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SCANDALOUS BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: November 15, 2012
Synopsis: Scandalous is the new musical based on the life of Aimee Semple McPherson, the world's first media superstar evangelist, whose passion for saving souls equaled her passion for making headlines. Set in 1920's Los Angeles, holiness collides with Hollywood in the extraordinary tale of one woman's charismatic rise to fame amidst scandalous love affairs and growing controversy, inevitably ending in her much-publicized fall from grace.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"The story is as familiar as anything in the Gospels. Little girl from Nowheresville dreams of fame on the world stage. Rebelling against a stern upbringing, she lights out for the big time, picking up and losing a husband or two before amassing an adoring audience. Then come the dark days, as her morals begin to melt in the hot Hollywood spotlight: the pill popping, the bad romances and legal squabbles, the flight from the scavenging reporters. Salvation arrives on cue, just in time for the finale."
"The Tony Award for fearless determination - if such a thing actually existed, ought to go to Kathie Lee Gifford. She has been developing and promoting her musical "Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson" - for which she wrote the lyrics, book and even some of the music - for more than a decade."
"There is nothing remotely scandalous about "Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson," the biographical musical that has book, lyrics and additional music by Kathie Lee Gifford. Despite the inevitable celebrity-lite target on Gifford's back, the musical about the media-star Christian evangelist of the 1920s does not have the toxic aura of a vanity production. It is well-produced and professional."
"A charismatic leader of any sort can convince you to abandon your thoughts and senses and follow along anyway just because it seems like the right thing to do. Musical theatre lovers positive they're immune to such one-dimensional magnetism, and could never be led into oblivion by their inexplicable devotion, will find themselves sorely tested by Scandalous. The musical that just opened at the Neil Simon is distinctive in not one positive way, but it's nearly impossible to wrench your gaze from its glitz-drenched train wreck thanks to its sublime star, Carolee Carmello."
"The American Theatre Wing might as well give Carolee Carmello her Tony Award now. Just like her alter ego for the evening, early-20th-century evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, Carmello is performing miracles, only hers are onstage at the Neil Simon Theatre. In “Scandalous,” the seasoned stage veteran’s top billing is a credit to her performance rather than to her bankability—there’s book writer and lyricist Kathie Lee Gifford for that—and Carmello deserves it, delivering one of the season’s must-see performances (she’s onstage for all but 11 minutes of the show’s two-and-a-half hours). Unfortunately, Carmello’s miracle work doesn’t extend to Gifford’s flimsy, expository musical, which features uncertain direction by David Armstrong."
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