Finding Neverland BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Carol Rosegg
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • HR

  • VULTURE

  • NBC

Opening Night:
April 15, 2015
Closing:
August 21, 2016

Theater: Lunt-Fontanne Theatre / 205 West 46th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

"Finding Neverland" follows the story of author J.M. Barrie and his relationship with the family of widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, who eventually became Barrie's inspiration to write Peter Pan. The musical explores the power of imagination to open up new worlds, and the pressures put upon those worlds by the inevitability of growing up.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Finding Neverland

    ‘Finding Neverland,’ a Broadway Musical With Matthew Morrison

    Ben Brantley

    April 15, 2015: The first entrance applause occurs before even the overture begins. Riotous clapping is occasioned when a bright point of light travels over the ceiling and the curtain of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in New York, where the push-button, button-pushing musical “Finding Neverland” opened on Wednesday night. This little light, you see, is pretty much guaranteed to elicit a Pavlovian response from anyone familiar with the story of “Peter Pan” in its various incarnations, which surely includes everyone who shelled out the big bucks for this show. Said light equals Tinker Bell, the temperamental fairy who requires your applause to stay alive. Clap if you believe in brand names. Directed by Diane Paulus — with the guidance of Harvey Weinstein, its chief producer — “Finding Neverland” is filled with such triggers. The most brazen, perhaps, comes when an English actor in a pub asks an American, “Do they say ‘cheers’ where you come from, mate?” The simple query sets the audience aroar. That’s because the man playing the American happens to be Kelsey Grammer, who was a regular on the long-running sitcom “Cheers.” Neither Mr. Grammer nor the show’s leading man, Matthew Morrison (of the television series “Glee”), appear wholly invested in their performances. But that’s O.K. Their mere presences do most of the work for them. As with many a Broadway musical these days, “Finding Neverland” — which features a book by James Graham and sticky soft-pop power ballads by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy — is based on a popular film. That would be the 2004 biopic about the playwright J. M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, which starred Johnny Depp and for which Mr. Weinstein was an executive producer.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Finding Neverland

    'Finding Neverland' Theater review

    David Cote

    April 15, 2015: Manic, childish applause might cure the poisoned fairy Tinker Bell, but it's not medicine enough for "Finding Neverland," the awkward, garish and manipulative musical based on the 2004 Miramax film about playwright J.M. Barrie and the boys who inspired Peter Pan. Show-doctored into a state of shrill mediocrity, the patient can barely walk, let alone fly. The premise worked in the movie, whisking us from Edwardian England to Barrie's fertile whimsy as Johnny Depp took inspiration from four soon-to-be-motherless lads. Here, book writer James Graham opts for a portrait of Barrie (Matthew Morrison) as a troubled, midcareer artist whose affection for the children of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Laura Michelle Kelly) grows gradually—not the fast, impish connection Depp made onscreen. This being a family musical competing with the superior "Wicked," "Matilda" and others, nonexistent drama has been drummed up (along with the volume, in Jonathan Deans's oppressive sound design) to justify two acts about a successful writer's new project and his crush on a sickly widow.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Finding Neverland

    Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer star in this musicalization of the 2004 Johnny Depp film

    David Rooney

    April 15, 2015: It had enough admirers to snag several Oscar nominations, including best picture, but I confess I found the 2004 movie "Finding Neverland" a decorous yawn, starring a somnambulant Johnny Depp opposite Kate Winslet in a role that under-utilized her talents. But the preciousness and mawkish emotional manipulation of the movie seem like the austere work of a Michael Haneke by comparison with this long-aborning stage musical adaptation. Bombastic and exhausting, the show confuses childishness with an affinity for the child inside, at times recalling "Wicked" in its busily assaultive hyperactivity, but without that show's catchy songs or engaging central character dynamic. Like "Wicked," however, "Finding Neverland" might also be critic-proof, at least on the evidence of its stellar grosses during previews, and on the vocal response of an audience heavily populated by kids. And good luck to it, if only this family-friendly musical, a semi-fictionalized account of J.M. Barrie's creation of "Peter Pan," didn't work so strenuously for its meager ounce or two of charm.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF Finding Neverland

    A Rough Takeoff for Finding Neverland

    Jesse Green

    April 15, 2015: Provenance is a concept usually associated with art, not theater. Who, after all, owns a plot — or the history on which it is based? Still, the problem rears up in several ways in "Finding Neverland," the new musical starring Matthew Morrison as J.M. Barrie, the author of "Peter Pan." This is not the first Broadway show to posit a backstory for a beloved work of fantasy. (Hello, "Wicked.") It is not even the first to posit a backstory for "Peter Pan," just a few years ago we had "Peter and the Starcatcher." But that play was itself a fantasy, set within the Pan universe before the arrival of the fictional Darlings. "Finding Neverland" purports to be historical: the true tale of how Barrie, inspired by his dealings with the family of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, created the boy who wouldn’t grow up. It also purports to be a singing-dancing family entertainment. It winds up being neither. I’m not sure which problem — historical or musical — is worse; the two are intertwined. Part of what makes the show so frustrating as entertainment is its utter falseness, only some of it grandfathered in. ("Finding Neverland" is based on the 2004 film of the same name, starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, which in turn was based on "The Man Who Was Peter Pan," a 1998 play by Allan Knee.)

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  • NBC NEW YORK REVIEW OF Finding Neverland

    Matthew Morrison, Talented Tykes Help "Finding Neverland" Get Off the Ground

    Robert Kahn

    April 15, 2015: I’m sorry “Finding Neverland" has finally opened—you can catch it now at the Lunt-Fontanne—because the behind-the-scenes tinkering has made for such riveting headlines: Harvey replaces creative team! Harvey axes leading man! Harvey fires publicist! Harvey, being Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein, may be a fledgling lead producer, but he is not messing around here: the man’s helped pump millions into “Neverland,” introducing it in England, redoing it in Boston and finally landing it on Broadway … after a side foray to last year’s Tonys, where it was promoted by Jennifer Hudson. The end result is both rousing and erratic, with bits of thrilling stage magic that are signature Diane Paulus (she also directed “Pippin” and “Hair”), and dialogue that sometimes feels as if it’s been focus group-sanitized to within an inch of its life. Billed as the backstory to “Peter Pan,” the musical is based on the 2004 film, with Johnny Depp.

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