Review Roundup: Public Theater's VENICE

The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) recently announced a one week extension today for the new Public Lab musical Venice, with book by Eric Rosen, music by Matt Sax, lyrics by Matt Sax and Eric Rosen, additional music by Curtis Moore, and choreography by Chase Brock. Directed by Eric Rosen, Venice began performances on Tuesday, May 28 and was originally scheduled to close on Sunday, June 23. It will now run an additional week through Sunday, June 30.

The complete cast of Venice features Uzo Aduba (Anna Monroe), Jennifer Damiano (Willow Turner), Jonathan-David (Theodore Westbrook), Emilee Dupré (Ensemble), Claybourne Elder (Michael Victor), Semhar Ghebremichael (Ensemble), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Markos Monroe), Victoria Platt (Emilia Monroe), Angela Polk (Hailey Daisy), Devin Roberts(Ensemble) Matt Sax (Clown), and Haaz Sleiman (Venice Monroe), and Manuel Stark(Ensemble).

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Ben Brantley, New York Times: There's enough plot in Eric Rosen and Matt Sax's "Venice," the action-flooded new musical at The Public Theater, to fill a whole year in a Marvel comics series. Though it borrows some of its story from Shakespeare's "Othello" and much of its tone from apocalyptic movie blockbusters like "The Dark Knight Rises," this tale of a once-and-future civil war still seems to translate into two-dimensional panels as you watch it.

Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: Terrible musicals are a dime a dozen, but what makes "Venice" galling is its humorless grandstanding. Bad is bad, but self-important bad is worse.

Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: The spoken-word rhythms by Sax, who nudges the narrative along as the Clown MC, give the show an intriguing sound that eventually gets a bit one-note. It's relief when songs trade hip hop for pop-rock melodies, as in the surprisingly pretty "Willow" and "Sunrise." The heavier issue is Rosen's dumbed-down book. His broad strokes reduce the characters and story to comic-book proportions, so the stakes aren't there. Young men selling these tough-talking lines end up sounding like posers. That's no fault of the game and talented cast, which includes Claybourne Elder, as a security chief, and an intense Victoria Platt, who plays Markos' wife.

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