BROADWAY REVIEWS

BROADWAY REVIEW: Once

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March 18, 2012: Sometimes how cool you look depends on where you’re standing. When I first saw the musical “Once” at the New York Theater Workshop last December, it registered as a little too twee, too conventionally sentimental, for the East Village. Yet on Broadway — at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater to be exact, where “Once” opened on Sunday night — what is essentially the same production feels as vital and surprising as the early spring that has crept up on Manhattan.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: The Book of Mormon

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March 24, 2011: This is to all the doubters and deniers out there, the ones who say that heaven on Broadway does not exist, that it’s only some myth our ancestors dreamed up. I am here to report that a newborn, old-fashioned, pleasure-giving musical has arrived at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, the kind our grandparents told us left them walking on air if not on water. So hie thee hence, nonbelievers (and believers too), to “The Book of Mormon,” and feast upon its sweetness.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: The Lion King

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November 14, 1997:

Suddenly, you're 4 years old again, and you've been taken to the circus for the first time. You can only marvel at the exotic procession of animals before you: the giraffes and the elephants and the hippopotamuses and all those birds in balletic flight. Moreover, these are not the weary-looking beasts in plumes and spangles that usually plod their way through urban circuses but what might be described as their Platonic equivalents, creatures of air and light and even a touch of divinity. Where are you, really, anyway? The location is supposed to be a theater on 42d Street, a thoroughfare that has never been thought of as a gateway to Eden. Yet somehow you have fallen into what appears to be a primal paradise. And even the exquisitely restored New Amsterdam Theater, a former Ziegfeld palace, disappears before the spectacle within it.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Jersey Boys

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January 1, 1970: The real thrill, at least for those who want something more than recycled chart toppers and a story line poured from a can, is that Mr. Young (Frankie Valli) has crossed the line from exact impersonation into something more compelling.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Mamma Mia!

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January 1, 1970: A giant singing Hostess cupcake opened at the Winter Garden Theater last night. It is called Mamma Mia!, and it may be the unlikeliest hit ever to win over cynical, sentiment-shy New Yorkers.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Phantom Of The Opera

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January 1, 1970: The real news is that the rest of the production has grown old gracefully. Judging by sheer invention, emotional punch and onstage talent, the venerable blockbuster still beats out almost all of the whippersnappers currently on Broadway.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Rock Of Ages

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January 1, 1970: When it comes to hair — long beautiful hair or gleaming streaming hair or flaxen waxen hair — I am afraid that sweet nostalgia trip about flower children and free love has already become an also-ran on Broadway.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Chicago

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January 1, 1970: Even with such mesmerizing stars as Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera, swell vaudeville-pastiche songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb and the acutely stylish direction and choreography of Bob Fosse, Chicago seemed too chilly . . .

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Wicked

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January 1, 1970: Wicked does not, alas, speak hopefully for the future of the Broadway musical.

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