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BROADWAY REVIEWS 39 Steps, The
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Burn the Floor

Bye Bye Birdie

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Wishful Drinking

 

OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Altar Boyz
Avenue Q
Blue Man Group
Celebrity Autobiography
Fuerzabruta
Perfect Crime
Stomp
Toxic Avenger

WALL STREET JOURNAL [TITLE OF SHOW] REVIEW

 

 

Wall Street Journal Review

Songs of Themselves

By TERRY TEACHOUT

 

The ultimate backstage musical -- and I don't mean that as a compliment -- has come to Broadway. "[title of show]" is a show about itself, a 90-minute minimusical whose authors, Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, play themselves and whose subject is how the show in which they are appearing came to be written and produced. If all this sounds claustrophobically self-indulgent, there's a reason: I don't know when I've seen a musical that seemed more pleased with itself.

 

Art about art usually is self-indulgent, but it doesn't have to be -- so long as its self-reflexiveness has wider implications. The first two-thirds of "[title of show]" fails to pass that test. It basically amounts to one long inside joke about theater, a daisy chain of glib references to moldy Broadway flops (anybody who can remember "Censored Scenes From King Kong" needs to run right out and get a life) and stale postmodern gimmickry (it is not clever to shout "Key change!" when the song you're singing changes keys). A full hour crawls by before "[title of show]" cuts out the coyness and gets serious. "Die, Vampire, Die!" is a heartfelt song about creative self-doubt that raises the emotional stakes to the point where it finally becomes possible to empathize with the show's four characters and their quest to bring their little musical to Broadway. From then on I found "[title of show]" to be smart and involving. An hour, alas, is too long to sit and wait for a musical to get good.


Heidi Blickenstaff and Messrs. Bowen and Bell are all charming, Susan Blackwell something more than that. Her edgy performance as a talented but frustrated actress trapped in an unglamorous day job ("I'm actually starring in a little play called 'Corporate Whore' ") is the best thing by far about "[title of show]." I didn't see the show in its 2006 Off-Broadway incarnation, so I don't know whether it works better in a smaller house, but in the 922-seat Lyceum Theatre it comes across as a flyweight exercise in narcissism interspersed with fleeting moments of genuineness.

 

 


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SHOW INFORMATION:

Perf Schedule:

Mon-Fri at 8pm

Sat at 3pm & 8pm

Sun at 3pm & 7:30pm

 

Tickets:
$26.50 - $111.50
Call: 212-239-6200
Click here to buy now.

Show Run Time:
Ninety minutes, with no intermission

 

Theatre Information:
Lyceum Theatre
149 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036

 

 
 

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