BROADWAY REVIEWS

BROADWAY REVIEW: Phantom Of The Opera

July 1, 2005: The paint on the balconies of the Majestic Theater looks chipped and the electronic drum machine sounds like something left over from a music video from the 1980’s. But “The Phantom of the Opera” really shows its age (17 years and running) when the signature special effect is presented. Musicals have opened and closed in the time it takes that chandelier to lumber to the floor. Looking like one of Ed Wood’s teetering flying saucers, it crashes to the stage with the force of a shopping cart, the biggest, most extravagant anticlimax in town.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Wicked

October 31, 2003: SHE'S flying! She's actually flying!

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BROADWAY REVIEW: The Lion King

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: Chicago

November 15, 1996: WHO would have thought there could be such bliss in being played for a patsy?

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Hello, Dolly!

January 1, 1970: The pinnacle of fine dining in New York these days can’t be found in a Michelin-starred restaurant, though it will probably cost you just as much. No, you’ll have to get yourself and your wide-open wallet to the Shubert Theater, where the savory spectacle of Bette Midler eating turns out to be the culinary event of the year.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: The Little Foxes

January 1, 1970: Regina Giddens is a flower of Southern womanhood. That flower is a Venus flytrap. In “The Little Foxes,” Manhattan Theater Club’s nimble, exhilarating revival of Lillian Hellman’s 1939 drama, Regina coerces, deceives, manipulates and maybe even murders. How graceful she is, how charming. And how carnivorous.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Anastasia

January 1, 1970: The amnesiac title character of “Anastasia,” who may or may not be the long-lost daughter of the last Russian czar, isn’t alone in suffering a serious identity crisis. The postcard-scenic show that bears her name, which opened on Monday night at the Broadhurst Theater, has its own troubling case of multiple personality disorder.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Oslo

January 1, 1970: Some works of art cry out for large canvases. Though it is sparing in its use of scenery or anything approaching spectacle, J. T. Rogers’s “Oslo,” an against-the-odds story of international peacemaking, is undeniably a big play, as expansive and ambitious as any in recent Broadway history. So it is particularly gratifying to announce that it has been allowed to stretch to its full height in the thrilling production that opened on Thursday night, directed with a master’s hand by Bartlett Sher.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

January 1, 1970: Don’t expect a sugar rush from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the new musical that opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on Sunday. This latest adaptation of Roald Dahl’s winningly sinister children’s story from 1964 is — thank heaven — no sweeter than the two film adaptations it inspired, starring Gene Wilder (1971) and Johnny Depp (2005).

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Present Laughter

January 1, 1970: It’s high time we were reminded again of what a great physical comedian Kevin Kline is. Playing an aging matinee idol in the bouncy new revival of Noël Coward’s “Present Laughter,” Mr. Kline blissfully plies the witty athleticism and derring-do that won him two Tony Awards (“On the 20th Century,” “The Pirates of Penzance”) and an Oscar (“A Fish Called Wanda”) in his youth.

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