but they can’t see us watching them and sizing up their dynamics. As “Family Affair” plays on the stereo, Beverly (Heather Alicia Simms) nervously prepares a big dinner—it’s her mama’s birthday, and everything must be perfect!—for her jocular husband (Charles Browning), her undermining sister (the impeccable Roslyn Ruff) and her sporty daughter (Mayaa Boateng). It’s all quite familiar until, suddenly, it’s not. A half hour into the play, Drury (We Are Proud to Present…) switches its frame: As the opening scene replays in silence, we hear the voices of four white people who are chattering about it and over it, as though they were watching a reality TV show. What they are gabbing about is race—including which race they would like to be if they weren’t white—and they inevitably deal in stereotypes. (They are also stereotypes themselves: the rich liberal, the overtalking dude, the campy gay guy, the sophisticated European.) As in Christopher Durang’s Betty’s Summer Vacation, these outside observers can’t stay on the fringe forever, and the black story we started with goes hilariously off the rails. There are
Theater review by Raven Snook How do you make Fiddler on the Roof even more Jewish? Do it in Yiddish! Fans of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s landmark musical about Tevye the Milkman and his shtetl community in early-20th-century Russia will go meshuga for the U.S. premiere of Shraga Friedman’s translation, which ran briefly in Israel in 1965. It’s a mitzvah that the century-old National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene has resurrected this version, which lets the characters speak (and sing) in the expressive guttural tongue they would have used in real life—the language of the Sholem Aleichem stories that inspired the show. English translations are projected for the benefit of those who don’t know Yiddish, and many of the performers aren’t fluent in the language, either (they have learned their lines phonetically, much as opera singers often do). But director Joel Grey—yes, that Joel Grey—has made sure the performers know what they’re feeling, even if they don’t know what they’re saying, and their emotional journeys are so clear you may find yourself abandoning the oddly placed supertitles to luxuriate in the sound of the language and the klezmer-inflected score, played by a lively 12-piece orchestra. Of course, that means you may miss the ways this Yiddish interpretation differs from the original, as when “If I Were a Rich Man” is reimagined as “If I Were a Rothschild,” a reference to a 1902 tale by Aleichem. Steven Skybell, who appeared in the most recent Broadway revival
Theater review by Helen Shaw Two things ring very true in Rinne Groff’s faltering but beautifully performed dramedy Fire in Dreamland. The first is the titular event: In 1911, a Coney Island amusement park went up like a torch, killing nearly all its circus animals; Groff’s narrator-protagonist Kate (Rebecca Naomi Jones) reels off reams of the real Dreamland story to juxtapose that long-ago tragedy with the recent crisis of Superstorm Sandy. The second is Groff’s depiction of Kate’s suitor, Jaap (Enver Gjokaj), a European filmmaker with a friable sense of personal responsibility. He has talent—he wows Kate with a few minutes of his in-development movie about Dreamland—and his English is adorable (“Computer, you must go faster to be of use to me”). He means well! Surely it’s not his fault that his art-over-practicality attitude keeps hurting people? Jones is a superstar, but her light is dimmed by her character’s function: playing straight woman first to Jaap and then to Lance (Kyle Beltran), a film student amusingly uncomfortable with everything. Director Marissa Wolf does strong work, and Groff’s script includes a number of elegant touches, like time hops and flashbacks that are cued by a man (Beltran again) with a film clapperboard. Clack! Kate thinks of her dying father. Clack! We’re back in her tiny apartment, where Jaap has just used her credit card. The play’s weakness comes from its lack of a serious central conflict. We wait for Kate to notice that Jaap is a bad bo
Theater review by Adam Feldman At the end of the first act of Frozen, there is a moment that zaps the audience to life like a blast of cold air. Elsa (Caissie Levy), the young queen of a Nordic realm, has witchy ice-creation powers that she has been forced to keep hidden; now, self-exiled to a Fortress of Solitude–like castle, she exults in reckless freedom and power. As she belts the show’s takeaway number, “Let It Go,” her heavy royal garments transform, in one thrilling instant, into a shimmery frost-blue party dress. It’s “Defying Gravity” on the rocks, and for the duration of this Wicked-cool number, Frozen breaks free from the forces that keep most of Disney’s latest musical earthbound. Otherwise, there is altogether too little magic in the kingdom of Arendelle, which Elsa’s impulsive younger sister, Anna (Patti Murin), must save from the eternal winter to which Elsa has unwittingly condemned it. In adapting their smash 2013 movie to the stage, Frozen’s creators—including screenwriter Jennifer Lee and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez—faced a challenge: Many of the film’s key sequences are adventure scenes (a wolf attack, a giant snow monster, a climactic blizzard) that are hard to re-create onstage. Julie Taymor solved this problem in The Lion King by coming up with a comprehensive aesthetic vocabulary of her own, but Frozen director Michael Grandage’s reach is less ambitious. In lieu of the great outdoors, he moves much of the show to lofty and stu
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