By Thom Geier
April 24, 2010 at 01:05 PM EDT

Image Credit: Kevin BerneGreen Day’s punk-rock opera American Idiot power-chorded its way onto Broadway this week, but the critical reception was all over the map. EW’s Leah Greenblatt gave the show a solid B. Her review fell somewhere between the New York Times‘ rave and New York Magazine‘s pan, concluding that “Purists on either side of the punk/Broadway divide will likely feel under-served by the mix, but for fans of both (and the ecstatic crowd seemed full of them), the evening offers a chaotic, cathartic experience.” Green Day purists might be happier if the band decides to make frequent surprise appearances on stage at the St. James Theatre, as they did Thursday night to perform a surprise set of “American Idiot” and “Basket Case.”

EW’s Melissa Rose Bernardo had a somewhat similar ambivalence about the musical revue Sondheim on Sondheim. Despite some stellar moments from 82-year-old theater grande dame Barbara Cook and former Ugly Betty star Vanessa Williams, she writes, “not all of the actors can handle any Sondheim song that’s thrown their way.”

Meanwhile, I had nothing but praise for the revival of the 1983 musical La Cage aux Folles featuring a surprisingly strong-voiced Kelsey Grammer and a star-making turn by British actor Douglas Hodge as the very fey, cross-dressing Albin (the role Nathan Lane played in The Birdcage). As I wrote in my A- review, “By the end of this well-paced production, it’s hard not to concur with the refrain of Albin’s second-act number: The best of times is now.”

Speaking of Frasier stars, Leslie Jordan opened a one-man show Off Broadway, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, which EW’s Tanner Stransky called “jaunty, refreshing.” Over at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Harry Potter star Alan Rickman has directed a production of August Strindberg’s bleak drama Creditors and managed to “find heaps of comedy in a dreadfully unhappy scenario,” as Melissa Rose Bernardo writes.

If you’re looking for some live theater, check out the Stage hub for up-to-date news and reviews; or consult this handy guide, which includes links to all of our stage reviews of current shows. (Note: The reviews are typically of performances with the show’s original cast.)


The Addams Family — Musical; opens 4/8/2010; EW grade: B

American Idiot — Musical; opened 4/20/2010; EW grade: B

A Behanding in Spokane — Comedy starring Christopher Walken; opened 3/4/10; EW grade: B+

Billy Elliot — Musical; opened 11/13/08; EW grade: B+

— Musical Revival starring Kelsey Grammer; opened 4/18/10; EW grade: A-

Chicago — Musical Revival; opened 11/14/1996; EW grade: A+

Collected Stories — Drama Revival starring Linda Lavin; opens 4/28/10

Come Fly Away — Musical created, choreographed, and directed by Twyla Tharp; opened 3/25/10; EW grade: A-

Enron — Drama starring Norbert Leo Butz; opens 4/27/10

Everyday Rapture — Musical starring Sherie Rene Scott; opens 4/29/10 – 7/11/10

Fela! — Musical; opened 11/23/2009; EW grade: B+

Fences — Drama Revival starring Denzel Washington; opens 4/26/10 – 7/11/10

A Free Man of Color — Drama by playwright John Guare; opens 11/18/10

God of Carnage — Comedy starring Jeff Daniels and Lucy Liu; opened 3/22/2009 – 6/27/10 (original review); EW grade: A-

Hair — Musical Revival; opened 3/31/2009; EW grade: A-

In the Heights — Musical starring Corbin Bleu; opened 2/14/2009; EW grade: B+

Jersey Boys — Musical; opened 11/7/2005; EW grade: A

Lend Me a Tenor — Comedy Revival starring Anthony LaPaglia, Tony Shalhoub, and Justin Bartha; opens 4/4/10; EW grade: A–

The Lion King — Musical; opened 11/13/1997; EW grade: A+

A Little Night Music — Musical Revival starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury; opened 12/13/09; EW grade: B+

Love Never Dies — Musical sequel to Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber; opens spring 2011

Mamma Mia! — Musical; opened 10/18/2001; EW grade: B+

Mary Poppins — Musical; opened 11/16/2009; EW grade: A-

Memphis — Musical; opened 10/19/2009; EW grade: C+

Million Dollar Quartet — Musical; opens 4/11/10; EW grade: B-

Next Fall — Drama; opened 3/11/10; EW grade: A-

Next to Normal — Musical; opened 4/19/2009; EW grade: A

The Phantom of the Opera — Musical; opened 1/26/1988

Promises, Promises — Musical Revival starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth; opens 4/25/10

Race — Drama starring James Spader and Kerry Washington; opened 12/6/2009; EW grade: C

Red — Drama starring Alfred Molina; opens 4/1/10 – 6/13/10; EW grade: A-

Rock of Ages — Musical; opened 4/7/2009; EW grade: C+

Sondheim on Sondheim — Musical Revue; opened 4/22/10 – 6/13/10; EW grade: B-

South Pacific — Musical Revival; opened 4/3/2008; EW grade: A

Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark — Musical; opens fall 2010

Unchain My Heart — Musical based on the life of Ray Charles; opens 11/7/10

West Side Story — Musical Revival; opened 3/19/2009; EW grade: B

Wicked — Musical; opened 10/30/03; EW grade: B

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown — Musical; opens 11/4/10

You Can’t Take It With You — Comedy Revival; opens 11/14/10


Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps — Comedy; reopened 3/25/10; EW grade: B+

Avenue Q — Musical; reopened 10/21/2009; EW grade: A

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson — Musical; opened 4/6/10 – 4/25/10; EW grade: A

Blue Man Group — Special Performance; opened 11/11/1991

Creditors — Drama Revival; opened 4/20/10 – 5/16/10; EW grade: A-

The Fantasticks — Musical Revival; opened 6/16/2008; EW grade: B+

The Glass Menagerie — Drama revival; opened 3/24/10 – 6/13/10; EW grade: A

The Grand Manner — Drama by A.R. Gurney; opens 6/24/10

Love, Loss, and What I Wore — Drama; opened 10/1/2009; EW grade: B+

My Trip Down the Pink CarpetComedy starring Leslie Jordan; opened 4/19/10 – 7/3/10; EW grade: B

North AtlanticPlay starring Maura Tierney; opened 3/23/10 – 4/25/10; EW grade: B–

The Orphans’ Home Cycle, Part I — Drama; opened 11/20/2009 – 5/8/10; EW grade: A-

The Orphan’s Home Cycle, Part II Drama; opened 12/17/09 – 5/8/10; EW grade: B+

The Orphan’s Home Cycle, Part III — Drama; opens 1/26/10 – 5/8/10; EW grade: A

Stomp — Special Performance; opened 2/27/1994

Stuffed and UnstrungComedy for adults featuring Henson puppets; opened 4/1/10; EW grade: A

When the Rain Stops Falling — Drama starring Victoria Clark and Mary Beth Hurt; opened 3/8/10; EW grade: B-

White’s Lies — Comedy starring Betty Buckley and Peter Scolari; opens 5/6/10


The 101 Dalmatians Musical (National tour) — Musical; EW grade: B-

August: Osage County (National tour with Estelle Parsons) — Drama; EW grade: A

Dreamgirls (National tour with Syesha Mercado) — Musical; EW grade: B+

(Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened November 2004; EW grade: A-

LOVE (Las Vegas) — Musical Revue; opened 8/24/2006; EW grade: A-

Love Never Dies (London) — Musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber; opened 3/9/10; EW grade: C

Mary Poppins (National tour) — Musical; EW grade: B

Mystere (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened 5/25/1993; EW grade: A

O (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened October 1998; EW grade: A-

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family (National tour) — Drama with Music; opened 1/6/10; EW grade: B-

Zumanity (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened September 2003; EW grade: C

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