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The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-10-11 10:03:20


I am seeing DROOD at the end of this month on my day trip to the city (along with NEWSIES). I haven't heard a whole lot of talk on the boards about the show (realizing of course it hasn't started performances yet). I also notice that ticket sales look kind of slim on the Roundabout site. Is the excitement level for this show kind of low? Or are people waiting to hear reports from early previews? I ask because I am uber-excited to see what my best friend is referring to as our "Choose Your Own Adventure" musical AND to see that amazing cast - especially as this will be my first time getting to see the legendary Chita Rivera live! Anyone else excited for this show?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by little_sally 2012-10-11 10:08:59


I am really, really excited for this show. I adore the score so much.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ClydeBarrow 2012-10-11 10:45:15


Will Chase is in it so my excitement level is through the roof. I'm seeing it next Sat.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by macnyc 2012-10-11 10:46:18


I'm excited! I got $10 tickets for next Sunday, and my daughter bought Hiptix too!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by once a month 2012-10-11 11:01:48


Looking forward to seeing it but can't say I'm excited. I saw the original and liked it, but it was never one of my favorite "life-changing' shows.

I miss George Rose!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-10-11 11:41:34


I couldn't be more excited for this revival. Although it's far from a perfect show, it's always been one of my favorite scores and original casts. I too miss the brilliance of George Rose -- I have a good feeling about Jim Norton in the part, and only hope he really lets loose and doesn't shy away from being larger-than-life in the role.

Based on everything we've seen thus far (the cast, the costume and set renderings) and the fact that Rupert apparently has been very hands on throughout the rehearsal process, tinkering with many of the elements, I think this could be the surprise hit of the fall. I don't want to jinx anything but it just feels like all the elements are gelling for this one. Of course, the execution will remain to be seen but I have high hopes.

As George Rose once said of it, DROOD is so essentially of the theatre - so organically theatrical - that anyone who has ever stepped onto a stage (or helped put on a show either) can immediately relate to the pure joy that transmits across the footlights. I think it will always be a show that's far more fun for the actors to perform than the audience to sit thru, but as the brilliant OBC proved, it can be pretty damn wonderful evening in the theatre.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by tazber 2012-10-11 14:29:39


LOVE IT!!!!

It's the show I'm most excited for this year.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by egghumor 2012-10-11 14:55:53


We all know the pairing of the Roundabout with musicals can yield troubling results. That being said, I have very high hopes for this production, due to the fact that it's a terrific show to begin with and they've assembled a stellar cast. Wish I was in NYC to see it!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by EponineAmneris 2012-10-11 15:16:31


I love this show and am VERY excited to see it in December

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by doodlenyc 2012-10-11 15:22:31


We just got tickets and I'm very excited!
The last time I saw it, I had to sit through Loretta Swit as Puffer.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-10-11 15:43:31


I'm intrigued in comparing the usual Studio 54 seating chart with the ticket purchasing seating chart. I'm assuming that the first row (labeled AX [which I've never seen there the times I've been in Studio 54] on the regualr chart and not on the purchasing chart) is gone for orchestra purposes? But there are seats missing in row A as well. (My friend and I are sitting row A seats 106 & 107 which would normally be in the middle of the row but here seem to be special aisle seats.) I would assume this has something to do with the set design?!? I'm thinking ramps, or maybe stair cases into the audience for the voting? I'm excited to find out. I am going on the 27th so if anyone goes before that PLEASE report back and tell us all about it.

I actually know very little about the show, other than the concept. I've read the wikipedia page to get a plot synopsis and show history and I've listened the the OBCR a couple times. I've been tempted to order one of the old Fireside Book Club publishings of the script I've found for sale on Amazon but they're a little pricey. I'm just excited to experience this gem I've heard about over the years but never had the chance to see.

Oh, and I'm also keeping my fingers crossed we get a cast recording with these amazing people! (Now if only we could get Roundabout to do a souvenir program!!!)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by GilmoreGirlO2 2012-10-11 16:23:19


I was actually wondering about how well this was selling...

I am flying to NYC in December and, maybe because I was looking at weekend dates, but I wasn't able to find the best seats. This was about 3 weeks ago and almost all of the orchestra was filled, except for some seats on the side, toward the back. I was thinking I would be able to get better seats than this, seeing as it's a lesser-known show and I was getting tickets in advance. I have gotten tickets only a week or 2 before other shows that were bigger "blockbusters" and gotten much better tickets than what "Drood" had to offer. It made me think that advance ticket sales for this must be going well?

Or, is there chance, that the audience for this show are people who will buy their tickets in advance, but there won't be many last minute ticket sales?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by dreaming 2012-10-11 16:30:07


GilmoreGirl-This is a subscriber based theater company, so there is a good chance some of those seats are being held back and will be released at a later date. You can always check back and see.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by beaemma 2012-10-11 18:54:18


I saw and loved the original production four times and still listen to the cast album. I'm excited enough about the revival to have booked a trip I can't afford around it.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by uncageg 2012-10-11 20:00:52


I see it the week after next and am quite excited.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Playbilly 2012-10-11 20:01:14


Missed the original. Excited about this. And CHITA!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by jbm2 2012-10-11 23:27:48


are there discount ticket available? How are you getting $10 tickets? Any chance this could show up on TDF? Do Roundabout shows ever show up on TDF?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by macnyc 2012-10-12 06:10:03


The $10 tickets are sold out. Roundabout shows do come on to TDF. Anything Goes was on there pretty consistently toward the end of the run.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-12 22:13:47


RE: Tickets

Roundabout, though a subscription based organization, is relying heavily (as well they should) on the fact that ... this is the FIRST Broadway Revival of the whodunnit in a quarter of a century. The original production ran a year and a half on Broadway at the Imperial; Nominated for 11 TONY Awards, winning 5. It was, in fact, a huge 'blockbuster' show, and so too, with this revival. I have nothing but anticipation for it. Personally.

Roundabout subscribers have had first access to tickets for the 2012-13 season, with single tickets for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, to the general public, having gone on-sale July 9.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Leadingplayer 2012-10-12 22:27:54


Drood is always a little disappointing....it has it's moments and the voting stuff is fun BUT it just never quite totally works.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Mildred Plotka 2012-10-13 00:16:46


There's a discount code on Playbill and Broadway Box. Can also get HipTix for $20 if you're under 35.

I'm mixed in my excitement for this. I adore the show itself and Chita, of course. But Block and Chase (I know I'm in the minority) are two of my least favorite performers. The rest of the casting seems spot on.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by MCfan2 2012-10-13 19:25:03


My tickets came today! It'll be my first time seeing it; I'm going near the end of this month. Can't wait!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by goldenboy 2012-10-15 22:32:11


I have no excitement for this revival.
Edwin Drood is a pretentious piece of musical theatre that is too clever for its own good. "Oh my God.. the audience picks the killer." BFD. It has no heart nor do I care about any of the two dimensional characters.

That being said, I would pay to see Chita Rivera sing or dance the phone book so I may have to beg borrow or steal a ticket at a cheap price. Anyone want to invite me?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by showchoirguy 2012-10-15 23:31:59


Just ordered my ticket today and am absolutely ecstatic!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by jbm2 2012-10-15 23:34:35


Where did you get your tickets? Are there good discounts out there?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by showchoirguy 2012-10-15 23:38:28


Hiptix. I just turned 18 so I seized the opportunity.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-10-16 07:59:48


I was so excited to be sitting front row for this (as I am a fron row-aholic!) but now the sales seating chart shows two new rows in front of mine. WTH!?!?!?! I was front row on an aisle, now according to the new chart I am third row in the middle of a bunch of people. How does this happen?!?!?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by GilmoreGirlO2 2012-10-16 11:32:00


Bob, that is very odd. They must have just seen they could add 2 extra rows? As I hadn't gotten my tickets yet (I was hoping, somehow, some better seats might pop up somewhere), after I read your post I went on the date I wanted and got 2 seats in the "new" front row. I am very excited, but, if I had originally had front row like you, would be very upset to now see two rows ahead of mine. I wonder if you could call and see if your seat could be moved to the new front row that they opened up?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by macnyc 2012-10-16 11:37:11


That's what I would do, too.

Also, I am surprised by how many seats are available for the performance I am attending on Sunday. I think the show needs to be on TDF!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-10-16 13:26:29


I would do that but I already got them to exchange my tix from the crappy seats I had to the seats I have now when they opened up unexpectedly. I'll just wait and if they're available day of see if the box office can switch them for me. Still ANNOYED though!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by DAME 2012-10-16 13:30:17


Bob,

Don't wait. Go ahead and call now. They will help you. Don't be afraid to annoy them. That is their job. Do it.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by GilmoreGirlO2 2012-10-16 14:02:09


Agreed with DAME. Give them a call - your request is totally reasonable and the worst they can say is no, but better to try than to go the day of to find out they have been sold. And, if they were accomodating with your earlier request, most likely they will be accomodating with this one as well.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by macnyc 2012-10-16 15:11:31


Drood is now on TDF for this weekend's performances.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Rockyfan2000 2012-10-19 15:39:51


This show is the main reason I'm coming over from Germany in November! I saw the original 1987 production in London 3 times. So I guess you could say that I'm pretty excited.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by qolbinau 2012-10-19 15:44:34


Is roundabout's use of the phrase "Tony triple Crown" (best musical/book/score) common? I've never heard that before.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-10-19 15:47:11


The original production was a truly perfect jewel, utter delight in every way. As much as I'm looking forward to seeing the piece again, the combination of the generally awful Roundabout and some of the less-than-adroit casting have prepared me to accept that it'll be a lesser (if still enjoyable, I hope) experience.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by GottaHaveAGimmick 2012-10-19 15:50:55


Never saw the original; never been inside Studio 54. Excited to see the show. Going next Thursday when I fly in from Florida.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Dollypop 2012-10-19 20:39:44


Seeing tomorrow's matinee. This is a special musical because it was when I fell in love with Loretta Swit. I hope that Chita Rivera can pull the part off.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bwayphreak234 2012-10-19 21:26:01




The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bestfreakinshoes 2012-10-19 22:12:07


Going to see it tomorrow evening and will report back! Really excited about the cast (SJB, Will Chase, Jessie Mueller, Betsy Wolfe, Andy Karl), although I'm also wondering/worried about whether there are TOO many characters and they won't have enough time to each be featured, much less developed.

But I've basically been waiting for this since it was announced in July, so I'm hoping it does well.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by DAME 2012-10-19 22:20:53


From the pics the pre show looks like standard issue. Which is not a bad thing.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by leefowler 2012-10-19 23:08:28


I have a rule to not post about previews...But what the hell...

Drood is a smash, the best show I've seen in years, and I see everything. The strongest ensemble cast I've ever seen in a Broadway show. Perfectly staged, with beautiful costumes and sets.

If this is on TDF, I'd would rush to get tickets.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-10-19 23:20:21


Lee-

Thrilled to hear your report (being a man of great talent and taste, your word carries a great deal of weight!)

I had a feeling this could really be a wonderful revival -- I definitely was holding my breath (and will continue to until I take it in myself next week) but from everything I've heard from colleagues, this could very well end up being the smash of the season (a sleeper hit for the tourists)

The original production was pretty damn exceptional - the cast was certainly perfection with the inimitable George Rose holding court with grace and great ease. How did you find Jim Norton in the role? He's been nothing short of wonderful in everything I've seen him in (from Seafearer to Finian).

To anyone else who took it in this evening: can you recall if they restored any of the Delacorte/workshop songs? I know Rupert mentioned they were experimenting with restoring at least 2. I'm assuming 'Evensong' is one of them since they have Edelman for Crisparkle (who also sang it on Lost in Boston)







The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-10-19 23:58:34


The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the pleasant surprise of the season. I had such a great time tonight! I apologize to anyone who had to hear the Drood medley with which I attempted to serenade the folks on 9th Ave, but this cast had me singing all the way home!

To begin with, two words must be spoken: Betsy Wolfe. Yes this is an ensemble piece, but she nailed Rosa Bud so deliciously I have to single her out first. By the time we got around to Rosa's Confession (she was the murderer) it was too much to handle. I know this isn't her Broadway debut, but it might as well be, because this is her moment to step into the limelight and make a lasting impression. Simply perfect.

Chita is the next one who can line up for a Tony nomination this year. On paper Puffer is an ideal role, and the reality lived up to any expectations and then some. The Wages of Sin was very fun, and of course leading the way with Don't Quit While You're Ahead was only going to stop the show.

Will Chase has had a second blossoming of his career- from Grenade at La MaMa to Pipe Dream at Encores and now this. I've always liked him, but his craft as an actor is SO strong right now. The singing, the acting, all of it.

Jim Norton was an excellent Chairman. Laughs galore, and the string of puns at the end was hilarity. He's a warm presence and holds the piece together so nicely. Without him all the parts would fall apart and be a mess. He makes it feel effortless, but he's working his ass off up there.

Peter Benson comes very, very close from stealing the whole show away from everyone with Never The Luck. I have a huge crush on him now. (Peter, if you need help running lines PM me.)

Gregg Edelman is funny and dopey as the reverend. Loved his goofy faces to the audience, and his aside about what happened to Rosa's mother was great.

Andy Karl and Jessie Mueller were good as Neville and Helena. They have such weird roles, and not as showy as the others, but acquitted themselves nicely.

Finally, Stephanie J Block aka Stop the World: I'm ready to belt is giving the best performance of her career, and yes better than her Reno, which was sublime. She is funny, funny, funny and the notes are all there. Every once and a while she sounded eerily like Buckley. Slight Spoiler**** The best laugh of the night was when she stormed out of the theater after the rest of the cast voted her dead! End Slight Spoiler

The costumes were lavish and the sets were comprised of gorgeous backdrops and a handsome house for Jasper. When Roundabout is willing to spend a little money they really can impress. And lastly Roundabout itself was the biggest surprise. Many, including myself, have given this company a lot of crap over recent years, but this is truly a quality production and one that will restore the faith that was shaken in their patrons. Congrats on a triumph for all involved.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by singtopher 2012-10-20 00:01:41


I'll be at the matinee tomorrow. I was being cautious; but the last two shows I saw at Studio 54 (Sondheim on Sondheim, and Sunday...) took my breath away, so here's hoping for a three-peat.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by macnyc 2012-10-20 00:10:05


I'm so excited to read this! I'm going on Sunday, and now I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for posting!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-10-20 00:19:34


I wish I was going back tomorrow and Sunday. Only 90 minutes after curtain and I'm having withdrawal, ha.

Did I mention that Betsy Wolfe was brilliant?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-10-20 00:23:08


Thanks for the thorough report...very exciting! Can you recall if any songs were added or cut at this performance?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by jbm2 2012-10-20 00:24:37


what's the running time?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-10-20 00:30:51


The songs followed the OBCR. I was worried because Garden Path to Hell was not listed in the program and I was ready to throw a hissy fit, ha, but Chita sang it. When they print more Playbills they should put it back in the line up so people aren't left hanging.

I was out by 10:45 I believe. There was so much applause tonight I'm sure it added an extra 10 minutes.

Also they had better record this cast.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bwayphreak234 2012-10-20 00:34:17


Soooooo thrilled to read these wonderful reports! Glad those of you who went tonight enjoyed the show!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-20 00:36:17


RE: The playbill song list...

In the original production, I'm pretty sure the songs stopped after "Don't Quit..." -- as that's where the show 'stops'. Is it the same here?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-10-20 00:41:15


Yes, Mike. Don't Quit is the last song, followed by The Solution. If that's the way it's always done then let it stand. I guess I'm used to the OBCR track list and didn't like not seeing Garden Path!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Michael Bennett 2012-10-20 00:41:50


I was offered a last minute ticket to tonight's performance, so I did a double header after last nights' dress rehearsal. It was a delight seeing the show really come to life in front of a full audience.

I am not as cross the board in love with the production as Whizzer and Lee, but agree it is a lot of fun and that the cast is uniformly excellent. I doubt you will ever hear a production of DROOD sung so well!

My minor issues are with the direction and the choreography which I think at times aren't quite as clever as they could be (and pale in comparison to the original work by Wilford Leach and Graciela Danielle, though Scott Ellis and Warren Carlyle are very much following their blueprint). While this is a great production by Roundabout standards, it still has tinges of that summer stock recreation vibe that often permeates their productions. Since it can't really compete with memories of the original. I wish they had gone with a little more of a daring and unique reinvention of the material.

But as it is, a very straight forward retread of a somewhat mediocre musical (that I do indeed have a soft spot in my heart for), its in quite good shape. Minor quibbles about staging, etc. will hopefully (and no doubt) improve throughout the run.

I do think most people seeing it are going to be coming at it with totally fresh eyes (most probably having never seen a production of it before) so keep my old jaded perspective on it with a grain of salt. I probably know the material too well for my own good. Some moments which felt like a faded xerox of the original to me, are no doubt going to be surprising and wonderful to those having never experienced it, and that is as it should be.

For those wondering, this production utilizes the revised script from the London production with a few changes.

The Moonfall quartet has been restored
Ceylon/British Subject are combined as one song
England Reigns has been replaced by An English Music Hall (cut from the Delacorte production)
Settling Up the Score replaces Private Investigation in Act 2.

As in the London production Off to the Races now closes Act 1 and Moonfall Reprise is in Act 2 before Dont Quit While You're Ahead.

The show also features a number of new jokes which are a hoot.






The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Lefou 2012-10-20 00:45:24


Correct Limelight. It cuts off in the middle of a chorus.

After the show tonight all I could think "holy sh*t, that was a FIRST PREVIEW?!" It felt really polished, fresh and was just so light. A beautiful production...everything from the set (so nice to see those good old fashioned hand painted backdrops) to those Ivey Long costumes that are just impeccable to that ensemble of actors! Though we never "dig deep" into any of their roles, this musical allows you to really interact with a host of characters that are just plain fun to watch!

Huge accolades to Betsy Wolfe on her performance. She is a true star in the making. SJB had some really solid moments as well (and that voice...jeeze), and the rest of the gang was really great. The voting went much smoother than I anticipated, and was probably my most enjoyable moment of the show, because about 3 minutes into it I realized all the actors were still in "character" on stage and having the time of their lives.

Here's to a nice long run!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-20 00:49:56


Do the Music Hall Royale performers greet you and take you to your seats, or do they mingle about once you're seated?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2012-10-20 00:50:06


I had a feeling this was gonna work.

WhizzerMarvinetc.... Did you mean to say you "would belt" about Steph? Very clever if you did.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-20 09:07:20


The cast was excellent, the staging apt, the design expert. There were some sound issues, but overall, the production is fine.

The problem is the show itself. The narrative itself is airless, and fails to engage. Really, one doesn't care about the plot, whether there was a murder or not, or who may have or may not have done it. The score is mediocre, but some of the music-hall numbers come off well. That's when the show comes to life.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by MKunkel 2012-10-20 09:25:01


I'll be there at 2 PM today! Anyone who was there last night, how long did it run?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by tazber 2012-10-20 09:27:46


I assuming that A Man Could Go Quite Mad is in, correct?

This is one of my favorite shows. I was excited to see it before, but now I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!

Whizzer, I always trust (and usually agree) with your critiques. So your rave has me chomping at the bit.

I mean, even After Eight didn't hate it. How rare is that?

Also, just a side note: I have a playbill from the original production and the song list does stop after Don't Quit While You're Ahead.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Michael Bennett 2012-10-20 09:36:45


After Eight, I actually do agree with you on the base assessment of the material; the thing the show has always had going for it is its conceit: the gimmick that this is a somewhat second rate music hall presenting a production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

The original production really had fun with that; the secondary personalities of the 'actors' playing the characters (in the show within a show) seemed a little more defined and the original staging and design allowed the audience to always witness what was going on 'in the wings' of the music hall which made the entire thing a lot more interesting and atmospheric.

While the design here is indeed lovely, its also like the nicest cleanest music hall you've ever seen. Scott Ellis would be wise to make better use of the boxes on the stage, in my opinion and of the entire theatre as an environment. As you say, the actual story and 'who killed Edwin Drood' are almost secondary in what is really just a fun excuse to recreate a 19th Century Vaudevillian experience. They should take that and run with it!



The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-10-20 09:55:34


After Eight, I agree with you that the plot is totally unengaging, but I think that's on purpose and contributes to the strangeness of the show.

The only reason I can see a production existing is for a cast to show off their talents. If the cast had been merely good or fine I think Drood would have become quite a chore to get through. Luckily, and shockingly, Roundabout has assembled the perfect cast and they're already firing on all cylinders.

I think Drood has more in common with [tos] than Kiss Me Kate to be honest. Though it's a show-within-a-show, it's all about the nerdy love of theater and the egos/eccentricities of performers.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-20 10:00:06


Michael Bennett,

I found your comments to be the most astute of any here. In truth, they always are.

I wish you would post more often. We need more thoughtful, insightul, intelligent assessments like yours to counterbalance snarky sniping and mindless effusions.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by jacobsnchz14 2012-10-20 10:02:30


This makes me want to see this so much more!! Hope audiences like the show; I really want this recorded and extended into mid-May, at least. Is this show worth calling my "first Broadway show", if so?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-10-20 10:05:23


I agree about the show itself. It's definitely enjoyable, but I've never really LOVED it. I am thrilled, however, to read these reports! Can't wait to go tomorrow!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Luv2goToShows 2012-10-20 10:23:19


MKunkel, I was out the door at 10:45, it did start about 7 minutes late, so I would say the run time was about 2:35.

As always, great reviews by the veteran posters. I never saw this and really enjoyed it, my only complaint, at times I had a hard time hearing some of the words. Could have been just where I was sitting.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-10-20 10:27:48


No, luv2go, it wasn't just you with the sound problems. That's just typical first preview stuff though and they'll clean all that up in a week I bet. There were several times when I thought, "I'm glad I know these lyrics because they'd be lost to me right now otherwise." It just takes a moment to balance the orchestra with the singers in that space, especially since the orchestra is divided across the theater.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Michael Bennett 2012-10-20 10:40:53


There were definitely sound balance issues last night, but audiences have always had a hard time hearing the lyrics to DROOD. Most think that's really more due to the way Holmes structures his lyrics, often accenting syllables contrary to the way the same word would be spoken in conversation, etc.

I've been involved in various productions of the show: some miked, some not, and one that was a complete recreation of the original production with the Broadway sets and costumes- and audiences mentioned not being able to understand the lyrics every time.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Luv2goToShows 2012-10-20 10:56:56


Thanks, I am glad it was not just me, l have to see it again later in the run.

The more I think about this show, the more I want to see it again.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Michael Bennett 2012-10-20 11:02:45


Some if the tempos in this revival are also a little faster than usual, in particular all the Reprises of Moonfall which are probably the most difficult lyrics to make out in any production. I think the production team is aware of the length of the show and are rushing some of the musical material which I wish they wouldn't do because of that lyric issue.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-10-20 13:48:23


Even more excited now for next Saturday!!! I couldn't really tell from the pics...

Are those two extra front rows I was complaining about there and do they crowd the front of the orchestra?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by SondheimFan5 2012-10-20 14:18:09


How large is the orchestra, and how does it sound? Holmes did new orchestrations for this if I recall, right? (The original sounds very synth-heavy).

Is the orchestra in the balcony boxes like in some other Roundabout shows?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-20 14:27:33


Per running time -- It's DROOD. If you're going to see it, you're going to make an evening of it. It's intended to run approx. 2 hours and 45 minutes. It's all dependent upon the voting sequence(s), of course where the book is 'thrown out', and the variables are, in fact, unknown.

ENJOY!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-10-20 16:39:57


"Edwin Drood is a pretentious piece of musical theatre that is too clever for its own good. "Oh my God.. the audience picks the killer." BFD."

Goldenboy, I'm curious. Can you think of a better way to end a musical based on an unfinished mystery novel?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by TheresaG 2012-10-20 20:38:34


I was at the matinee this afternoon. Never expected to have as much fun as I did at this show. I laughed out loud a lot! Never saw it before so I have nothing to say about songs in, songs out etc.

The cast is first rate; each and everyone one of them is terrific. But I especially was impressed by Betsy Wolfe. Wow, that woman can sing. And Chita, she is fantastic. And her legs still look fantastic! Was very taken with the scene where Jasper has his drug induced sleep/dream because of the dancing which was first rate.

I liked everything about this show. I'm still chuckling the way the butler says "the goose is cooked." The audience really went town laughing at that line. When you look at this in print, you might figure what?? but put it into the context and timing of the moment in the show and its hysterical.

Was very lucky to have gotten a $10 ticket. I was in the last row but didn't feel out of it at all. There were a few minor sound issues but for the most part all was well. Looked like a sell out minus a few seats here and there on the sides up at the top. Running time - we were just starting to leave at 4:45. Not sure exactly how close to 2:00 it started. This is a good fun show to see.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Jonwo 2012-10-20 21:08:37


I wonder if it'll extend beyond its limited run? Roundabout have nothing lined up for either Studio 54 or the Sondheim so it's possible it could extend if ticket sales are strong.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Dollypop 2012-10-20 21:31:56


I saw this afternoon's matinee and enjoyed it. I think some of the difficulty in hearing the lyrics may be due (in part) to the sound system. At least from where I was sitting, the lyrics for the ensemble numbers were completely unintelligible.

I thought Chase and Rivera were particularly excellent.

Side Note: The seats in the rear mezz are grossly uncomfortable. There's virtually no leg room up there--only Emmanuel Lewis could sit in those seats without discomfort. As mine was on the aisle, I just sat on the steps and no one questioned me.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ClydeBarrow 2012-10-20 22:51:31


I REALLY wanted to like this show but I didn't. The show is just so boring that I could barely concentrate on what was happening on stage.

There is nothing engaging about it and all of the breaks by the narrator continuously take you out of the story. I don't see why it would ever be the intention for the audience not to be engaged in the show. I think another part of that was that a lot of the lyrics were very hard to hear and I guess that's being attributed to the sound system although you would think the theatre would have straightened that out right away.

Everyone in the show does a great job with what little they're given. I just don't think there are any showstoppers and a lot of fluff numbers that don't need to be there (like Off to the Races). Will Chase was amazing as to be expected and his confessional song was the highlight. Jessie Mueller and Andy Karl were also standouts to me.

I guess people are liking it but it's definitely not my cup of tea.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-20 23:21:12


"...with what little they're given..." LOL

That's rich. Just rich.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by littlebro2 2012-10-20 23:57:10


I will be in New York on February 15th, so I really hope they extend, if only a week longer!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by sassylash3s 2012-10-20 23:57:12


Saw today's matinee and absolutely loved it.

I noticed a lyric change in "No Good Can Come From Bad."

Neville originally sang "A waistcoat worn can soon be torn,
And faggots, too, till maggots feed on you!"

The "faggots" line has understandably been changed to something else, although like most of the posters here I had some difficulty making out what it was.

Does anybody know if this change is new for this production or if it was made sometime after the original? (I guess this is a pretty minor concern but I was listening to the OCR before the show and wondering if this lyric would make the cut today.)


The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Kad 2012-10-21 00:07:40


There's not supposed be a real engagement in the plot, which is more a contrivance (despite its literary pedigree) than anything else. You go to laugh, hear some jaunty tunes, and see some schtick.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bestfreakinshoes 2012-10-21 00:08:35


I saw the show tonight and I really enjoyed it. I was familiar with the music before hand, but I knew very little about the characters. From what people had said around here, I didn't expect Neville and Helena (Andy and Jessie) to have very large parts, but they were part of the action more often than I expected and I really enjoyed both of their performances a lot. Andy was voted the murderer and I was so thrilled he was. (Sidenote: Steph's husband was in the audience and voted for Andy.)

I actually expected Stephanie to be in it more since she's the title character, but her storming off stage scene was so hilarious, it almost made up for lack of her. I love her, but since she's kind of a show killer (she even admits it herself) maybe the fact that this is more of an ensemble piece will mean it's going to last longer?? One can hope, right?

But really, it's putting all these individual wonderful pieces together that makes this cast so great. Betsy Wolfe's voice is amazing (although personally I think she's a little blase acting wise.) Will Chase astounded me with some of his songs as well and the dance scene with him in the opium den was beautiful/creepy.

I'm still sort of on a theater high, so maybe once I process the performances and production more, I won't be as glowing in my reviews, but I definitely think the experience of this piece alone is worth it.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by jbm2 2012-10-21 00:23:26


It looks like everyone who loves this show is familiar with the show and the plot. I am completely unfamiliar with this show.... Would I stil enjoy it?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bwayfan7000 2012-10-21 00:32:12


I find it very interesting that someone commented that this show has no showstoppers. I think that at the very least, a song like "Don't Quit While You're Ahead", while not everyone may like the song, is essentially engineered to be a showstopper. And I think that it certainly is in this production. Though I'm of the mind that when these songs are performed to their fullest (which I think they all are here), that they're all kind of showstoppers in their own right.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bestfreakinshoes 2012-10-21 00:37:14


@jbm2 -- You definitely don't need to know the story to enjoy it! It's a play within a play-set up, I think that's the most important thing to know.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-21 00:43:56


"I don't see why it would ever be the intention for the audience not to be engaged in the show."

That is so true.

You just can't dismiss half of a show by saying that the material is meant to be second-rate and the auidence is not supposed to care about it anyway. So the audience is supposed to be bored, mystified, or tuned out 50% of the time? No way. And you can't simply excuse it all away by calling it a mere "contrivance." That "contrivance" had damn well better engage its audience.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by somethingwicked 2012-10-21 01:59:44


I was there tonight, and while I found the show strong, I think there are also inherent problems.

The primary issue is that the first act of the show is just downright laborious. Because of all the exposition required by the conceit, it becomes very taxing very fast, and the cast haven't yet managed to get the pacing to a level where it zips along, which is crucial. With the introduction of all the improvisational elements that essentially throw the plot out the window, the second act is infinitely stronger, and I think the fact that it's the last impression that leaves the audience walking out on such a high can be somewhat deceiving in terms of the total quality of the evening.

The other big issue that's specific to this production is the tone of the direction, which I think needs some serious refining. DROOD works best when the actors make the archetypes of the characters in the show within the show very clear, and the most successful people in this production do that beautifully- Chita Rivera, Jim Norton, Will Chase, Andy Karl, and Peter Benson.

Unfortunately, there are others (most notably Betsy Wolfe and Jessie Mueller) who tend to play those scenes in character quite straight, and it made their moments fall flat for me. Wolfe was infinitely better and more vibrant when she stepped out of the Rosa Budd character during the voting in the second act, as was Mueller when performing Helena's number after being voted as Datchery. Both of them need to up the melodrama and tone down the darkness when they're performing the scenes from the play, especially Mueller. To be fair to her, I also think she's ultimately miscast- I couldn't help but think the entire night how she'd be infinitely better served as Drood. She's just not a specific enough comedienne to make sense of the inherent oddness of Helena, which can be so memorable in the right hands, and her missed opportunities are made more apparent by the fact that Andy Karl has created such a weirdly inspired characterization opposite her.

I'm still on the fence about Stephanie Block. I think she'll probably go down in history as the best sung Drood there ever was (her "Writing On The Wall" was thrilling,) but like Betsy Wolfe, she came alive the most when she was out of character as Alice Nutting. As Edwin Drood, she really made no choices at all. There was no sense conveyed whatsoever of why so many people would potentially want to murder the character, which again, is crucial to understanding the function that he serves within the piece. I also agree with a comment I read elsewhere about the production values being pretty ritzy for what is supposed to be an amateur theater group.

In spite of the issues, overall, I think this will wind up a hit. I'd love to go back later in the run when they've settled into more of a groove. No matter what, it sure is fun.

P.S. How did Gregg Edelman finagle his way into above the title billing? Considering what a thankless part he's got, he must have one hell of an agent.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by goldenboy 2012-10-21 04:29:21


Henrik
To clarify
I agree that for an unfinished piece that the audience voting is a clever way to end Edwin Drrod

But you see that is the problem and my criticism of Edwin Drood. Mystery of Edwin is a very clever musical but it lacks heart. It is too clever for its own good and why it will never be a great musical.

The best musicals have "heart." Annie, Producers, Carousel, Hairspray, Even Book of Mormon has heart. Does anyone care who did it? No Not really. Just look at some of the blogs on here.

As a selling point, the "audience deciding the ending" fills me with ennui but I can't say it's not a clever way to end an unfinished piece.

I haven't seen this revival. It sounds like it has a stellar cast. I am basing my opinion on what I saw in its original form with Cleo Laine and George Rose and Betty Buckley. It's a clever musical. Just not a very involving one.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-10-21 07:48:10


...It's a musical comedy, for cryin' out loud...

You're taking a rollicking, rowdy, bawdy, bright show WAY too seriously, if you ask me. Over-analyzing the scope, structure and spectrum of a piece that ... doesn't *call* for that sort of mentality to fully enjoy, nor grasp the conceit, or concept. It's, first, a Victorian Music Hall troupe putting-on this piece of splendor -- For better or worse, in all of its aces and faults. The alleged murder, therein, is second nature. By happenstance almost, to breed a 'full circle' of sorts.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by jon2 2012-10-21 08:25:35


Does anyone have advice/experience on sightlines from the front row of the mid-mezzanine (row EE)?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-21 08:58:06


"You're taking a rollicking, rowdy, bawdy, bright show WAY too seriously, if you ask me. Over-analyzing the scope, structure and spectrum of a piece that ... doesn't *call* for that sort of mentality to fully enjoy, nor grasp the conceit, or concept"

The problem is some people have not felt that enjoyment. Ultimately, it's how one feels that matters, not how one is supposed to feel, or is told to feel.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Luv2goToShows 2012-10-21 09:06:12


Row EE mid mezzanine if fine for the sight lines and leg room (Leg room is horrible for the remainder of that section)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bestfreakinshoes 2012-10-21 12:22:26


Now upon having time to process, I do feel the first act seems a bit slow. I'm hoping they will cut some of the jokes that fell flat (these were mostly told by the Narrator during his interjections).

I agree with somethingwicked about Betsy Wolfe. I think she has a beautiful voice, but her acting is blase to me. I really loved Jessie Mueller as Cinderella, but she doesn't quite shine as much here. I think she and Andy could make a really fantastic comical duo, though, and I'm hoping that happens.

Ultimately, I feel like I will have to see it again before having many coherent thoughts, but the second half of the show is so fun, it does sort of make you forget any inherent flaws that are in the first. And isn't the theater about having fun? It is for me.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-10-21 13:21:48


Goldenboy, I agree that Drood is not among the great shows and is at best, when well done, a pleasant diversion. Glad to see we agree on the point of the ending.

I saw the original production and would never say I loved it. But it was beautiful to look at, spirited, well cast, and "Perfect Strangers" remains for me, a remarkably beautiful song. I remember wishing Buckley and Cohenour would have given an immediate encore.

Rose was wonderful of course. And I was particularly fond of Jana Schneider's performance as Helena. She was a strong presence. But even then, under what many consider optimal circumstances, I would never say Drood was a great musical, merely a curiosity that I'm pleased to see revived.


The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by SondheimFan5 2012-10-21 13:47:14


How large is the orchestra and how does it sound? I imagine it's not the 23 that was in the original?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by macnyc 2012-10-21 19:38:05


As far as the orchestra goes, it is pretty large. I didn't count, so I can't give you an exact number. The interesting thing is that orchestra is split in half, seated on each side of the stage in the boxes. The musicians looked a little cramped, but the sound was clear and well-balanced. I wouldn't be surprised if there were 23 musicians. Maybe someone else can be more accurate.

I enjoyed the show a lot. I didn't have a problem at all with the pacing in Act 1. The singing was great, the set design lovely. I did have a problem hearing the lyrics when the ensemble was singing, and I understand that's been a common complaint. Drood is fun and engaging.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Smaxie 2012-10-21 19:39:31


It's 15.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-10-21 19:53:35


Saw it this afternoon and while I enjoyed myself overall, I do have my reservations about the production. This may also be because of my inherent issues with the piece, which echo somethingwicked's points. The second act is infinitely more engaging, fun, and entertaining. The first act isn't without its moments, but it can certainly drag in spots, as it does in this revival. The direction and choreography are a bit "run of the mill," and I was hoping for something a little more inspired and inventive. The staging could definitely use a shot of adrenaline here and there.

For a Roundabout production, this is the second-coming. By any other standard, it's just a fine revival; nothing more, nothing less if you ask me.

The reason to see this production, however, is indisputably the cast. As mostly everyone has said, this is an impeccably-sung production. Even songs I've never particularly enjoyed were pleasing to listen to this afternoon. This cast is just an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent. I do wish they would all amp up the melodrama a little bit; raise the stakes, and have a little more fun with the ridiculousness of the show. I think that will come in time; once they loosen up a bit. Jim Norton was the highlight for me; he carries this show on his shoulders with such an effortless gusto.

I also agree that the sets are way too lavish for an amateur performance group. And the sound design is really iffy. It was hard to hear a lot of the lyrics, particularly in the opening number.

I completely admit to never really LOVING this show, as it is. So it would have been very hard for this production to completely win me over. But it's a fine revival that should be recorded as soon as possible; because this cast sings the hell out of the score.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bob8rich 2012-10-21 20:27:41


I'm heading over to NYC from the Uk in a few weeks time and have just booked my ticket for Drood - and I am VERY excited!I've always loved the score and really enjoyed the recent London production. And this Broadway cast is to die for!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by dave1606 2012-10-21 21:58:24


This is a little show that snuck up and became one of my favorites of the season. It is hard to get the excitement level up for a roundabout revival of anything, but I really thought it was generally excellent.

Stephanie J. Block for me was a standout and Writing on the Wall was really thrilling. I also loved her exit earlier in act two.

Costumes were fantastic, and I loved the set design.

I thought Chita was so charismatic and that she looked and sounded fantastic. (My first time seeing her live). I was happy to see her ending today.

One of the biggest standouts though was Jim Norton. He is always excellent and proved to be no different here.


Looking back over the matinee today I keep thinking about how many standouts there were in the cast.(I would be remiss without mentioning will Chase too).

Overall I loved it. I want to keep going back to see different endings. Highly recommended.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ChairinMain 2012-10-22 00:47:19


Maybe because my excitement level was EXTREMELY high, I enjoyed it immensely.Terrific Ensemble cast; I won't single out a highlight because I thought it was perfectly cast.

I disagree with the contention that Betsy Wolf needs to play up the melodrama in her performance; Rosa has the most serious music of the show to sing and it works getter if she's basically normal. Remember, The chairman describes the show as a Musicale Comedy with Dramatic interludes. Rosa's the "Dramatic Interludes" bit. I won't contest the idea that Jessie Mueller needs to go weirder with Helena, but I wouldn't call her miscast.

I'm on the fence about the swapped placement of "Off to the Races" and "The Name of Love." On one hand, I think the power of the later is a bit diminished by not closing the act, but I think the power of "Off to the races" is much closer to the mood of the show and a better act one closer thematically. I'd say the restoration of "An English Music Hall" to start the second act is more of an issue; it feels superfluous. Also, Durdles was chosen as the Murderer tonight; which is not a result I am particularly fond of; I feel like there's no reason for him to be among the suspects.

There were some issues tonight with the sound levels early on in both acts, and during "Don't quit while you're ahead" Rosa's parasol broke, which was pretty funny, and Chita's flask got stuck in her pocket and she had to vamp while she fished it out (But it's that kind of number.)



The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by somethingwicked 2012-10-22 01:00:27


Chairin, Rosa's parasol breaking during "Don't Quit While You're Ahead" is a planned bit. It happened when I saw the show last night too.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by RUkiddingme 2012-10-22 01:50:52


Amazing production design!

Otherwise, why bother? What a waste of time and space.
Half the second act is them talking about the audience picking the ending. They could have cut all that and it would have been a one act 90 minute waste of time with nice costumes instead.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by MissAnneThrop 2012-10-22 07:59:25


with all the talk of the changes to the songlist. what is the songlist according to the playbill?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by mamaleh 2012-10-22 08:54:31


I loved that they reinstated "An English Music Hall," one of my favorite cuts on the first "Lost in Boston" CD. As good as Jim Norton was, I did miss George Rose, though. Chita was a big improvement over Loretta Swit (I saw the original late in its run). Overall, a fine production, fast and funny.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-22 08:58:06



MissAnneThrop,

Here's the song list as presented in the playbill at the first preview.

Act 1

There You Are
A Man Could Go Quite Mad
Two Kinsmen
Moonfall
Moonfall Quartet
The Wages of Sin
Jasper's Vision/ Smoke Ballet
Ceylon/ A British Subject
Both Sides of the Coin
Perfect Strangers
No Good Can Come From Bad
Never the Luck
Off to the Races

Act 2

An English Music Hall
Settling Up the Score
The Name of Love/ Moonfall (Reprise)
Don't Quit While You're Ahead
The Solution

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-10-22 09:20:25


I'm having difficulty understanding all the comments disparaging Roundabout generally for its revivals, which have included major successes like ANYTHING GOES, TWELVE ANGRY MEN, CABARET, NINE, ASSASSINS, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE and SHE LOVES ME.

Sure there have been some bad, even awful revivals from Roundabout, but is there really any need to assume the worst given that the company has produced some outstanding revivals as well?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ChairinMain 2012-10-22 09:44:42


If anyone cares, I don't think anyone's shared who the understudies are, according to the playbill:

For Chairman/Crisparkle: Jim Walton
For Deputy: Kyle Coffmann
For Bazzard/Durdles/Crisparkle: Nick Corley
for Drood/Rosa: Janine DiVita
For Jasper/Neville: Spencer Plachy, Eric Sciotto
For Helena/Puffer: Alison Cimmet
Swing: Jenifer Foote, Justin Greer.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Kad 2012-10-22 10:05:18


Henrik- I think most will point out that the quality shows are typically in the minority (and Cabaret was a transfer).

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by MissAnneThrop 2012-10-22 10:22:06


thanks!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-10-22 10:49:52


I agree with Kad, and add that even their better revivals are inferior to the original productions, and are generally done on the cheap with smaller casts and heavily reduced orchestrations.

And yes, we all understand that the inferiority of a revival doesn't much matter to those who didn't see the original; however, that doesn't provide much comfort to those who did.

And there's really nothing wrong with comparing productions, is there? It's just strange that some people seem to resent the fact that other people have seen things they haven't (and don't want them to talk about it).

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bwayfan7000 2012-10-22 11:16:06


I'm not so sure that Rosa's parasol bit is planned. It happened Saturday night and apparently last night, but not yesterday afternoon. In any case, it's completely hilarious in the hands of Wolfe.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Kad 2012-10-22 11:21:36


In Roundabout's favor, I will say that they enable transfers of some excellent productions that wouldn't get seen in this region otherwise. Their off-Broadway spaces have also typically had a good track record so far, presenting interesting new works.

But their in-house revivals are just so often... aiming for mediocrity. And somehow missing.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel 2012-10-22 12:37:47


Henrik- You list some good shows, but many of them are over a decade old. In the past five years Roundabout has offered up some of the most boring theater on Broadway.

Hedda Gabler (Mary Louise Parker revival)
The Philanthropist (Broderick sleep walking)
Man and Boy (Sleep inducing)
The Road to Mecca (Extra sleep inducing)
Mrs. Warren's Profession (Mediocrity Cherry Jones couldn't save)
After Miss Julie (alternated between sleep inducing and painful)
Bye Bye Birdie (Sloppy mess and poorly sung)
People In the Picture (Sleep inducing/can't wait till it's over)

Sure we had Anything Goes, and a trifle here and there like Wishing Drinking, but overall it's been a very rough go.

This is why Drood is an extra nice theater experience.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-22 12:43:22


Wishful Drinking.

Don't Dress for Dinner was a lot of fun.

And don't forget The Pajama Game.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-10-22 12:47:54


The Pajama Game, although it received a good deal of vocal love, only ran four months. Granted, it was a nonprofit subscription production, so words like "hit" or "flop" are useless, but it would have run longer if there had been any demand. (I confess that I was only lukewarm about it, but I'm not really much of a Connick fan.)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by darquegk 2012-10-22 13:48:34


Is "The Solution" the whole final sequence with confessions, reveals, reprises and then Writing On The Wall?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bestfreakinshoes 2012-10-22 14:38:13


Yes, and "The Garden Path to Hell"

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-10-24 15:42:19


So no one else has asked so I'll bite the bullet...

What merch is being sold at the theater? I'm going this Saturday and wanna know what I can buy (I'm a souvenir whore). I know Roundabout doesn't typically sell programs unless a show turns into a LONG run (like CABARET and ANYTHING GOES) and that makes me sad. Still... Posters? Magnets? Anything unusual? I think I've seen pics from pins sold at the original production thast said "I voted for..." Anything like that?

And it looks like those front row seats are selling fast so I probably won't get to exchange for them. Oh well, third row center is still pretty exciting!!! (Especially for my first time ever getting to see CHITA!!!!!)

(Can you tell that each passing day is making me more and more excited?!?!)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by SonofRobbieJ 2012-10-24 15:59:13


Come now, newintown. Had Harry Connick, Jr. been able to commit for a year, there is no doubt it would have sold the entire time. Alas, he could only commit to the four month run.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-10-24 16:11:40


Probably. But he didn't, it didn't, and a good production can usually survive a cast change - even that of the leading man.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-10-24 16:17:20


I think Roundabout would be very smart to capitalize on the advent of new media with this production -- I'm hoping they put up a standalone website for DROOD and keep an official tally on the audience votes from show to show. There are numerous other ways to make this an interactive pre and post show diversion, but I think it'd be fun to have a record that interested theatregoers could refer to prior to their seeing the show.

IMHO It'd be a real oversight not to take advantage!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by RippedMan 2012-10-24 23:34:40


I just saw the Wednesday night performance (Roseabud was the culprit).

I can't say I loved it or hated it. I found my mind wandering quite a bit at times. I felt like a lot of it happened so quick and in various accents that I couldn't quite make out any of the information being thrown at me. Sure, they were all great in their bits, but overall the story wasn't being told, so there was no point.

Dalton is great, but he had this cadence to his lines where he'd drop off the ends, and I couldn't follow him and missed most of his jokes.

I rather enjoyed the music, and found most of it exciting to listen to.

However, the whole show just felt like a big "Who cares?" It's not really a murder mystery. The second act was kind of annoying with the constant audience voting. I don't know. I don't think it was for me. I'd rather get caught up in a show then constantly have to applaud for various entrances or audience polls. It was a great looking show, and everyone was great - I think the "Indian" couple were rather bland - but overall not a bad theater going experience.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ClydeBarrow 2012-10-25 10:02:25


Broadway Bob, the only thing they were selling was a shirt with the Drood logo on it.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by dave1606 2012-10-25 10:06:10


They were selling magnets too. I bouught one.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-10-25 10:08:00


Well, Ripped, the show is less about the actual "story" than the way they tell it. If the entire cast doesn't seem like they're having an absolute ball doing something (music hall melodrama by way of Broadway) they do expertly and effortlessly, and working the audience to the nth degree, then they aren't really doing Drood.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by RippedMan 2012-10-25 12:25:18


No, I know. I get that. I just didn't find all the "take aways" all that hilarious.

The only time I really enjoyed it was when Stephanie J. Block had her dive fit in Act 2. But other than that it was just "eh."

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-10-25 12:31:55


My fear (seeing it next week) is that Norton won't have the low-brow showmanship needed to set the tone at the beginning. He's a fine legitimate actor, as we've all seen, but he doesn't seem to have those vaudeville-work-the-audience chops that the Chairman requires and which George Rose had in spades. Someone like Jim Dale would have been a much better choice.

Glad to hear Block entertained you, but she certainly isn't an adept comic actress, nor does she have any kind of special eccentricity everyone in this show should naturally have. She's always so... normal.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Kad 2012-10-25 12:44:51


Wishful Drinking was another transfer... Roundabout simply provided a venue. It was developed elsewhere.

And Don't Dress for Dinner was the most poorly-received Broadway production of the last season. Spencer Kayden's kooky-brilliant (and rightfully award-nominated) performance couldn't save that otherwise disappointing wreck.

Generally, as I said, Roundabout has had a severely lacking recent history of in-house Broadway productions. Anything Goes and Assassins are the most notable exceptions.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by darquegk 2012-10-25 13:39:21


If the show extends or transfers and gets a longer life, Dale would be a divine replacement- but I would really prefer Tim Curry.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by marknyc 2012-10-25 13:48:24


Saw it last night (cold - I knew little about it other than the voting), and loved it. Great cast that totally gets the show's conceit. Jim is great, Will is great, Rita is great - really, everyone is great. I wish the score were stronger, but I couldn't find fault with anything in this production. I think it will do well.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by After Eight 2012-10-25 13:50:48


So embarrassing to see a cotton candy stalwart flailing angrily at having been shown to be a mere posturer.

Pity is actually what I feel for him, poor fellow.

Don't Dress for Dinner was a fun show, disliked, not unexpectedly, by assorted sour apples and snots.

"Generally, as I said, Roundabout has had a severely lacking recent history of in-house Broadway productions."

Ha ha. That's a hell of a lot of qualifiers you've got there.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by PalJoey 2012-10-25 13:58:20


Don't Dress for Dinner was a fun show, disliked, not unexpectedly, by assorted sour apples and snots.

That's pretty much how you yourself are generally described, you know: a snotty sour apple.

Sometimes I'm not sure that you're aware of this.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ghostlight2 2012-10-25 14:24:22


"My fear (seeing it next week) is that Norton won't have the low-brow showmanship needed to set the tone at the beginning. He's a fine legitimate actor, as we've all seen, but he doesn't seem to have those vaudeville-work-the-audience chops that the Chairman requires and which George Rose had in spades. Someone like Jim Dale would have been a much better choice. "

Norton surely isn't George Rose, but he is excellent in the role, and I think he will only get better. Jim Dale, I agree, would have been an fantastic choice, and if anyone thinks Tim Curry can't do Music Hall, here's

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2012-10-25 14:41:30


"Rita is great"

Can't believe I actually get to say this, but her name is Chita and not Rita.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ArtMan 2012-10-25 14:47:47


Has anyone done the general rush yet? Long lines?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Idiot 2012-10-25 14:55:39


Okay -- my sporadic dyslexia just told me that the heading of this thread was about Drood's 'Excrement Level'. You just know I had to click.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-10-25 15:36:21


Jim Norton does indeed more than hold his own in the shadow of the great George Rose. While they're very different performers, I was delightfully surprised at the great ease Norton had in commanding the proceedings. Though I do miss Rose's bark (and bite) and larger-than-life exuberance, I think Norton's performance will only continue to loosen and grow in size. One thing I feel Norton needs work on is his Mayor Sapsea shtick...he's adopted a different vocal choice/physicality but it's lacking the buffoonery and bluster required to really put it over. Rose's Sapsea almost felt like an extension of his Major General persona...twitches and all! (which fit remarkably well)

I do agree with the above posters, however, that Tim Curry would have been a BRILLIANT Chairman. (Perhaps closer in energy and approach to Rose?)

One thing that I'm surprised no one has mentioned is The Name of Love/Moonfall Reprise being lowered by at least a step. While I understand the technical reasons for such a move, it didn't seem to pack quite the same punch it does on the cast recording (or it did live in the theatre), despite Chase sounding a great deal like McGillin throughout. It might also have to do with the pacing of it...it seemed rushed at the performance I saw which could also affect it (in addition to the lower key).

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by HeyMrMusic 2012-10-25 23:59:40


If we're talking key changes, Writing on the Wall was lowered a whole step from Betty's key. And of course, many keys were changed to accommodate Chita.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-10-26 00:45:17


HeyMrMusic - totally forgot to mention that as well...although I didn't find that key change as troubling as The Name of Love/Moonfall...Block still managed to thrill with the final note, tho having seen her do it effortlessly in Buckley's key with Seth Rudetsky, I wonder why they dropped it down a step.

I love the fact that Chita is still treading the boards at almost 80, and while her stage presence is undeniable at this point, her Puffer is still very much finding her sea legs. She's really struggling with the cockney accent and seems very tentative. Don't get me wrong, the Wages of Sin still went over like gangbusters at the performance I sat thru (despite her being very unsure of things) but it's the first time I've seen Chita on stage where I'm nervous for her. I'm really hoping she'll find her way and ease in the role.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by somethingwicked 2012-10-26 00:49:22


"The Writing On The Wall" is indeed lowered a whole step, which I thought was odd. Block can certainly sing it as written, and considering how little singing she does prior to that, I don't see the need for it to be altered? She also quite literally speaks the first two thirds of the song, and I hope that's one thing that improves during previews, because the words and phrases she chooses to emphasize in the lyrics are very random and bizarre throughout. Happily, she hits the last note with aplomb, but she needs to do a lot of work on building up everything that leads to that moment. More musical and less lyrical.

Bialyhoos, in that video with Seth Rudetsky, Block is actually lip-synching to a recording of Buckley for the big note. That was the joke. Seth was pretended to be so knocked out by her that he fell off his chair when, in reality, she wasn't actually singing it

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by sing_dance_love 2012-10-26 01:21:50


Saw the show last night. Thought it was an absolute delight. Didn't realize "The Writing On The Wall" was lowered, but boy did that big note thrill. Block sounded wonderful. And I felt her performance of that song was very much in line with the way Buckley performs it on the cast album- with the first half being more of less spoken.

The show is in excellent shape as many have noted. The first half is lengthy and though I personally did find the "...Drood" situations, story, and characters interesting, the real joy of the show is in the performances and general atmosphere of the giddy music hall actors doing their thing for us. The REAL story is about them, about these music hall performers putting on "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and their story I felt was extremely engaging.

The performances are excellent all-around. Will Chase is doing stellar work. Funny, compelling, inventive, and wonderfully sung. Edelman is also a highlight, superb character work, only wish he got to sing more. Block is absolutely killer as Drood, thrilling vocals and such and ease and confidence in her performance as a male impersonator- best acting I've seen from her yet. Norton steers the whole evening with an ease and charm. He's wonderful.

Wolfe's best work is as her music hall character, rather than Rosa. She also really shined when (at my performance and with my vote!) she was chosen as the murderer and really let loose with her confession. She's lovely throughout and sings beautifully, but I just couldn't get the thrilling Patti Cohenaur vocals i know so well from the cast album out of my head.

Karl, Meuller, and Creighton are all very good and have their moments. Benson is VERY funny.

Chita has moments, but I agree with the Bialyhoos22 that she hasn't quite found her footing yet. None of her songs had the comedic or dramatic impact I hoped they would, though she was very funny when she ended up being one of the lovers with Edelman. Still very exciting to finally see her onstage though and the audience loved her.

I thought the set and costumes were fabulous, and the lighting effective. There weren't any sound issues, I had no trouble hearing the lyrics from the upper mezzanine (even the newer ones I didn't know). I missed some of the older orchestrations I'm obsessed with from the album, some things weren't as lush or as exciting as I wanted them to be, but some were.

The lovely and charming score doesn't land as well as it does on the album, but the best moments do. The finale is absolutely thrilling and the cast sounds fabulous as a whole. The harmonies during the Moonfall Quartet were particularly beautiful.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and thought the show really is a unique experience that works best with a creative team and cast that really commit to the music hall style, sensibility, and energy and I thought that was wonderfully executed. It really is a joyful night and the cast seems to be having a blast. The feeling was mutual.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by uncageg 2012-10-26 01:34:58


Saw it tonight (technically last night. Thurs.) Had a good time. Laughed a lot and I agree the show is more about how they tell the story. The cast seemed to be having a good time. If it hasn't been mentioned here, the dog in the show is actually Ms. Block's. I met him/her at the stage door.

I would really like to see it again when they pick other people as the murderer. Ours was Helena.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by HeyMrMusic 2012-10-26 01:46:53


Thoroughly enjoyed the show tonight. It was genuinely fun and thrilling to see how the play would resolve. I'll be sure to be visiting again (and again) in the future!

I did miss lyrics here and there. The lyrics are very quick and tempos bright, so the sound needs to be crystal clear to understand the lyrics. I don't think I got a single lyric in "There You Are." For me, it was adjusting to the sound of an orchestra of (mostly) acoustic instruments coming from opposite sides of the stage. It threw me off a bit and then I couldn't focus on the lyrics. But the number was so joyously performed it nearly didn't matter. I'm sure it's still getting tweaked.

For a show this early in previews, it's pretty great. You'd think they'd been running for months already. Very smooth and slick.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-10-26 02:10:07


SomethingWicked - you're totally right! Had a bit of a mindfart there...but now I definitely recall it actually being a 'bit'. Still, I agree Block could easily be hitting Buckley's notes if she so desired.

Sing_dance_love - It's funny, as I've been reflecting on the show, I think more than anything, the thing I missed most were the original Broadway orchestrations for 'There You Are'. There was something really 'oomp-pah-y' and buoyant about the original arrangement - especially with the percussion. It seems Rupert has gone in and toned down the jaunty bass line and galloping snare substantially. I first noticed this on the OLC recording...the number seemed more subdued. It's wonderfully staged here, but goddammit I miss those heralding trumpets blaring a good 8 measures before Cartwright is revealed. I really hope they build the top of the number just a bit more.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by AAO26 2012-10-26 02:16:32


saw it last night-never seen a production of the show before.
enjoyed it very much, a fun night at the theater!- but this is the type of show that you will either love or hate due to its unusual format.
was able to follow the story and the music.
chita was amazing as always- she never disappoints! she delivered her lines and songs with her usual panache..she is one of the show's biggest assets.
overall, a great production, all around great performances that will only get better by opening night.
to me, the weakest link (at this point) is SJB-she has an amazing voice but lacks an edge-much needed for this type of show. the choreography could also use some attention - a bit lack-luster at this point-not sure if done on purpose...



The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bestfreakinshoes 2012-10-28 00:29:17


Awhile ago on this thread, someone asked about the lyric change for Neville in "No Good Can Come from Bad".

The original is this and was changed for obvious reasons:

Sir I don't much like your tone, that supercilious sneer you wear!
Clear, you wear a finer cut than mine,
Ah but a waistcoat worn can soon be torn,
And faggots, too, 'til maggots feed on you!

Now, I believe the last line is changed to (vagueness ahead): Something something weed, I don't bleed as blue as you

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by goldenboy 2012-10-28 10:49:16


Regarding Don't Dress for Dinner. I really enjoyed it and found it hilarious.
People tend to have not liked it because Boeing Boeing was reportedly better.
Not having seen Boeing Boeing, I thought Don't Dress for Dinner was great fun.
More than the much touted One Man Two Governors.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by get-it-right 2012-10-28 14:09:00


Chita is out this afternoon.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by MusicalBoy 2012-10-28 15:10:23


As I understand it, Stephanie is hitting a D at the end of 'Writing on the Wall', which means she is a step (I think? Its called a tone in England) down from Betty Buckley who was singing an E.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by lida rose 2012-10-28 19:50:37


i saw it last night and it was delightful, the entire cast was so charming and clearly having a blast. however, as someone who was unfamiliar with the score, i found the majority of the lyrics totally unintelligible, especially when there was more than one person singing. after the opening number i just kind of settled in and accepted it, since i could figure out the gist of what was going on even if i couldn't catch the specifics. i bought the obcr so i can get more familiar with the score (and the much-praised obc performances) and i would love to go back in a couple of months to hopefully see a different set of results, even though i did enjoy last night's outcome.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-10-28 19:57:34


I was there last night as well. Had a BLAST! One of the best evenings I've spent in the theater EVER! Only one of my votes matched the outcome. Chita cracked the rest of the cast up towards the end of the show based on one of the vote outcomes.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by HeyMrMusic 2012-10-29 01:08:15


Yes, Stephanie's high note in the finale is a D, a whole step lower than Betty's E.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-10-31 18:36:37


Caught the matinee today on the $20 offer (thanks BWW, I wouldn't know about it without you!). This is a solid enjoyable production. I especially liked Wolfe, Chase, Mueller (hilarious and miraculously competes with my cherished memories of Schneider, although I enjoyed her other recent NY appearances, this is the one that finally convinces me that she's the real deal), Karl, Edelman, Creighton and Peter Benson, who is a totally winning Bazzard. But the entire cast is great. Chita is not Cleo, but, hell, she's Chita, looks fantastic, and is giving an adorable performance and if her accent frequently fades it hardly matters. Norton does not have Rose's inimitable star quality, but is endearing, deftly funny and has a natural ease and command. The musical's charms come through and if memory servesl the pacing and staging are superior to the original production if the design elements (all solid here) do not quite equal the original's (but that's hardly an insult). Block sings gorgeously and is having a fine time; I find her slightly bland in this role but that's completely subjective and admittedly nitpicky. As has been said, her exit is extraordinary.

I'd be very surprised if the reviews are not very good.

My one big problem is that while the cast, all of whom sing very well, enunciate the dialogue faultlessly, the lyrics are often lost (perhaps they are being drowned out orchestrally). The lyrics of this show are quite good and tricky, in certain scenes are the only way to tell what a character is communicating (Jasper's state of mind in "A Man Could Go Quite Mad" is quite enigmatic if one can't sufficiently make out the words) and it is a shame they often get muddled. But the score itself is even better than I remember.





The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by best12bars 2012-10-31 19:38:05


Great to read your thoughts, henrik, from someone who saw the original production (as did I).

I'm curious about the "pacing" being better than the original. I saw the show twice in the original run. Once in previews with the full OBC, and once a year later, and the difference was extraordinary. The show was tired, to put it mildly, the second time through. In previews, it ran like clockwork, with the cast humming along and no issues with timing/pacing. And I loved the staging of the original, by both the director and choreographer.

The issue with the lyrics is really unfortunate. I remember understanding every word in the original production, both times. I sat in (roughly) the eighth row the first time and in the balcony the second time. No issues with audio balance or understanding lyrics.

That would be a HUGE shame with this production since, as you point out, the lyrics and score are really good. Especially given today's technology with sound design.

Has that been an issue before in this theatre?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-10-31 19:53:27


Interesting, best12, and, indeed, I believe I did see the original late in the run.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Miranda3 2012-10-31 20:00:32


Henrik: I saw the original also, several times. When I saw the costume shots here, I noticed that Chita's costume seemed different from Cleo's. Cleo's was very frumpy and comical, with a patchworky fabric pattern and an almost little-old-lady hat. Chita's costume seemed sexier and made out of more luxurious high-end fabric, and Chita's hairstyle seemed more elegant. Is this just meaningless, or is there a slightly different slant to Puffer in this production? I remember John Simon praised Cleo as a "paragon of frumpy deviousness" in this role. Chita's look did not seem frumpy at all.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Kad 2012-10-31 20:54:05


Chita's Puffer is not at all frumpy, nor devious. She's more.. maternal, I suppose I'd say. A down-on-her-luck matron given a chance to make things right for herself.

I saw the matinee today and thought it was a lot of fun. The main issues I had were already addressed: the sound rendering a lot of the score unintelligible, and the design being too lavish for a supposedly small music hall troupe.

But the performances are down-the-line excellent, and the audience seemed to eat it up.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-10-31 21:58:55


I agree with Kad, Miranda.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bdn223 2012-11-01 11:31:23


I was at yesterday's matinee and only went because of the $20 Sandy tickets, received seat row C seat 110 which I was estatic about. The weird thing about it was the fact that when the women at the box office sold it to me, she seemed apologetic about that seat. Later I semi understood why, maybe 5 minutes before the curtain i was basically one of maybe 10 people in the first 5 rows center orchestra, the rest of the orchestra was pretty much filled and I had my row to my self with the exception of a few menmbers of the castof Scandelous, but then 2 minutes before the show began the entire rear mezzanine it seemed was moved into the front 5 rows, which was somewhat annoying.

On the actual show though, I loved it. I will agree did not follow the plot of the actual book very well since the lyrics of the book songs were muddled early on, but after maybe the third song those issues seemed to disappear. If the show is supposed to be about the plot of the Dickens' "The Mystery if Edwin Drood" it Is a mess, but as others who have seen the original and or are older and wiser than than I am, say that it is more about the presentation of the plot and it's English Musicale styling it more than succeeded. If the show is extended through June, I could see Will Chase being a front runner for the Tony.
The audience also seemed to love it to since as soon as the curtain rose nearly half the audience left to their feet, rather than the usual slow obligatory ovation usually given to the show's lead.


Gregg Edelman hinted at the stage door that their extension is dependent of the NYTimes review. Basically implying that if they get a good review from Brantly or Isherwood, Roundabout would announce an extension the November 14th regardless of their advance as of opening night and would just cut the extension short if the advance doesn't build up.


Finally during the show I wondered why Roundabout didn't put The Mystery of Edwin Drood in the Sondheim since they cleary are hoping to extend the show indefinaty and it seems the the perfect house for long runsl. During the show I realized that it's because Studio 54 is the perfect theater at least out of Roundabout's theaters for the show because it looks the part of an English musical or at least compared to its other theaters it does. The Sondhiem is too modern for the show, and would break the illusion of the "Royal Music Hall". I know several people don't like Studio 54 and find it very crampt, but I honestly feel that that is perfect for "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". Anyone else agree?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-11-01 11:43:12


Although it in no way surpasses the original (and rarely matches it), it's a terrifically fun revival. It's the best work I've seen from Block, Chase, and Mueller - perhaps because they aren't taking themselves as seriously as usual.

I think Norton needs to take a tiny bit more time to let his gags land, and maybe get out of the confines of the rehearsal room and open up to the full house. He's doing a smaller, subtler performance than I believe the style demands.

The show runs longer than I remember, and I appreciate the speed at which they take the score.

The reduced orchestrations aren't as horrid to the ear as the usual Roundabout bands, and the players they have are terrific. The design (sets, lights, costumes) is just about perfect.

Most of all, everyone seems to be out to have fun, which is the first requirement of this show. I'd call this easily the Roundabout's most successful home-grown revival.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-11-01 11:51:29


Bdn, we were right behind you yesterday in row D 110 and 112 And I agree the seats though up front and all the way right were just fine.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by doodlenyc 2012-11-01 12:27:10


We had tickets last night and made the performance...which seemed odd considering all that's happened in the past few days, but we had a great time. I was most impressed with Mueller who I hadn't seen before and she practically stole the show, and Norton who kept everything moving beautifully and tirelessly.. I also really liked Wolfe, Karl, Chase and Benson.
My only disappointment was Rivera. I adore her, but she rushed both of her numbers and when she attempted an accent it was really tough to understand her. My favorite number is "Garden Path to Hell" and it felt like a throwaway.

Block was fine and in great voice, but seemed too mannered as Edwin. She came alive as Alice, however, and Writing on the
Wall was thrilling vocally.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-01 16:20:02


While we're on the subject of the different interpretations of Puffer...here's a couple of wonderful rare shots from the '88 national tour starring George Rose and Jean Stapleton as Puffer. Both in this shot and the one in the post below, you can see she's quite a bit different than Cleo (and apparently in performance as well...)

Also featured in this pic are Jana Schneider as Helena, Mark Jacoby as Jasper, John DeLuca as Neville, Ronn Carroll as Bazzard, Teresa De Zarn as Rosa and Tony Azito as Durdles (very different from the Jerome Dempsey mold, though I imagine quite wonderful in his own right!)

Also pictured on the lower left, right next to Jana is a young Kathleen Marshall (who choreographed the tour on behalf of Graciela Danielle)



The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-01 16:20:43


The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2012-11-01 23:55:51


I'm on the bandwagon that this is one of the most fun shows we have had on the BWay in a while and deserves to be a Big Hit.
I thought the designs were very strong, Louizos' sets are remarkable in that smallish space. and Long (who I felt had gotten lazy lately) has proven me wrong with gorgeous frocks for everyone, The bustles are amazing and deserve their own TONY. Cast wise it's a dream, yes Chita is not very English sounding but who the Hell cares, her voice sounds strong and she holds an audience like no other. (Why not just make her a transported American Actress?). Chase is socko and so is my girl Block, that voice!! Norton acts the role deliciously but could use a little more musical verve, Wolfe is a terrific singer/actress, I would have liked a little more innocence and a lighter soprano but her take certainly works. The ensemble are also a big plus. I got the $20 Sandy Special and was moved to the second row center right near Maxie Van E. Thanks for the deal Roundabout and I will return and tell friends to see this.

P.S. Andy Karl is certainly turning out to be one of our more comical versitile Musical Actors, it would be fun to see him remembered at Award time. I know Mueller is very talented but she didn't win me over as Cinderella (miscast) and I didn't see OACDYCSF, Here she gets laughs and sings great, but I could use a little less mugging and more daffiness. I think a better role will come for her, but she surely holds her own with this stellar cast.
Benson is also damed cute and winning.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by HeyMrMusic 2012-11-02 01:59:12


It took me a little bit to figure out what OACDYCSF was...

I've always been a fan of Louizos. The sets here are top-notch and deserve some major recognition.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ChairinMain 2012-11-02 03:23:01


Andy Karl's Eyebrow in this show deserves a tony category all on it's own. Best performance by a facial feature. It can compete with Jessica Chastain's cheekbones and The Stache in Peter and the Starcatcher. He is doing MASTERFUL work in a frankly underwritten role.





The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by best12bars 2012-11-02 03:48:10


I haven't seen the revival with all of the script changes made since it's original run, but one of the comments I keep reading here has to do with how "trivial" the actual plot of Dickens' story is ... the "show within the show," if you will.

While it wasn't always front and center by any means, I didn't find this issue nearly as apparent in the original, and part of that reason was because the ending of the first act was all about the Dickens plot ... "The Name of Love/Moonfall." That's what audiences were left with during intermission, not "Off To the Races," which has nothing to do with anything other than "fun."

The focus was clearly on the "mystery" and what was happening and would happen in the original structure of the musical. Act Two picked up with the introduction of Datchery "Settling Up the Score" and more continuation of the Dickens plot.

To me, it sounds like some of these major script changes (made over the years) have been for the worse.

EDIT: Bialyhoos22 --- I saw both actors you speak of play Durdles: Jerome Dempsey with the full OBC, who was terrific. He was also out in the audience talking to my section before the show began. The second time I saw it, Tony Azito was playing the role, and while completely different, he still was highly entertaining. He had been a key performer in Wilford Leach's production of The Pirates of Penzance, so he incorporated a lot of his "double-jointed" eccentric movements into bits of action, etc., which was fully in line with the Music Hall approach to the show.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-02 04:05:46


best12, I completely agree with your assessment. Perhaps that IS the key difference between this superb revival and the inimitable original - that the original did indeed place more emphasis on Dickens story than the music hall antics. To be sure, there were no shortage of brilliant antics in the original (some of which haven't even begun to be approached in this revival) but the position of Name of Love/Moonfall Reprise does definitely shift focus. Particularly when it comes in Act Two literally minutes before Don't Quit While Your Ahead (more music hall antics!) amps up and the story halts for 'The Solution' and the audience interaction.

Barring this, I do think many of Holmes libretto tweaks have been for the better. The Roundabout is clearly using a hybrid of the Broadway version and the London/88 Tour - though it seems to tip closer to the Broadway version. I actually love Act Two opening with An English Music Hall (far better than England Reigns). It was a weak opening number at the Delacorte for the top of the show, but here, seems really delightful as an Entr'acte of sorts.

Thank you too for offering your thoughts on Azito -- I loved his indelible contributions to Leach's Pirates...I figured he must have added his kinetic, rubbery-limbed shtick to the part...

As much as I love Louizos' set designs for Drood, there was something that felt a little more authentically 'English' about Bob Shaw's original...the whole thing felt like a Victorian picture book come to life (especially with Lindsay W Davis' costumes). Fun fact - the original Broadway scenery actually existed up until a few years ago over at the now-defunct Santa Barbara CLO (aka The Set Company). I heard most of it ended up in the trash, with the exception of a few soft goods (drops).






The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-11-02 07:46:53


I disagree. I think shifting focus to the presentation of the mystery from the mystery itself is a major improvement. I have never read the story but it strikes me as a stock, serviceable and possibly enjoyable mystery but without any of dramatic Dickensian gold. Off to the Races is a rousing first act ending.

For this show to really work - as it does in the revival- "who did it" (who really cares?) is far less important than how much fun the company and the audience are together having unraveling it. The revival unself-consciously (or rather glibly self-consciously) understands that.

Don't get me wrong. The original production was in many respects superior (often in comparison to elements of the new production that are nonetheless wonderful in their own right). Still, in other respects, the revival is superior.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ChairinMain 2012-11-02 15:07:26


I'm in favor of the change, but for a different reason. If you close the first act with a dramatic confrontation, you want to see it resolved in act two, and in the original version, Rosa pretty much disappears in the second act except for a short scene with Puffer or if she's selected the Murderer. The driving force of the Act One "plot" is who will win Rosa Budd, and unless she's a murderer or lover, that question is never answered. At least in the revival, she and Drood have a moment of reconciliation during "Writing on The Wall" (though I presume this is cut if she is the murderer/lover). So ending the first act with a focus on the entire cast except on two characters actually helps the show's focus.

A side issue, but I do think the Moonfall reprise is a little mis-staged; the chorus should be offstage voices rather than standing in the background.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Kad 2012-11-02 15:18:01


Also, Dickens apparently told quite a few who asked about his work-in-progress that Jasper was the killer. The show actually adds in more clues/red herrings to make other options feasible.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by beaemma 2012-11-02 20:55:10


Dickens left behind notes for the rest of the book, and they also suggest that Jasper would be the culprit. The book is not really a very well constructed mystery. To me, it's similar to a typical Dickens novel with a mystery as one of the plot elements. The musical, which I saw and loved four times, definitely does quite a lot to make it a true whodunit. I'm excited to be seeing the revival in a week.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-11-02 21:52:55


RE: The novel/original text --

Over the years, I've heard numerous tidbits of one particular story, where there was an account where Dickens basically said, "My intention was to simply tell the story of a man killed by his uncle...", or something along those lines, lol.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-11-02 22:23:09


I just found this and had to share! I LOVE IT and wish this cast would do something similar!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by bestfreakinshoes 2012-11-02 23:44:34


So, so thrilled to hear so many people are loving Andy Karl's performance in this. I've seen the show twice and he's already added so many little touches and funny bits in the past two weeks. I find myself watching him whenever he's in a scene.

I'm partial to Jessie Mueller and find she and Andy have a good rapport, but I simply think the Neville role has more meat to it. I would LOVE to hear Helena's confession, though. Next time...

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by ChairinMain 2012-11-03 00:30:25


Bob: Holy Crap that is the most 80s thing ever and I am in love!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-11-04 10:17:33


Did Dickens think that he could somehow make the obvious culprit being the perpetrator its own hiding-in-plain-sight surprise? Was he trying to be the Anti-Poe?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by tazber 2012-11-04 15:51:38


That is a great video, bob.

Was that actually supposed to be a radio version?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by egghumor 2012-11-04 16:49:38


What a thrilling video! Thanks, Bob. I lived in NY during the run of the original DROOD and never saw that video until now. wow...

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by best12bars 2012-11-04 17:57:25


Taz---that video aired on MTV and VH-1. I remember it well.

As did the "Cats" video.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by goldenboy 2012-11-08 02:28:38


Saw it tonight Thought it was a great production of a show I just don' love. The cast looked like they were having a great time. It must be great fun to be in this show competing to be the music hall murderer.. The music hall concept is a great conceipt; it just gets a bit old after a half hour. And no one really gives a fig who killed Edwin Drood although picking the ending is really nifty. Really enjoyed Peter Benson, Jessie Mueller, Andy Karl, Stephanie Block who really nailed their roles. Jim Norton did fine but I can't help but remember how fantastic George Rose was in the role. The sets and costumes were stunning and the show well directed and paced. My only disappointment was Chita who doesn't do much with this role and can't really do the accent well. I said I would pay to have Chita sing the phone book. She may have done a better job with that. The first Chita performance I didn't love.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by AAO26 2012-11-08 03:32:33


Interesting- because I really enjoyed chita's performance and would actually go back to see the show just for her (her stage presence alone makes up for accent inconsistencies)- and did not enjoy SJB's performance as much...SJB has a beautiful voice but lacks the stage presence & edge Chita has.
for each his own as they say...

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-11-08 10:06:49


Chita is and always will be a star, but it's a bit sad to see her at this age so limited in almost every way - flubbing lyrics and lines, barely dancing, and not able to hit the higher notes of her songs. I was surprised that they didn't transpose her two numbers down even further, seeing the difficulty she was having in "Wages of Sin," but perhaps she doesn't have notes that low either.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by AAO26 2012-11-08 14:27:41


disagree 100% with you newintown- there is nothing sad about seeing her perform. i found her strong of both voice and carriage...she can still certainly dance- she doesn't very little choreography on this show-and she sings in her usual unique chita style..
as far a flubbing lines- didn't notice... don't know the book that well. im sure other cast members might still be flubbing during previews.
i saw her in the visit benefit/reading-less than a year ago and she was the only person in the cast that wasn't carrying a book to remind her of her lines or lyrics. and she dance and kicked as she does when the show called for it...she is a joy to watch...

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-11-08 14:34:42


You may disagree all day, but it doesn't change the fact that she can't quite get to the higher notes (which aren't high at all) in her songs.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by LALALand 2012-11-08 14:36:18


Does SJB do the high notes Buckley did in Writing's on the Wall?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by doodlenyc 2012-11-08 14:44:34


I believe it's been said on this thread that she is singing a step down from Buckley. It's still stunning though.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by TheBalladeer 2012-11-08 15:09:44


As a fan of both Chita and Drood, I was really excited to see this show, and her. However I must agree that she was a bit disappointing in the accent department, and vocally. I suspect "Puffer's Revelation" was severely altered or cut due to Ms. Rivera's vocal limitations. I just dd not like the keys and tempos all of ER songs were in. Besides that, she still looks amazing, and is funny as hell! She is still a delight, and an extreme asset to this production. Just my 2 cents.

Cheers!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by AAO26 2012-11-08 15:51:28


newintown-

i don't the songs are that fragile that they break when a high note is not hit by chita - she compensates in many other more interesting ways..
SJB hits high notes and but her performance is boring and uninteresting. for high notes i go to the opera...

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-08 15:59:32


I do not think for a second anyone is second guessing (or denying) Chita's considerable star quality or presence on the stage. However, it has to be said that this is the first time I've actually felt nervous for a performer of her calibre on the stage. I think the dodgy cockney accent might actually be the root of her unease in the role - it constantly pulls her in and out of character and doesn't allow her to connect with the audience in the way we know she can.

It looks like things have only tightened up going off of the new preview video. It's nice to hear they added some of the heralding trumpets back into the opening of 'There You Are' - though I do wish Norton had an more exciting (applause inducing) entrance in the number like George Rose did. The orchestrations at the top of the number still seem a little low key/thin as compared to the original. Very tiny (obsessive!) gripes I know but I think it would just amp things all the more.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by newintown 2012-11-08 16:02:54


I think its simply lovely that you don't care if a performer can sing the notes of a song. You'll have a much better time watching anything in which the performer can't execute the material that way.

Of course there are ways to knock a song out of the park even with vocal limitations - heck, Stritch has been doing it for 60 years. Sadly, though, Chita once had a great voice, and you can tell watching her that she wants to get through her songs as quickly as possible, without lingering on vocal limitations. The high notes in "Wages of Sin" (which, again, aren't high at all) are written to be indulged in, lingered over, schmaltzed up. Poor Chita (who isn't bad, by the way - I never said that, but get the feeling you think that's what I'm saying) rushes past them as though they were obstacles to avoid.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-08 16:18:11


Have to agree with you again newintown. To your point, The Wages of Sin is really a number to ham up and revel in as Laine did so brilliantly. The comedic vocal indulgences Laine and Morrow added were not necessarily pretty (as far as notes were concerned...even though both ladies were brilliant singers) but they made the number the rousing music hall anthem it was meant to be. Poor Chita really speeds through it and as a result, undercuts not only her numbers but the character as well. It's too bad as she's excellent in the voting section in Act Two (particularly when she's selected as a lover) .

I wonder if Rupert and Co. have thought about making her an American transplant at the Music Hall Royale. A primitive Sophie Tucker type making her English debut? I don't think it'd hurt the show and at the very least, it'd take the accent off the table -- thus leaving Rivera to let loose and do her thing. All it would require would be a small change to the Chairman's remarks - everything else could remain the same.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by AAO26 2012-11-08 16:23:16


i'm more interested in the performance. of course, they should be able to sing and get the song across. but i'm more interested in the balance between performance and song. a perfectly rendered song without the performance doesn't work for me in the theater. and again, chita can compensate and very well...that's my point. i haven't seen struggling-and if she has on certain performances. I'm sure that she won't by opening night. And yes, agreed Elaine is a fantastic example.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Kelly2 2012-11-09 16:49:51


Saw the show last night and had a BLAST. What a well put-together little treasure this production is, I would recommend it to anyone. I thought the cast was absolutely stellar. The only person who was underwhelming for me was Will Chase. I didn't think he was as outrageous as the rest of the cast and with so many scene-stealing performances from hugely talented performers, he got a little lost to me. For me, the standouts were the lovely Betsy Wolfe as Rosa Bud, I think Broadway has found a great new leading lady in her and her voice is just lovely to listen to, and the comedic duo of Jessie Mueller and Andy Karl. They both had the crowd in stitches last night and no one got louder applause except possibly Chita.

Our ending was Bazzard as Datchery, Helena as the Murderer, and Neville and Puffer as the Lovers, and I have to say, it was full-on hilarious. Seeing Andy Karl and Chita Rivera in their little seduction scene was one of my favorite moments from this season so far. They both couldn't stop cracking up and improvising after Chita missed a lyric. A friend of mine in the show told me they'd only rehearsed that ending once or twice in rehearsal, since no one really expected it to happen often or at all, and the cast themselves were barely able to contain their laughter once Chita and Karl locked lips. Too funny.

Overall, a well-sung, well-performed raucous and fun night at the theatre. IMO this show is not one to miss.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by AAO26 2012-11-10 04:31:29


http://broadwayworld.com/article/Photo-Flash-First-Look-at-THE-MYSTERY-OF-EDWIN-DROOD--Production-Shots-20121109



chita
Posted by AAO26 2012-11-10 04:43:10



http://www.operanews.com/Opera_News_Magazine/2012/11/Features/Still_Flying_After_All_These_Years.html

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by AAO26 2012-11-10 04:59:07




The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by Broadway Bob* 2012-11-15 08:12:29


So now that this is open and gotten (much deserved) GREAT reviews, are there any whisperings about an extension?!?! I hope so. This amazing cast deserves to be seen for as long as possible and definitely be remembered come Tony time!!!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by FANtomFollies 2012-11-17 00:38:37


Has anyone done the general rush for this? How early should I get there for a matinee tomorrow (Saturday) ?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Excitement Level?
Posted by littlebro2 2012-11-26 22:44:04


Anyone heard about the extention? Really hoping so, I come in to NYC the Friday after it closes. One more week!!