Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
Considered to be one of the greatest comedies from the 80's Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown transfers from the screen to stage this fall. The highly anticipated adaptation of Pedro Almodovar's now classic screwball comedy has been greeted with some harsh criticism. While the billing stacks together an amazing cast, most notably Patti LuPone, it fails to capture what made the movie so popular. While a musical format seems to fit on paper the show seems to move along in a manufactured way. The characters never have time to develop. The songs are rushed over thus causing a lack of sweeping sentiment, which is required to produce a memorable show tune. The book by Jeffrey Lane has great jokes. The delivery just always seemed rushed. It becomes clear that trying to keep pace with the film on the stage simply does not transfer. This becomes almost painfully obvious with Mrs. LuPone's solo in which the audience never even has a moment to digest nor applaud.
Will those who love Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown be in for disappointment? Perhaps, but as tough as the reviews have been there still are some great moments. Laura Benanti shines the brightest playing the dizzy Candela, main character Pepa's good friend who discovers she is dating a Shiite terrorist. Mrs. Benanti truly induces a fun zest of comedy with possibly the greatest moment of the show with "Model Behavior." Is her performance enough to save the show/ Again, probably not, but it is destined to get some attention from the Broadway faithful. The first season American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini also makes a strong Broadway debut, one which is sure to help further him from any stereotyping.
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown put forth a valiant effort to not only recreate Almodovar's screen magic on the Broadway stage but reinvent it. Unfortunately even with such an immensely talented cast and creative team it misses its mark. The slavish adherence to Almodovar's source material simply did not transfer. One could give kudos's for trying to keep up with all the zany characters and situations they find themselves involved in but in the end it just comes off rushed.
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown are now playing an open-ended run at the Belasco Theatre. The production is under the direction of Bartlett Sher whose recent work on the revival of South Pacific has been praised. Composer David Yazbek created the music and lyrics with a book by Jeffrey Lane. Other cast members include Sherie Rene Scott, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Danny Burstein, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, de'Adre Aziza, Mary Beth Peil, Jennifer Sanchez, Murphy Guyer, Charlie Sutton, Nina Lafarga, Sean McCourt, Luis Salgado, Alma Cuervo and Julio Agustin. While the reviews have been heavy handed, with such talent glowing across the marquee it would be hard to fathom that Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown is a complete flop at the box office this fall.
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