Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

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NEW YORK — Warning: Don’t re-watch the 2000 film “Nearly Well-known” in the event you plan to see “Nearly Well-known,” the brand new Broadway musical. As a result of the film is so good. And the stage model is so much less good.

Comparisons are anathema however appear unavoidable within the case of this musical, which marked its official Broadway opening Thursday night time on the Bernard Jacobs Theatre. Cameron Crowe, who wrote and directed the film, starring Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson, recycles the screenplay, together with giant chunks of dialogue, for the Broadway incarnation. And although Tom Kitt — winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his personal, extremely unique musical, “Subsequent to Regular” — collaborated with Crowe on some new songs, the present will not be way more than a wan rewind of what transpired on-screen.

Broadway is troubled with an unlucky behavior, one which should appear in spitballing classes rife with advertising alternative: Take a recognized movie amount and make it dwell. (That’s “dwell” with an extended “i.” Making it dwell, with a brief “i,” is an entire different degree of problem.) Set in 1973, the yr I graduated from highschool, “Nearly Well-known” does really feel like bait for boomers, a bunch nostalgic for the heyday of rock.

However the musical, mounted on a sparse stage and directed with a paucity of inspiration by Jeremy Herrin, fails to capitalize on the important thing ingredient that made the film such an emblem of a exceptional time: its capacity to evoke the tumult and depth and romance of a band on tour as an period ends. As distilled as soon as once more by means of the experiences of William Miller (Casey Likes in superb voice), the 15-year-old who wangles an task from Rolling Stone journal, the story misses its deft film performances, its jubilant sense of chaos.

A pleasing rock rating, enlivened by tunes from the film by Elton John, Gregg Allman, Nancy Wilson and others, buoys “Nearly Well-known” at instances, significantly within the up-tempo manufacturing quantity, “1973,” that opens the present. Crowe and Kitt increase the songs by the story’s fictional band, Stillwater, with character-driven ballads for the likes of Penny Lane (Solea Pfeiffer), who prefers to name herself a “Band Help” quite than reply to the extra pedestrian label of “groupie.” One of many higher, extra wistful musical additions, “Morocco,” expands on mysterious Penny’s musing about her subsequent escape from humdrum actuality.

However this outing with “Nearly Well-known” by no means fairly manages to endear us to Penny and the opposite Band Aids: Julia Cassandra, Katie Ladner and Jana Djenne Jackson painting them, all wearing interval pop by David Zinn. “They took the mud and the center out of rock-and-roll,” says Lester Bangs, the real-life rock critic performed right here by Rob Colletti, as he lectures the budding journalist on rock’s decline. Bangs materializes periodically to amplify the notion of a music author’s tasks, and as with the Band Aids, the character is quite awkwardly imposed on the proceedings. The weather and personalities of the manufacturing by no means absolutely coalesce.

Chris Wooden performs the pivotal position of Russell Hammond, Stillwater’s charismatic guitarist. Drew Gehling is Jeff Bebe, the band’s covetous frontman (and all too clear comedian foil). And Anika Larsen is William’s overbearing mother, Elaine. All need to step into imposing footwear (inhabited wondrously within the film by, respectively, Crudup, Jason Lee and Francis McDormand.) Not that there isn’t any risk of recent interpretation, however the characters had been so memorably owned by their originators that these actors have been bequeathed effectively nigh inconceivable duties.

See, I shouldn’t have re-watched the film. Right here, Herrin, Crowe and firm replicate the touchstone moments: the confessions of the band members as their aircraft to the following gig hits a violent thunderstorm, Russell on a rooftop excessive on acid, declaring to the throngs beneath that he’s a “golden god.” Ultimately, all that these re-creations call to mind is that imitation will not be at all times the sincerest type of flattery.

Nearly Well-known, ebook by Cameron Crowe, music by Tom Kitt, lyrics by Crowe and Kitt. Directed by Jeremy Herrin. Choreography, Sarah O’Gleby; units and video, Derek McLane; music course, Bryan Perri. With Brandon Contreras, Matt Bittner, Emily Schultheis. About 2½ hours. At Bernard Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. forty fifth St., New York.

By Admin

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