Review Round Up: Bad Cinderella, Imperial Theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical has now officially opened on Broadway, here’s what critics have had to say about it…

The Guardian: *** “This Cinderella doesn’t have that much to say in the end. But if bubblegum melodies, outfits that slay, and pectoral-forward fun is what you’re after, the shoe fits.”

Variety: “But as the Webber production’s requisite turntable spins and spins, it’s easy to wonder who this new fable is for and what revised moral it aims to impart. If “every great disaster has a villain,” as the hot people of Belleville claim, maybe the villain, in this case, is us. For not-so-secretly wanting to be admired ourselves, and to see our vanity endlessly reflected back to us. And for so often rewarding creators for rehashing old stories while vainly expecting the unexpected.”

The New York Times: “Also lacking delicacy: the songs, with workmanlike lyrics by David Zippel, and music by Lloyd Webber that often sounds like it escaped from “Phantom.” The prettiest, if most bombastic, is “Only You, Lonely You” for Sebastian, which has the engine-in-overdrive feeling of “The Music of the Night,” complete with triple-crème melody and sludgy orchestrations (also by Lloyd Webber).”

Washington Post: “the production staged by Laurence Connor and choreographed by JoAnn M. Hunter is one pandering, overheated conceit after another. The score by Lloyd Webber and Zippel has an all-too predictable supply of power ballads. Even the musical’s supposed moral, that looks aren’t everything, makes no sense when the actress portraying Cinderella is unarguably lovely from the get-go.”

New York Post: “Lloyd Webber’s music — some, not all — is the show’s redeeming element. The direction and design left me cold again. Tylesova’s set of creepy roots and twigs is attractive, but feels miles away from, say, a whimsical plastic surgery scene or a group of shirtless warriors getting cat-called.”

Deadline: “What Bad Cinderella does have is an amusing enough premise, an appealing score of songs that please in the moment, a gorgeous set design, performers that give it their all, and just enough rousing, good-natured moments to hold onto hopes that Bad Cinderella will arrive somewhere transformative before Dorothy has to return to Kansas.” “Within that half-risen soufflé of a plot, the cast of Bad Cinderella tries valiantly to prevent the collapse of your interest. Genao, using her own Brooklyn-Dominican accent, leans into Cinderella’s charming petulance where she can and finds sparks of something approaching chemistry with Dobson — at least up until they start singing Zippel’s rubbery recitative. She’s good, although nobody may be incandescent enough to make an impression with a character so totally underwritten.”

Entertainment Weekly: “The show’s set design, lighting, and choreography are all equally impressive too. Scenic and costume designer Gabriela Tylesova effortlessly brings Prince Sebastian’s ball to life with flickering candelabras, decorative bunting artfully draped from high columns, and glittering gemstone gowns that catch the light just right whenever the show’s all-star ensemble spins and twirls as part of JoAnn M. Hunter’s romantic dance routine. Behind them, lighting designer Bruno Poet evokes a dreamy atmosphere with a sky full of shimmering stars.”

Time Out: ** ” Bad Cinderella is a box of costume jewels: flashy but short on value. Gabriela Tylesova’s glitzy outfits and pop-up-book sets are fun to look at, as are the attractive chorus members who flex and prance for our delectation. (“Thrust your sword with pride! Don’t let it grow limp!“ sings a muscular spread of male dancers, stripped to the waist in a gold gym.) The show is most successful when it hews to campiness, especially in the juicy vocals and hamming of the story’s two smother mothers: Grace McLean as the extravagant Queen—who is bent on finding a bride for Charming’s younger brother, the gangling Sebastian (Jordan Dobson), at a Bachelor-style ball—and Carolee Carmello as Cinderella’s scheming stepmother, who wants to snag Sebastian for one of her heir-headed daughters (Sami Gayle and Morgan Higgins).”

Talkin’ Broadway: “Overall, Bad Cinderella is way out of balance. The title character tends to get misplaced and underutilized, while even the visual elements proffered by Gabriela Tylesova’s set and costume design are overwrought; it looks as though acres of organza had been dropped into a vat of melted Crayola crayons before being sewn into costumes.”

Bad Cinderella continues to play on Broadway.

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