Friday, October 06, 2006

Top 5?

While most people in this industry are concerned tonight with whether A Chorus Line will be a singular sensation, I myself have my attention focused on beantown, where High Fidelity has opened its tryout. I am really pulling for it, as I hope all new shows succeed, especially ones with Will Chase. I was supposed to go to see it last weekend, but, my fever has kept me home bound and thus I just have the reviews to give me a glimpse of the show. And you'll read them here as I read them. Now, note, this is a tryout. As we all know, Movin' Out got bad reviews in Chicago and look at that.

The first High Fidelity review I've seen is from The Boston Herald's Terry Byrne. Byrne isn't having it, in the second paragraph stating: "Composer Tom Kitt’s songs are a forgettable collection of regurgitated rock and show tunes that borrow from all the wrong people. In a story that celebrates a guy’s love for real music, that’s not acceptable."
But Byrne likes most of the cast, including Will. The one exception is Jenn Colella, who had probably been having a good week as she watched The Times They Are A-Changin' drama from far away, but now has a little rain falling on her parade. Byrne notes Colella "is a strong singer, but she’s a little bland, so it’s hard to understand why Rob wants her back."
Other comments: "The characters surrounding the two leads are more compelling than the ones we’re supposed to focus on.... Director Walter Bobbie has worked in a few clever moments on Anna Louizos’ fascinating fold-out set...But there aren’t enough of these over-the-top moments to sustain interest. Lindsay-Abaire has written some clever dialogue (with references to John Tesh and other faux icons of the early ’90s), but Amanda Green’s lyrics try too hard."

OK, it's 1am and the second review is up... It's by Joan Anderman of The Boston Globe and I have to say it's not great either. She calls the show "mildly witty and amusing" but she sadly does not mean that in a good way. Anderman: "In an effort to straddle the hip, indie world of its characters and the mainstream demands of Broadway, the show misses both marks." Anderman likes Green's lyrics, calling them "very smart," but the music gets slammed again here. It seems so far that these two critics just think the show is too darn generic. But, again, this is a tryout, so there is hope.

The third major review is in and it is... drumroll... GOOD! Variety's Frank Rizzo writes: "Even with all its out-of-town try-out flaws, High Fidelity is a musical that celebrates the power of pop culture with wit, verve and a killer beat." Rizzo thinks David Lindsay-Abaire does a good job with the book. He sadly doesn't love Will and thinks the female lead role is a bit "underwritten." But he loves the music and the lyrics, becoming the first critic to really praise the tunes. He also calls the production values "solid." All in all, this is a good sign for the show. Rizzo notes that the second act needs help and some other issue, but it is still by far the tuner's best review.

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