Disaster! BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jeremy Daniel Photography
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • DEADLINE

  • HR

  • VULTURE

Opening Night:
March 8, 2016
Closing:
July 3, 2016

Theater: Nederlander Theatre / 208 West 41st Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

"Disaster!" is set on a summer night in Manhattan in 1979 and follows a group of NYC A-listers who party at the grand opening of a floating casino/disco—until disaster strikes. Earthquakes, tidal waves, infernos, killer bees, rats, sharks, and piranhas all threaten the guests, who sing some of the biggest hits of the ‘70s including “Hot Stuff,” “I Am Woman,” “Knock on Wood” and more.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Disaster!

    Mayhem! Gambling! Disco! In ‘Disaster!’ It’s All There for the Spoofing

    Charles Isherwood

    March 8, 2016: Alert the authorities! There’s a wayward nun on the loose in New York City, committing grand larceny eight times a week. I joke, of course — though that story would be a fun diversion from the onslaught of election coverage, no? The crimes are fictional, and are taking place at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway, where Jennifer Simard, playing a singing sister with an unquenchable yen for slot machines, is pilfering every scene she adorns in the delirious goof of a musical, “Disaster!” Perhaps petty larceny is a more appropriate charge, since this self-consciously silly spoof of the cheesy 1970s films that subjected assorted B-list stars to assorted calamities will never rank among the great musicals of our era — or even the great jukebox musicals of our era, a rather small demographic. But for anyone with a moist, albeit mortifying, affection for the oeuvre of that great auteur Irwin Allen (guilty), and the K-Tel era of pop music (guilty), “Disaster!” will provide a rush of giddy nostalgia that’s just as pleasurable, at times, as the more substantial rewards of the musical theater’s higher-reaching shows.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Disaster!

    'Disaster!' Theater review

    Adam Feldman

    March 8, 2016: Put "The Poseidon Adventure," "Earthquake" and "Airplane!" in a blender; add 30 pop hits from the 1970s (such as “Hot Stuff” and “I Am Woman"), carefully chopped; stir in a seasoned cast of Broadway pros and a magical secret ingredient called Jennifer Simard; add garish coloring, muddle with camp and garnish with the kitschiest cocktail umbrella you can find. This is the recipe for "Disaster!," a lovably scrappy and often deliciously silly jukebox-musical spoof. Adam Pascal and Kerry Butler play ex-lovers reunited on the Barracuda, a very unlucky disco-era gambling cruise. Roger Bart is the ship’s sleazebag owner, and Rachel York finds a fresh spin on dizziness as his lounge-singer girlfriend. Seth Rudesky, who wrote the cleverly winky script with director Jack Plotnick, is a scientist who tries to avert the catastrophes that nonetheless descend on the boat’s passengers (including Faith Prince and Kevin Chamberlin as an amiably tacky couple).

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Disaster!

    Broadway’s Star-Dusted Charm-Free ‘Disaster!’ Writes Its Own Review

    Jeremy Gerard

    March 8, 2016: "Disaster!" is the Nick The Lounge Singer of Broadway musicals. A cast of extraordinarily gifted stars appears to have been tricked into stretching a three-minute parody of movies that were parodies to begin with into a two-hour show. The result is so painfully witless it’s hard to tell where the sea-spray ends and the flop sweat begins. Spoof disaster flicks — now there’s an original idea. Meta, even. So take pity on Adam Pascal, Max Crum, Seth Rudetsky, Roger Bart, Kerry Butler, Jennifer Simard, Faith Prince, Kevin Chamberlin, Lucretia Nicole, Rachel York and youngster Baylee Littrell. Don’t embarrass them with your presence.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Disaster!

    An ensemble of Broadway stalwarts gets nostalgic for 1970s big-screen calamities and cheesy Top 40 period pop in this gag-laden musical parody

    David Rooney

    March 8, 2016: In "Disaster!," Jennifer Simard plays Sister Mary, a nun who entered the convent to escape her gambling addiction. Midway through the first act, she tries and fails to tear herself and the quarter burning a hole in her habit away from a gleaming new Hawaii Five-O slot machine as she belts out the Gloria Gaynor disco hit, "Never Can Say Goodbye." Because it's a great song and because the sublimely funny Simard goes from deadpan dourness to libidinous delirium as the fever overtakes her, the number is a riot. However, despite a game cast of Broadway pros, this campy spoof of 1970s screen schlockbusters too seldom matches those heights. A goofy parody of plot points from "Earthquake," "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Towering Inferno," with side trips into "Piranha," "Willard" and even "Jaws," the show was a hit in two separate off-Broadway runs. Though why anyone thought it was a good idea to move it to primetime Broadway remains a mystery.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF Disaster!

    'Disaster!' Is Predictable

    Jesse Green

    March 8, 2016: It takes a special kind of pluck, or vanity, to name your musical "Disaster!" and not expect critics to agree. But then everything about the campy little show of that name that’s opening tonight on Broadway is foolhardy, especially the “opening tonight on Broadway” part. Disaster! originated at the 130-seat Triad in 2012, then played the 178-seat St. Luke’s Theatre starting in 2013. It’s possible to imagine (I didn’t see either version) that its charms seemed large and its awkwardness charming in those little Off Broadway spaces. They do not in the 1,230-seat Nederlander, where a big but sparse and ugly set (by Tobin Ost) frames a tiny entertainment that should probably have been left in a basement rec room.

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