Atomic OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joyce Theatre
  • Atomic
  • NY TIMES

  • NY POST

  • VULTURE

  • HUFFPOST

  • TM

Opening Night:
July 13, 2014
Closing:
August 16, 2014

Theater: Acorn Theatre / 410 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Atomic is the thrilling new Off-Broadway Musical blasting the doors off The Manhattan Project, a Government funded program of top scientists with the task of creating the world’s first Atomic Bomb. Leo Szilard is the brains behind atomic power, but his heart has reservations. Ethics, scientific progress, and true love are tested as Leo discovers exactly what he’s capable of when someone believes in him.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Atomic

    Sing the Song Before You Drop That Bomb ‘Atomic,’ a Musical About the Making of the Bomb

    David Rooney

    July 13, 2014: Summer in the city is a time for musical experimentation, with the New York Musical Theater Festival and the New York International Fringe Festival among industry showcases for developing works. Given their aim to allow creative teams to assess the strengths and weakness of their babies while they eye a commercial future, those forums invite a spirit of forgiveness from the audience as the teething troubles and conceptual kinks are worked out. It’s more perplexing, however, when a new musical lands a professional production and wrangles a capable, vocally accomplished cast without much evidence that anyone involved has asked the fundamental question: Why does this story need to be sung? That’s the conundrum hanging like a mushroom cloud over Atomic, an earnest new musical from Australia that opened Off Broadway Sunday at Theater Row, with book and lyrics by Danny Ginges and Gregory Bonsignore, and music and lyrics by Philip Foxman.

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  • NEW YORK POST REVIEW OF Atomic

    Off-Broadway Manhattan Project an ‘Atomic’ bomb

    Frank Scheck

    July 13, 2014: The creation of the atomic bomb was one of the most momentous events in world history. The most lethal weapon ever devised by man, it ended World War II when dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people. I know what you’re thinking: What a great subject for a musical! That, at least, was the notion behind Atomic, the stunningly misconceived musical that — after a mysteriously successful run in Australia — opened here Sunday, provoking the same kind of jaw dropping last seen by the audience watching Springtime for Hitler. Much like the Manhattan Project, its creators — Danny Ginges and Gregory Bonsignore (book and lyrics) and Philip Foxman (music and lyrics) — have created a bomb.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF Atomic

    Atomic Ends Just the Way You’d Think, Only Worse

    Jesse Green

    July 13, 2014: Atomic is the kind of show the late Mary Rodgers famously called a why? musical: One that fills no conceivable need. Or am I mistaken: Did the story of the nuclear physicist Leó Szilárd, one of the tortured brains behind the Manhattan Project, cry out to be deepened with pseudo-Who power ballads like “The Atom Bomb Is Here”? No bad play is as bad as a bad musical, which has so many ways to fail. The creators of Atomic, originally staged in Australia, have cleverly found them all. In dramatizing Szilárd’s path from paper genius to deterrence enthusiast to horrified onlooker as his invention is used aggressively on Japan instead of as a threat to Germany, they have trivialized one of the most consequential stories in modern history and haven’t even offered any good tunes in return. With its loose threads of melody strung limply over armatures of familiar chords, the score depends for its effects on the empty gestures of confessional rock, which become more embarrassing the harder they’re pushed. Which is, in this case, very hard. A mere ten minutes in, Szilárd (Jeremy Kushnier) leaps onto a table at the intersection of hot white spots to belt his “Pinball Wizard” moment: “I will build a chain reaction that will light up the world.”

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  • HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW OF Atomic

    First Nighter: Musicals "Atomic," "The Mapmaker's Opera," "ValueVille"

    David Finkle

    July 13, 2014: Atomic, at the Acorn, is the show that asks the musical question: Once the A-bomb was realized, was it wise to use it? Coming up with an answer requires a great deal of serious thought, which is what librettist-lyricists Danny Ginges and Gregory Bonsignore and composer-lyricist Philip Foxman give it. Whether they've given it enough thought--in a tuner that may push the limit on how far musicals dealing with difficult issues can go--remains in question. Ginges, Bonsignore and Foxman tell their story within an intriguing framework. Appearing before the House Un-American Activities Committee, the brilliant though arrogant J. Robert Oppenheimer (Euan Morton) decides to defend his loyalty to the country by telling the history of the development of the devastating weapon that irrevocably changed mankind's history. Oppenheimer introduces the tale of Leo Szilard (Jeremy Kushnier), then and now an almost forgotten figure in the building of the atomic bomb. It was Szilard who got the genius notion about a chain reaction leading to splitting the atom, a possibility discounted prior to the mid-1930s.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Atomic

    This new off-Broadway rock operetta explores the creation of the atomic bomb.

    David Gordon

    July 13, 2014: A musical about the creation of the atomic bomb? Sounds crazy, no? Well then, try imagining it as a hard-driving rock operetta in the vein of a 1980s mega-musical. Then you're closer to Atomic, which features music and lyrics by Philip Foxman and book and lyrics by Danny Ginges and Gregory Bonsignore. Not only is the highly polished product, now playing at Theater Row's Acorn Theater, compulsively watchable, but it features a cast of Broadway stalwarts that blow the roof off the theater with bombshell performances. The events of Atomic are told as flashback episodes narrated by physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Euan Morton), as he testifies in front of the United States Atomic Energy Commission in 1954 regarding his communist leanings. Oppenheimer's own motive is to tell the story of Leo Szilard (Jeremy Kushnier), the Hungarian physicist whose patents on the nuclear chain reaction, as well as the nuclear reactor, resulted in the formation of the Manhattan Project's development of the A-bomb. Ginges and Bonsignore have done their research, and their book is one of the most intelligent to come around in recent memory. They manage to make a relatively complex chunk of history digestible in a way that doesn't oversimplify its events. They've also crafted a compelling, heartfelt secondary story about the relationship between Szilard and his wife Trude (Sara Gettelfinger).

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