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THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by LimelightMike 2012-11-13 03:32:18


Today is Tuesday, November 13, marking the official opening night performance of the first-ever, twenty-years-in-the-making Broadway revival of THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD. This whodunnit mystery-musical comedy transports audiences to Victorian-era London to help resolve Charles Dickens' final, and unfinished tale, at Studio 54. The Rupert Holmes musical, which stars Stephanie J. Block, Chita Rivera and Will Chase, allows audiences to vote on the ending of the intricate tale.

The musical is set up as a show-within-a-show, with a troupe of celebrated music hall performers enacting Dickens' incomplete 1870 novel. Holmes wrote the book, music and lyrics, inviting audiences to take part in the action with a choose-your-own-adventure-style ending where they vote on which character murders Drood (as well as choosing a romantic pairing and the identity of a mystery detective). Holmes has penned multiple endings, confessional songs and plot twists for DROOD, which keeps its actors on their toes.

The musical first premiered as part of Shakespeare in the Park in 1985. The celebrated production, stuffed with chamber pieces and English Music Hall-style songs, transferred to Broadway and picked up Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Score and Best Musical.

The cast of possible suspects and shadowy characters include Chita Rivera as Princess Puffer, Jim Norton as Chairman, Will Chase as John Jasper, Gregg Edelman as Reverend Mr. Crisparkle, Jessie Mueller as Helena Landless, Betsy Wolfe as Rosa Bud, Andy Karl as Neville Landless, Nicholas Barasch as Deputy, Peter Benson as Bazzard, Robert Creighton as Durdles, Alison Cimmet , Jim Walton, Nick Corley, Justin Greer, Shannon Lewis, Kiira Schmidt, Eric Sciotto, Janine DiVita, Jenifer Foote and Spencer Plachy.

"Who killed Edwin Drood?" Roundabout asks. "It's a question that has stumped audiences for years — now it's your turn to answer one of Broadway's most baffling mysteries. Take a trip back in time to a Victorian music hall where a rowdy ensemble of actors mounts a staging of Charles Dickens' unfinished novel. Everyone on stage is a suspect in the murder of young Edwin Drood — and it's up to you to choose the killer! Is it John Jasper, Edwin's protective but slightly maniacal uncle? Rosa Bud, his reluctant betrothed? The debauched Princess Puffer? Each performance ends differently, depending on what the audience decides!"

Wishing a very Happy Opening to the misfits at the Music Hall Royale!

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by bwayphreak234 2012-11-13 04:06:20


Wow this opening night creeped up fast! I feel like it just started previews!

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by jacobsnchz14 2012-11-13 08:30:21


Very excited to read some reviews that are (hopefully) positive!

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by newintown 2012-11-13 08:55:33


Difficult to imagine not liking this fun and silly revival of a fun and silly show.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by ajh 2012-11-13 09:43:36


*excited*

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by ACL2006 2012-11-13 12:32:27


just curious if they've extended already as Playbill has Studio 54/Drood until March 3, 2013?

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by bdn223 2012-11-13 12:57:33


From what I have been told by one of the cast members at the stage door it that if the NYTIMES gives them a rave, Roundabout is extending The Mystery of Edwin Drood through June, tomorrow regardless of current sales.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by mmh1019 2012-11-13 13:41:11


there is a name missing from @Limelightmike's original post, Kyle Coffman is in the production as well. He was one of the standout dancers from the original cast of Newsies, he's fantastic.

I did this show as a junior in high school (at an all girls school no less!) 8 years ago, and I always wondered when it would come back to broadway. I'm so excited! The costumes & set look spectacular and from what I've read Warren Carlyle has somewhat redeemed himself after A Tale of Two Cities and the less than stellar reviews of Chaplin.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by bjh2114 2012-11-13 18:37:07


amNY is very positive:

"As atmospherically staged by Scott Ellis, with sprightly choreography by Warren Carlyle and excellent music direction by Paul Gemignani, this production is a reminder that well-known musicals do not need to be reconstructed or darkened for their revivals. If the show is strong, have faith in it and all will fall into place."

http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/theater-review-the-mystery-of-edwin-drood-4-stars-1.4219057

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by jacobsnchz14 2012-11-13 18:55:26


If it extends to June, I'd be very happy!!

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by bjh2114 2012-11-13 19:59:45


Backstage is positive for the production, but super negative for the show, which he seems to hate (he hated the original too). He gives it a C+:

"Director Scott Ellis’ edition is brisker and brighter than Wilford Leach’s original, most notably in the performances of Will Chase and Betsy Wolfe as Jasper and Rosa. The creepy sexual tension between the broodingly erotic Howard McGillin and the nervously neurotic Patti Cohenour is entirely absent. Chase opts for energetic mustache-twirling and Wolfe sticks with innocent and virginal, though both sing powerfully. In the pants role of Drood, Stephanie Block cavorts with a winking manliness and employs her spectacular voice authoritatively, though she lacks originator Betty Buckley’s sharp edge. Jessie Mueller and Andy Karl milk Helena and Neville’s cartoon exoticism for big laughs, and Gregg Edelman dithers appropriately as Crisparkle. Best are the elegantly authentic Jim Norton, absolutely the equal of the peerless George Rose as the troupe’s leader and our host, and, as Puffer, the playful Chita Rivera, who knows in her bones how to do a star turn despite the worst cockney accent since Dick Van Dyke.

The audience I saw “Drood” with adored it, and I suspect most will, so hooray for Roundabout. Alas, the show still makes my teeth hurt.


http://www.backstage.com/review/ny-theater/broadway/the-mystery-of-edwin-drood-roundabout-theatre-company-rupert-holmes-charles-dickens/

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by choitoy 2012-11-13 20:10:50


I'm hoping for many more good reviews and hope for an extension. I was planning on coming back to NY in late March or April, and I would love to see a production of "Drood" finally.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by bjh2114 2012-11-13 20:11:54


The AP is very positive:

"No matter: There's the legendary Rivera (as the nefarious Princess Puffer) singing "The Wages of Sin," there's Chase (of "Smash" fame) chewing scenery and doing so marvelously, and there's Block (cross-dressing as the title character) who sings and jokes superbly. Norton, as the chairman, is loony and adorable.

Other highlights include an opium dream beautifully realized by choreographer Warren Carlyle and Anna Louizos' sets that includes a terrific steam-puffing train. William Ivey Long seems to have had as much fun making the lush costumes, especially the Indian-inspired ones worn by Mueller and Karl.

Although "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" won Tony Awards for best musical, best book and best score in 1985, this is the first time it has returned to Broadway. The reason may be simple: In the wrong hands, it can sit awkwardly in a Broadway house — too zany, too arch. But these are the right hands: There are veterans at every turn. So no matter who gets the most votes, everyone wins."


http://www.chron.com/entertainment/article/Review-Veterans-save-The-Mystery-of-Edwin-Drood-4034501.php

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by NewYorkTheater 2012-11-13 20:19:05


The Mystery of Drood” is not really a mystery...not a traditional musical. Call it an entertainment, and a clever game, and prepare to have fun.
....Such interactive theater and meta fiddling was more a novelty when Drood first hit Broadway, before such mischievous non-mysteries like “Twin Peaks” and long before such “immersive” experiences that put theatergoers in control like “Sleep No More.” The effect of all this playing around, whether intentional or not, is to keep the audience at a remove from Dickens’ story. This is not a show for serious consumers of mysteries, even though the man who created it – he wrote the book, music, lyrics and orchestrations – changed his name from David Goldstein to Rupert Holmes in honor of Sherlock.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Mattbrain 2012-11-13 21:47:55


Newsday is up:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/theater/review-the-mystery-of-edwin-drood-1.4217701

Damn, Winer, who peed in your cornflakes.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-13 21:57:06


Chriiist...what crawled up her ass and died? That's the most unnecessarily negative, pissy review I've read from her in a long time. She's always a little ascerbic in her writing but man...it's like she's been holding up her deep resentment for this show since that balmy summer eve in '85. You can hate the show but at least this fine cast and production its due -- there is a great deal of artistry going on that stage that makes the evening come off as well as it does (in spite of flaws in the material)

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by chanel 2012-11-13 22:04:54


Positive from villagevoice.com:

"Victorian literature meets American Idol--an appealing mix."

Seems to like Jim Norton and Chita the best.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/dailymusto/2012/11/the_mystery_of.php

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by ReggieonBway 2012-11-13 22:12:23


...I can't be the only one who loves the show itself...

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by undercoveractor 2012-11-13 22:21:33


^^^ No, I .love and admire the piece too! In fact, it is a favorite.
This production deserves far better reviews than these.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by carousel94 2012-11-13 22:22:18


Reggie, you are not the only one but it does seem like we are a small group!

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by little_sally 2012-11-13 22:24:42


I love this show too! I think the score is just fantastic.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by BwayBaby18 2012-11-13 22:26:21


I hate when a revival is being reviewed and people complain about the structure of the play in the review. Guess what someone probably complained about it before and now we must deal with it. Review the cast/design/direction don't fault the experience of the production because you don't enjoy the structure. *End of soap box*

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by mmh1019 2012-11-13 22:28:26


since i did this show 8 years ago, it's always been one of my favorite & i was wondering when it would come back to broadway. it's fun, clever & makes for a great night of theatre. and the audience participation is an added bonus. agree w/ the poster above me, critique the current production, not the structure of the show itself. i've had friends see it & say it's a really well done revival. hoping to catch it soon!

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-11-13 22:33:57


He has problems with the show itself, but Isherwood's review looks very positive, if not pretty damn close to a being a rave.

http://theater.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/theater/reviews/the-mystery-of-edwin-drood-revived-by-roundabout-theater.html?ref=theater&pagewanted=1

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Auggie27 2012-11-13 22:53:28


The score is a gem, all the more wonderful now. And the clips shown here make a persuasive case for this clearly beautifully conceived production.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by bobs3 2012-11-13 23:21:15


Isherwood is writing more and more Broadway reviews. Does this mean Brantley is slowly being pushed out the door?

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by ReggieonBway 2012-11-13 23:31:32


oh dear god I hope so.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Mattbrain 2012-11-13 23:36:12


Oh dear God I hope not. Brantley's tough but Isherwood even more so. Remember when Newsies got the great review from the Times at Papermill and Riedel reported one "source" as saying, "They're lucky they didn't get Isherwood."

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-11-13 23:36:35


I've actually thought Brantley's reviews have been pretty spot-on as of late. And mostly well-written.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by bjh2114 2012-11-13 23:37:02


Isherwood is a WAY worse critic than Brantley, but not because he's "tougher". His taste is just abysmal.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by wickedfan 2012-11-13 23:37:30


Isherwood as Chief Theater Critic for the Times...there's a scary thought.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by RippedMan 2012-11-13 23:45:29


He's a dick in real life too. I've served him a few times. Not a nice guy.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by ljay889 2012-11-13 23:47:45


^ :-O

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-11-14 01:27:39


The Post is positive with 3 stars:
http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/mystery_always_solved_by_dickens_O5ffdHAHfNzKjh5TwIIMHO

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Kad 2012-11-14 01:59:19


Brantley also just wrote several high-profile reviews, so I'm assuming he and Isherwood brokered a deal.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Rodgerdodger 2012-11-14 04:25:21


And, on that note, I've always wondered how Brantley & Isherwood make their decisions on reviews. I assume Brantley gets first dibs on everything, but I'd love to be wrong. I'm quite positive it's not both men's editor arbitraily picking the assignments.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by winston89 2012-11-14 04:34:48


Now that this has gotten a rave from The Times, when do you think Roundabout will announce a well deserved extension for this show?

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Phantom of London 2012-11-14 05:41:52


Roundabout need to start thinking of the:



As with Follies last year, that didn't win because the show finished early, so Drood needs to extend into at least June/July next year snd I am sure it will get the Tony.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Miranda3 2012-11-14 09:15:09


A new Riedel article on the life and death of the wonderful George Rose.

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/real_life_horror_of_drood_QG55ZHA51zBWQIpNNnpA8N?utm_campaign=OutbrainA&utm_source=OutbrainArticlepages&obref=obinsource

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by sondheimfan2 2012-11-14 12:45:47


He adored playing opposite Cleo Laine in “Drood,” but when she was replaced with Loretta Swit, he wasn’t pleased.

“I’ll never forget the day after she gave her first performance, he threatened to quit the show,” says press agent Richard Kornberg.

Love this!

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-14 12:46:49


Here's the better article on the subject of Mr. Rose's untimely passing -- it's clear Riedel pulled a lot of facts (including the suggestion of putting his name in the Theatre Hall of Fame) from this article:

http://www.alixkirsta.com/articles/georgerose/index.htm

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Miranda3 2012-11-14 13:52:39


sondheimfan2: The original Drood was at the Imperial (after Central Park) and at the time I hung out with several people who worked on 45th near the theater. They all had heard the same scuttlebut re Rose's displeasure with Swit's replacing Cleo, but I never posted it because it was hearsay, and I know there are some Swit fans on the board. I was surprised to see that Riedel included it in his article.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-14 14:21:37



I had some colleagues who were quite close with many of the original cast, and they all have spoken to George's unbelievable disdain at Swit and her antics. But it wasn't only Rose... One of the original creatives went so far as to dubbing her a "total bitch" - saying she was a nightmare to work with -- his only solace being that once she was put into the show, he had nothing more to do with her.

Howard McGillin tells a hilarious (if now infamous) story of Swit's antics. He recalls that a couple of weeks into her run, Loretta was getting increasingly frustrated that she was never once selected as murderer. Not once! Most in the cast would chalk this up to her (lack of) performance as Puffer. However, Loretta was CONVINCED it was because she was not included in the pivotal dinner scene where the rest of the cast sing "No Good Can Come From Bad" and reveal their motives.

SO, she went to Wilford Leach and explained this theory to him - suggesting that if she only made an appearance in the scene -- say, Puffer glaring through the window in the set while the scene/song was going on -- she might be taken seriously as murderer. Wilford, being a sweet man who would rarely say 'no' to anyone, granted Loretta her wish -- knowing full well, that the area behind the window wasn't lit and NO ONE would see her...

So, the next performance comes and the cast is getting ready to begin the dinner scene, when Howard notices Loretta in the wings, getting ready to go behind the set. The cast sees this and rolls their eyes, knowing full well that she won't be seen.

It's at this moment that Howard sees Loretta pull out a flashlight and a massive lantern. The cunning Swit had found a workaround! So the dinner scene begins, and as their singing, there's Loretta, behind the window with the lantern and flashlight - grimacing up a storm, a la Bella Lugosi, attempting to upstage the rest of the cast and prove her penchant for murder!

Apparently, stage management quickly threatened to bring her up on charges with Equity and the flashlight antics quickly stopped. But after hearing this story (and many others) I can begin to appreciate why George threatened to walk!



THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Miranda3 2012-11-14 15:04:06


Bialy: Thanks for the info re Swit behind the scenes! I figured from the little I heard that something was going on but had no idea it was shenanigans like this. Funny that in the cast pic you posted both Rose and Joe Grifasi (playing Bazzard, I think) have their heads angled totally away from Swit's, who is like the cheese standing alone. But it's totally possible I am reading that in, based on your post! Thanks for the details.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by DAME 2012-11-14 18:36:16


Bialy.
That never happened. She was not very pleasant. But that incident never happened.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Bialyhoos22 2012-11-14 18:44:18


Dame -- I don't admit to being there myself but this came directly from Howard's mouth, with very little embellishment. McGillin isn't the type to tell tall tales out of school either.

Whether charges were filed is another matter and I imagine this part was more a 'button' for the story than anything else, but I don't see Howard's need to blatantly lie. He certainly wasn't trying to be overtly negative or spiteful of Loretta when he told it -- more amused/amazed by her behaviour than anything else!



THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by best12bars 2012-11-14 18:51:25


Love those photos, Bialyhoos22! Thanks for posting them.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by beaemma 2012-11-14 19:09:09


I saw DROOD three times with Cleo Laine, once with Swit, and can testify that the lurking at the window happened. As I recall, at the performance I saw, she made the appearance caressing a knife. She still wasn't chosen as murderer.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by DAME 2012-11-14 19:11:02


Well all I can tell you that as far as the part about her approaching Rupert and all that.. never happened. But she WAS a mess to deal with. And I agree.. Howard wouldn't make up stories.

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by Miranda3 2012-11-14 20:47:02


Double post.



THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by littlebro2 2012-12-04 23:36:52


Anyone heard of it extending, even one more week? I really hope so!!

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD Reviews
Posted by aaronb 2013-01-22 09:47:53


I wasn't a fan:

"Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is sixty years old and has run for over twenty five thousand performances—though the machine seems to be self-perpetuating, its legendary run inspiring new audiences to attend a work that is horribly dated and only vaguely entertaining. I make this point to emphasize my confusion at the current revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel that is self-consciously campy but seemingly unaware that the genre has been so for over a half century. With agonizing consistency, actors drop suspicious lines, jerk hammily at the audience with guilty or malicious faces while the orchestra farts out a trite, implicating musical chord. But the same thing was happening in London some forty years before the fall of Communism. Any director or writer who thinks Drood is bringing something fresh to the parlor mystery does not deserve a voice on Broadway."