A wasteland of big Broadway performers, film writers and a talented creative team, Women is sadly only on the verge of putting its audiences to sleep.
Based on Pedro Almodovar’s internationally acclaimed 1988 film, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” the musical is set in Madrid in 1987. It tells the story of the interconnected lives of a group of women whose relationships with men lead to a chaotic 48 hours of love, puzzlement and passion.
The love is difficult to find in a script that follows too many characters. The frenzy of the cast is clear and enjoyable, but the music is horrendous.
Collaborators David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane were the brilliant creative team behind Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and director Bartlett Sher won a Tony Award for his hand in South Pacific. To have this disaster of a theatrical experience come from them is utterly surprising.
The cast of is well-known for their talent, which is never given the chance to show itself.
Laura Benanti, a Tony Award winning gem from Gypsy, is the highlight of the show, demonstrating comedic chops that will surely continue to win her accolades for years to come. Her humor is very much needed in such a convoluted piece.
It’s sad to say that Justin Guarini, making his Broadway debut after being the runner up on the first season of “American Idol,” is also one of the few highlights.
His animation and the few opportunities he has to show his ease with choreography are charming and funny.
When Guarini outshines the likes of Patti LuPone and Brian Stokes Mitchell, it’s clear that something in this show’s conception went seriously awry.
Sherie Rene Scott (highly acclaimed for her work in Everyday Rapture) plays lead Pepa, whose Spanish accented voice sounds like an interpretation of Jennifer Lopez in Selena.
The songs she has to wade through are endless and boring, and Scott even seems desperate to get off the stage.
The bright costumes and gaudy hats LuPone wears are the best part of her performance, and at every second are more entertaining than her execution of Lucia.
Her awful performance is ironic, seeing as how it’s her first time on stage following her annoyingly cocky and self-indulgent autobiography.
Danny Burstein is a comedic treasure in every one of his productions (The Drowsy Chaperone and South Pacific), and should have been treated as such in this production.
He makes do with what he is given as the Taxi Driver, a role so boring and annoying it wasn’t even given a first name.
It seems that the creative team spent more time on producing an adorable taxi for him than they did on writing him a worthy role.
Brian Stokes Mitchell sings to the rafters in “The Microphone”, a cute song in which he charms the ladies by emoting the words “blah, blah, blah.” Unfortunately, the blah production does little to charm its audiences.
Michael Yeargan’s sets are creative and colorful, and Sven Ortel’s projections are unique and set the tone for an entertaining, festive show that never arrives.
A few acts stood out as crafty, such as “Tangled” and “Model Behavior”, but even the best of the songs are immediately forgettable. Despite what seems to be some effort, Womenis often cringe-inducing and distressing and, perhaps, humdrum at best.
To purchase tickets to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown visit Telecharge.