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Review Roundup: THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!


Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood began previews on October 19th. The show opens officially tonight, November 13th, 2012 at Studio 54 on Broadway and plays a limited engagement through February 10th, 2013.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood stars Stephanie J. Block, Will Chase, Gregg Edelman, Jim Norton, and Chita Rivera with Andy Karl, Jessie Mueller, Betsy Wolfe, Nicholas Barasch, Peter Benson, and Robert Creighton. Additional cast members include Alison Cimmet, Kyle Coffman, Nick Corley, Janine DiVita, Jenifer Foote, Justin Greer, Shannon Lewis, Spencer Plachy, Kiira Schmidt, Eric Sciotto, Jim Walton.

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

Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: In an era when Broadway revivals of beloved musicals can seem dispiritingly skimpy, this handsome production offers a generous feast for the eyes, trimmed in holiday cheer for an added spritz of currency...And the evening’s performers — including a bona fide Broadway grande dame, Chita Rivera; a host of plush-voiced singers; and the jovial imp Jim Norton as the evening’s M.C. — throw themselves into the winking spirit of the show...Despite its varied charms, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” remains a musical that ultimately adds up to less than the sum of its hard-working parts. The overelaborate finale — which includes not only the choosing of the murderer but also the selection of a detective and a happy couple to be paired off — somewhat taxes our delight in taking part…But then, who has not felt a bit deflated upon completing a page-turning detective story?...The musical “Edwin Drood” at least leaves behind moments of shimmering musical pleasure to savor, long after the miscreant of the night has been booed off the stage.

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: Perhaps the best part is watching the first-rate cast have so much fun — Stephanie J. Block shows real comedic power, Jim Norton is having a ball, Chita Rivera is giggly, Gregg Edelman is just silly and Will Chase is over-acting perfectly...This is a play where overacting can be done to perfection…The jokes are hoary, the songs are ditties ("Off to the Races" is the best known) and the mystery not so mysterious — "You might like to add that line to your list of suspicious statements!" says one character to the audience — but the fun is infectious, even if it seems that the folks on stage might be having more of it than the paying guests…In the wrong hands, it can sit awkwardly in a Broadway house — too zany, too arch. But these are the right hands: There are veterans at every turn. So no matter who gets the most votes, everyone wins.

Erik Haagensen, Backstage: Director Scott Ellis’ edition is brisker and brighter than Wilford Leach’s original, most notably in the performances of Will Chase and Betsy Wolfe as Jasper and Rosa. Chase opts for energetic mustache-twirling and Wolfe sticks with innocent and virginal, though both sing powerfully. In the pants role of Drood, Stephanie Block cavorts with a winking manliness and employs her spectacular voice authoritatively, though she lacks originator Betty Buckley’s sharp edge. Jessie Mueller and Andy Karl milk Helena and Neville’s cartoon exoticism for big laughs, and Gregg Edelman dithers appropriately as Crisparkle. Best are the elegantly authentic Jim Norton, absolutely the equal of the peerless George Rose as the troupe’s leader and our host, and, as Puffer, the playful Chita Rivera, who knows in her bones how to do a star turn despite the worst cockney accent since Dick Van Dyke. The audience I saw “Drood” with adored it, and I suspect most will, so hooray for Roundabout. Alas, the show still makes my teeth hurt.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: One of the refrains sung by the Victorian music hall performers in The Mystery of Edwin Drood is, “No good can come from bad.” The case isn’t quite so black and white in this 1985 “musicale with dramatic interludes” by Rupert Holmes, teased out of the unfinished Charles Dickens novel. But regardless of the accomplished cast and sparkling design and direction in Roundabout’s Broadway revival, nothing great can come of mediocre material…Holmes’ show scores points for ingenuity, but it often feels like being stuck for too long in front of an olde-worlde department-store window display. A vehicle running 2½ hours needs more memorable songs than these mostly interchangeable parlor ditties, and more engaging characters than this bunch, which by design, are cardboard cutouts enlivened by melodramatic flourishes. A genuinely intriguing mystery rather than a half-baked whodunit devoid of psychological complexity wouldn’t hurt either.

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