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Finding Neverland

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Beware, this posting may contain some "SPOILER ALERTS"!!!!!!!!


I'll apologize in advance to anyone who finds my thoughts on this production off-putting.





This show continues to be hyped as a major Tony contender. It has been extremely successful in it first few weeks in previews raking in over $1 million in box-office each week. Sold-out was the phrase repeated over and over last night at the box office window as I stood in the lobby waiting for entrance into the theater. The line for cancellations grew and grew.


The audience was a mix of families, young teenage girls and a dose of us "older" theatergoers. When Matthew Morrison makes his entrance as J.M. Barrie the applause was almost deafening. The Glee factor was in the house.


The show is based on the life story (and movie of the same name) of J.M Barrie and how he came to write his classic tale Peter Pan. In this production, he is a successful London playwright who is in a slump, his current show is losing money and his producer, Charles Frohman (Kelsey Grammar) is pressuring him to write another successful play. Despondent, J.M, spends his time alone in Kennsington Park contemplating his future and crumbling marriage. While in the Park he meets a widow, Sylvia, and her four boys, who all become the inspiration for his next work, Peter Pan.


We never really get to Neverland. Sylvia comes down with a dreaded "cough", or one assumes she has TB. The play is a hit. Barrie donates all profits to an orphanage Barrie and the boys remain together. (He adopted them in real life)


I did not think this was a very happy show. There are some bright moment, but the storyline focuses on Barrie's depression, his failed marriage, Sylvia's ill health and the poor son, Peter, who is brooding over the death of his father, and the Sylvia's mother who wants him no where near her grandson's and daughter.


The music is very good. Fledgling stage songwriters, Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy have created a lovely score. Formerly pop-songwriters, they have stepped up and their first collaboration for Broadway is quite good, but as good as the score is, it did not have any rousing show stopping tunes. (there is a CD with the soundtrack sung by pop stars Jessie J and Jennifer Hudson).


The choreography, by SYTYCD jude Mia Michaels, is also good but not memorable.


The cast is very good. Matthew Morrison (with a beard) is great but his Scottish accent is a bit off-putting. His singing voice is terrific and he's handsome. Kelsey Grammar has the unfortunate predicament that every time I see him onstage I can't help but think he's doing yet another version of Frasier. ( SPOILER ALERT...there's even a reference to Cheers in the script GROAN!) Still, he was good and his Captain Hook in the fantasy scenes is a highlight. the "boys" were all very good, but as child actors, in keeping with union rules, the four roles are played by different young actors at various performances.


So in the end, I was pleased but not overwhelmed with this production. It will do well. I know others who have seen it and loved it. Perhaps the cold and chilly rainy evening put a damper on my spirits. Sorry to say, I thought Something Rotten was far better.


Well, we'll see, the Tony noms are just around the corner and I'm sure that Finding Neverland and Something Rotten will be neck-in-neck for the Best Musical award as well as a sow of other noms.


Opens next week...April 15...oddly enough tax day!!

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I agree with Ed on this one. I loved the original movie, which is a melancholy smallish film about a man trying to redefine himself and who finds inspiration in a family in sad circumstances. The musical makes kind of a big "whoop-de-doo" about the whole thing which loses some of the intimate magic of the tale.

The cast is pretty strong. Matt Morrison is probably working harder than he ever did on Glee...he's on most of the evening and has most of the songs and I like his voice. Kelsey Grammar is doing his "thing" and the CHEERS joke, with the slow head-turn and smirk to the audience is kind of appalling, although the audience seemed to like it. And Laura Michelle Kelly, the original Mary Poppins on the London stage, has a lovely voice and appealing presence.

I found the music, especially the orchestrations to be a little too "pop" for my taste. Interesting that this is the second score for this show, the producer, Harvey Weinstein, fired the songwriters from the original UK production...would love to hear that score.

I hated the choreography...I appreciate Ms. Michaels talent, but found that it looked too much like So You Think You Can Dance, which didn't work for me in Edwardian England.

I enjoyed my time, particularly as I was taken by a critic pal, so we had great seats for free, but I find it tough to recommend with so many other things playing right now. Ben Brantley was across the aisle and I don't think he enjoyed it very much...we'll see tomorrow morning.

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I just done watching CBS morning. They had K Grammer on. I just picked up on your comments. Critics...what can I say? They certainly do not speak for me. Will be in NYC in July. Getting tickets today. Can't wait. I think my friend and I are supposed to hook with someone. Can't remember who. Dementia you know? I think the term critics vs reviewers is more correct.

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I don't know anything about dance. But looking at the video included in the NY Post article-if that is representative of all the dancing-I understand their criticism. What I saw looks too 'crisp' and not as 'fluid' as I would expect. But I still wish I could see it.


It's not really fair for Matthew Morrison to be so good looking and talented too. :(



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