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Dr. Zhivago


edjames
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The Russian revolution has come to Broadway. This massive saga is based on the award winning novel by Boris Pasternak, and the 1965 Oscar winning film starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.

Wisely, the writers have edited the story down to about 2 hours and 40 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission.

This version started at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 2006, and it was revised and opened in Sydney in 2011.

Directed by 2 time Tony winner Des Mcanuff with music and lyrics by Lucy Simon (yes, Carly's sister! A 2 time Grammy winner) and lyrics by Michael Korie (Tony nom for Grey Gardens), this sprawling saga has powerful anthem-like tunes and beautiful love ballads, both solos and duets. The Oscar winning tune Lara's Theme (Somewhere My Love) is beautifully presented and was one of the show's highlights.

The cast, led by Tam Mutu (making his Broadway debut), is excellent. He is handsome with a great singing voice. Kelli Barrett plays Lara.

The story is dark and tragic. Revolution, ill-fated love, war and misery. Aristocracy, peasants, revolutionaries are all represented. There are more explosions, gunfire and pyrotechnics in this production than I think there were in the revolution itself. You certainly won't sleep through this show.

I went skeptical but left enjoying the show very much. opens April 21.

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I didn't care for this one as much as Ed, and I wanted to because I love Ms. Simon's music in Secret Garden.

But I thought the show was a little past it's time.... The epic story filled with power ballads and anthems seemed very 1990s to me. I will say that I was totally engrossed in the story, but the music just didn't catch me and I found the second act pretty slow, and the ending very abrupt.

Director Des McAnuff who won his Tonys for Billy Crystal's one-man show and Jersey Boys tends to have his performers come downstage center to sing each song, which works for The Four Seasons but I was bored with it here.

The costumes in Act one are lovely, but I found the set odd...the representative rail car seemed awkward as they'd swing it around and push it up and down stage. Singing is great...but I was most affected by Paul Alexander Nolan as Strelnikov...kind of like going to see Les Mis for Javert.

I saw this with friends for $45 with tdf tickets, and ended up having great seats in the orchestra, which was nice because the Broadway is a big house and has a mezzanine that stretches to Bayonne. I fear this will be an early casualty after reviews and Tony nominations, I think there's a lot playing now that will eclipse it's audience.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Closing on Sunday 5/10.

 

Not that I'm particularly happy to say that - I'm never happy to see a show fail; to see so many people suddenly out of work. One of my former students was in the ensemble. (Though she's got plenty going for her and will certainly find work beyond this). But on the other hand, I think the odds were against this one for any number of reasons. So while I may not be happy, I'm also not surprised.

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