Finding Neverland at ART -- Reviews & Thoughts

jacobsnchz14
Broadway Legend
joined:12/13/06
Finding Neverland begins performances at ART on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Book by James Graham | Music and Lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy
Directed by Diane Paulus | Choreography by Mia Michaels
Based on the Miramax motion picture by David Magee and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J. M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, one of the most beloved stories of all time. Staged by A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus with music by U.K. pop sensation Gary Barlow (Take That) and choreography by Emmy Award-winner Mia Michaels ("So You Think You Can Dance"), this new musical explores the power of imagination to open up new worlds, and the pressures put upon those worlds by the inevitability of growing up. Finding Neverland is presented by the A.R.T. by special arrangement with Harvey Weinstein..
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Damn! I came online hoping someone here had seen it.

I don't go untl next weekend.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
emilyfaye48
Broadway Star
joined:3/19/09
I'm drooling, please tell me everything, someone. How was J. Hud? Amazing amiright?!
Without bread we'd just be hungry but without theatre we'd be dead
Broadwaystar2
Featured Actor
joined:9/4/13
J HUD is not in this.
djdan1079
Chorus Member
joined:3/20/12
I will be there for tonight's performance. Any other posters going to be in attendance? Tweet me @djdan1033.
CoreyRyan3
Stand-by
joined:5/2/13
I'm seeing this one week from today.
allyk
Stand-by
joined:4/25/05
I'm not seeing this until next Saturday (Aug. 2). Very curious, though. I've never seen the movie but it's on On Demand, so I guess I can watch it this weekend.
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
^That's when I'll be there! We can compare notes!


Neverland Article in the Boston Globe
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
matttaylorr021
Understudy
joined:10/21/13
Seeing it next Thursday. Very excited!
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Ally -- DON'T watch the movie! This way you will be able to experience the show as its own entity without any pre-conceived ideas. (I really like the movie, btw.)

I always think its interesting to see how opinions vary (on any adaptation) between those that have seen (or read) the original, and which have not.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Blockhead24
Broadway Legend
joined:8/20/09
broadwaystar..I'm pretty sure Emily was kidding.

Anyway, I can't wait to hear about this!
*formerly obsessedjb*

"Make up your mind you want clarity, take what you know and then make it make sense"-N2N
Tom theater rat
Swing
joined:5/15/07
Next Tuesday for me as well. Said I was not going to read anything before, but here I am....dying to know what you all think!
David2
Swing
joined:5/4/13
I have tickets for July 30th!! Dying for news on it.
djdan1079
Chorus Member
joined:3/20/12
Just got home from the first preview and will just give you a very brief overview of my thoughts. I will preface by saying that I never saw the movie and am unable to compare this to the source material.

The show just didn't work for me. Conceptually, it feels like there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen and they have not found a cohesive theme for the production. The moments that do work are when the show embraces the fantasy elements of the story. Towards the end of act one, we begin to see Barrie "create" Neverland in his head and the onstage transformation is when it feels like the show will finally hit it's stride. The act 1 finale fantasy sequence where he does battle with Captain Hook and the ship begins to come together is very well staged by Paulus. However, act 2 gets caught up in more Lifetime movie bland sentimentality about family and living in the moment.

POSSIBLE SPOILER HERE???

The act 2 sequence around Sylvia's death is probably the highlight of the show and the moment where I could hear a lot of sobbing around me. While I found the visual breathtaking, I was left emotionally cold as I don't think Jordan and Kelly have found their chemistry yet.

END SPOILER

The score has a couple of nice pop ballads that don't seem to fit the period of the piece or mesh well with the rest of the score. The book drags. A lot. Especially in act 1 where much time is wasted on characters that I didn't care about. Poor Carolee is completely wasted here as Sylvia's mother. Jeanna De Waal gets a lot of stage time in act 1 and disappears for the rest of the show.

We have a human actor portraying Barrie's dog in the show. I guess it would work if the show was a fantasy piece, but since it's somewhere it between, the concept just seems cheap and borderline embarrassing.

On a positive note? Jeremy Jordan, who I was afraid would be too young for the part, is wonderful and is doing his best with the material. The ensemble to the show is fantastic and gets many moments to shine and provide some of the show's biggest laughs.

Harvey Weinstein was in the audience taking notes on an Ipad tonight and if you believe the Riedel columns, has been incredibly hands on with the project. Maybe this is why there doesn't seem to be a cohesive vision for the show? Too many varying opinions?

Run time was just under 3 hours. There is much that could be cut. Curious to check back on the thread and see how this shakes out during the preview process. Personally, I'm not interested in seeing it again. It's just not my kind of show.

Big Fish did the family relationship/sappy sentimental thing way better. And Big Fish wasn't that great.
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
A person as the dog?! WTF. Terrible.

Also, is this source material that amazing? I haven't seen the movie or anything, but Weinstein seems to be super stuck on this being a thing.
CapnHook
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
Well, the source material is an multiple Oscar-nominated film with critical raves...so yes, I'd say one adjective that could describe it is "amazing." Even more "amazing," however, is the true story in which the film (and now musical) is based on.

I would also like to mention that the stage production of PETER PAN traditionally (and effectively) uses an actor in a dog costume. Djdan's opinion is that it was off-putting in the show (s)he saw tonight. Why jump to the assumption that it is a "terrible" idea right off the bat?
"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
--Aristotle
djdan1079
Chorus Member
joined:3/20/12
Capnhook- And that is why I said I understand why they thought a human in a dog costume would work. Peter Pan, as a show, embraces the fantasy of Peter Pan. The tone of Finding Neverland is different, which IMO, made it a bad choice.

I'm reading tweets tonight from people in attendance who seemed to love the show. So maybe as a straight, mid 30's male, I'm just not in the demographic. Those audience members clearly saw a different show than I did.

And such is the beauty of live theater. We all see something different.

RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
But, like they said, Peter Pan is a fantasy-based show. This show, for all I know, is going for realism. So to have an actor playing a dog, and then to have a scene with marital problems, etc. It just seems silly. Also, the original was of a different time. I just don't see that going over well.
CapnHook
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
How is Mia Michael's choreography?
"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
--Aristotle
gleek4114
Broadway Star
joined:5/24/13
Well even if it's a little rough right now, it was the first preview. I am hopeful for this show and I really want nothing but for it to succeed. I will (hopefully) be seeing it right before their run ends at ART, so I'll be interested to see what changes and almost certain cuts are made. How was the house? Pretty full? Also what did the audience think of it? And if possible can you post a song list?
Back Row
Understudy
joined:4/14/12
From what I could gather from talking to people who were walking out at the same time I did, DJDan's opinion is clearly an outlier. This was a thoroughly enjoyable, crowd pleasing show. Very well staged with some terrific performances. The staging was spectacular at times. (There were a number of moments that drew audible gasps from the crowd.) It stayed faithful enough to the source material so as not to alienate fans of the film, but it clearly stands on its own as a musical. Jordan was excellent, but Michael McGrath was a standout as well. And the dog was played by Thayne Jasperson, who showed himself to be a terrific physical comedian. One of the most enjoyable nights at the theater I've had in a long time.
VernonGersch
Broadway Star
joined:8/9/10
Seeing this in a few weeks. Looking forward
IdinaBellFoster
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/06
How was Laura Michelle Kelly? She's what I'm looking forward to the most.
"Oh look at the time, three more intelligent plays just closed and THE ADDAMS FAMILY made another million dollars" -Jackie Hoffman, Broadway.com Audience Awards
Back Row
Understudy
joined:4/14/12
She brought humor and spark to a role that could easily have been one dimensional in the hands of another actress. I thought she was perfect. And she sounded wonderful.
BD80
Swing
joined:4/22/14
I saw this in Leicester in the UK when it premiered and I hate to burst anyone's excitement but there's just no way there's a show in here that will wow anyone, or be a success in NY. Who is it supposed to appeal to? Not enough meat in it to appeal to adults and not fun enough to appeal to kids. It was sold them as a family show but kids around me were bored out of their minds.

I don't imagine some bland pop songs have helped matters. Some shows are just dead on arrival and this is one.

Also if Harvey Weinstein was sat near me with his iPad glowing away, I'd be really annoyed!
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Except nearly all (or perhaps it IS all) of the creative team has been replaced. From what I understand, this has almost no resemblance to what was seen in the UK.

Does that mean this will succeed? Of course not, but you can't judge THIS production by what you saw in the past.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.

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