Stage reviews of ''The Performers,'' ''Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,'' and more

By EW Staff
November 16, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

The Performers Broadway
It’s everything the masses want on Broadway: It’s short (just 90 minutes), sexy (a send-up of the porn industry), and ruled by a ditzy scene-stealer (The Sitter’s Ari Graynor). Oh, and it also stars Alicia Silverstone, Henry Winkler, and Cheyenne Jackson, whose ripped body is blessedly on display for the show’s first 10 minutes. David West Read’s laugh-a-minute script is light, but fires on all cylinders. ( A-Tanner Stransky

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Off Broadway
Some 40 years ago, Christopher Durang burst on the scene with breezy, college-clever spoofs starring Yale School of Drama pal Sigourney Weaver. But his sophomoric new mash-up of Chekhovian themes feels all the more shallow for the fancy production values and star power attached. Weaver camps it up, while David Hyde Pierce nobly approximates Russian melancholy. ( C+Lisa Schwarzbaum

The Mystery of Edwin Drood Broadway
The 1985 musical, based on Charles Dickens’ final (unfinished) novel, is back with standout turns by two septuagenarian vets: Jim Norton, as the spry narrator, and Chita Rivera, as a London madam. Rupert Holmes’ score, though, is mostly thin pastiche, and his clever script — with the audience voting on one of several endings — seems suspiciously more fun to perform than to watch. ( BThom Geier

Scandalous Broadway
A Sunday service isn’t all that far from musical theater, particularly when Aimee Semple McPherson — America’s first female celebrity evangelist — is involved. The new musical based on her rise and ignominious fall benefits from a spirited lead performance by Carolee Carmello, but Kathie Lee Gifford’s cheeky-cheesy book and lyrics sin with an overstuffed narrative that refuses to get its hands dirty. ( B-Keith Staskiewicz