There was a mad crush of premieres this week on Broadway — seven in all, vying to open just under the eligibility wire for this June’s Tony Awards. (Nominations will be announced Tuesday, May 1.) It’s been a surprisingly deep year in each of the four major categories (play, play revival, musical, musical revival).
• A Streetcar Named Desire Despite the occasional jarring moments in director Emily Mann’s revival of Tennessee Williams’ drama — which features TV stars Blair Underwood (The Event) as Stanley and Nicole Ari Parker (Soul Food) as Blanche DuBois — EW critic Lisa Schwarzbaum found the production “still reaches its destination as a mid-century classic of American theater.” EW grade: B+
• Ghost I was disappointed by the musical version of the 1990 Oscar winner, which features a new score by the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart and veteran hitmaker Glen Ballard (as well as “Unchained Melody”). The chief draws are the high-tech set and magic effects that let the hero walk through walls. “Like Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, the musical version of Ghost haunts the eye, not the ear.” EW grade: C
• The Lyons Melissa Rose Bernardo praised Linda Lavin, who “laps up every line and every last laugh” as a self-absorbed matriarch in Nicky Silver’s “delightfully black comedy.” But she finds that too much of the second act strays from the hospital room where the choicest humor (and conflict) takes place. EW grade: B
• Nice Work If You Can Get It Adam Markovitz finds that the “new” Gershwin musical features great classic songs, a “light-as-air book” by Joe DiPietro (Memphis), and terrific supporting players. Unfortunately, he writes, star Matthew Broderick “waltzes alongside his costars with the good-natured boredom of a tipsy wedding guest.” EW grade: B
• The Columnist Keith Staskiewicz gave plaudits to John Lithgow as the hawkish, closeted journalist Joseph Alsop in David Auburn’s “smart but distracted” new drama. “He glides across the stage with puncture-proof self-possession, gestures with a deeply ingrained fastidiousness, and speaks in tones forged in the cushy crucibles of Andover and Harvard,” writes Staskiewicz. EW grade: B+
• Leap of Faith Though I found that “many of Alan Menken’s tunes are heaven-sent gems,” the new musical based on a 1992 big-screen flop has a plot that “never strays from its highly conventional path.” EW grade: B–
• Don’t Dress for Dinner “While the mayhem never rises to the level of Boeing-Boeing,” Marc Camoletti’s previous bedroom farce that yielded a hit Broadway revival four years ago, the Roundabout production yields “plenty of gut-busting moments.” EW grade: B