Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think?

The world premiere production opened on March 10 and runs through Sunday, April 7 only.

By: Mar. 11, 2024
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Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think?
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Audible Theater’s world premiere production of Dead Outlaw officially opened last night, March 10.

Reuniting the team behind The Band's Visit, Dead Outlaw features music & lyrics by Tony Award winner David Yazbek and Erik Della Penna, book by Tony Award winner Itamar Moses, conceived by David Yazbek, and directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer.

Dead Outlaw’s cast features Jeb Brown, Eddie Cooper, Andrew Durand, Dashiell Eaves, Julia Knitel, Ken Marks, Trent Saunders, and Thom Sesma. Understudies include Emily Fink, Austin Ku, George Merrick, and Max Sangerman. 

The musical will also be recorded and released on Audible at a later date, with further details to be announced.

The reviews are rolling in and have been overwhelmingly positive so far, including a Critics' Pick from The New York Times. Find out what the critics think of Dead Outlaw below!

Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think? Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times: It would be easy to exploit Elmer’s story, to play it entirely for laughs. “Dead Outlaw” has lots of those, as well as a healthy sense of absurdity. But if it forgot Elmer’s humanity — and it never does — it would lose its soul.

Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think? Sara Holdren, Vulture: What Moses, Yazbek and Della Penna, and Cromer are doing is both unearthing stories that have been, for one reason or another, buried in dust and pondering the cultural forces that shaped these strange tales of striving. Everything has a politics, and Dead Outlaw doesn’t have to spell out its skepticism of the American mythos. Underneath the bizarre facts of Elmer McCurdy’s story lie our national drive to turn everything into a product; the brutal division of people into either successes or suckers; the glamorizing of violence and individualism; the moral bankruptness, aimlessness, hopelessness, aggression, and gullibility behind the cowboy façade.

Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think? Deb Miller, DC Theater Arts: A blockbuster cast of eight and a powerhouse five-piece band deliver it with full-blown mastery and full-out commitment, with not a single weak link among them, as they transition fluidly from scene to scene, character to character, gallows humor to tragic pathos, sensitive ballad to psychobilly and country-western to Vegas lounge-act musical stylings.

Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think? Amelia Merrill, New York Theatre Guide: Despite the hook, Dead Outlaw can’t sustain itself for long. Promising subplots fizzle out within minutes. The dramatic effect of lighting tricks from designer Heather Gilbert dampens with constant use. Durand’s mummy poses become distracting as the poor man stands rigid onstage for ages, clasping a rifle and likely exerting as much energy as the players singing and dancing around him.

Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think? Steven Suskin, New York Stage Review: Dead Outlaw is one of those unthinkably unwieldy-sounding ideas that turns out—in the right hands—to make a rip-roarin’ bullseye of a new-style musical. A wider stage space, and a larger house where the excellent band can be modulated, will make it even better. Scattered seats are still available for the already extended run, if you act quick. We’ll look forward to seeing the show again, hopefully with this cast and band, in its next guise.

Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think? Elysa Gardner, New York Sun: Yet however moved you may be by the social commentary or softer moments contained in “Dead Outlaw,” the show’s boisterous, irrepressible irreverence toward that bleakest of subjects is its main selling point. In a catchy romp titled simply “Dead,” Messrs. Brown and Della Penna giddily sing, “Your mama’s dead/Your daddy’s dead/Whole family’s dead/And so are you” — and then proceed, in their first round and in reprises sprinkled through the show, to cite famous figures ranging from Balzac to Abe Lincoln to Glenn Gould and Tupac Shakur, eventually nodding to living celebrities, just for the heck of it.

Review Roundup: DEAD OUTLAW at the Audible Theater; What Did the Critics Think?
Average Rating: 78.3%


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