Review Roundup: BOOP! THE BETTY BOOP MUSICAL Opens Pre-Broadway Run in Chicago

The musical will run through December 24 before later transferring to Broadway.

By: Dec. 07, 2023
Review Roundup: BOOP! THE BETTY BOOP MUSICAL Opens Pre-Broadway Run in Chicago

Get ready for Betty! BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical has officially opened its pre-Broadway run in Chicago at the CIBC Theatre. The reviews are coming in now. Find out what the critics are saying about the show below!

Performances will run through December 24 only.

The cast is led by Jasmine Amy Rogers Mean Girls national tour) as the titular cartoon icon, Betty Boop, alongside Tony Award®-winner Faith Prince as Valentina (Guys and Dolls, “Monarch”), Ainsley Anthony Melham as Dwayne (Aladdin), Erich Bergen as Raymond (Jersey Boys, “Madam Secretary”), Stephen DeRosa as Grampy (“Boardwalk Empire”), Angelica Hale as Trisha (“America’s Got Talent” finalist), Phillip Huber (Being John Malkovich), and Anastacia McCleskey as Carol (Caroline or Change).

Read the reviews for BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical below!

Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune: Rogers, though, already is the complete Broadway package: a stellar vocalist for the lush score by David Foster and Susan Birkenhead, a subtle comedic natural when it comes to Bob Martin’s book and, above all, a warm-centered and vulnerable performer who humanizes the central character in a show that has yet to sufficiently surround her with sufficient truth for this director and choreographer’s signature emotional trajectory to achieve all it could. Mitchell is a talent scout of formidable talent and Rogers is a discovery neither he or Broadway will soon forget.

Hedy Weiss, WTTW: With an exuberant score by composer David Foster and lyricist Susan Birkenhead, and a book by Bob Martin (whose engaging concept could use a bit of tweaking in its opening scene), the show comes to life under director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, with Rogers, dressed in red, making the most of what is an unquestionably marathon-like role.

Catey Sullivan, Chicago Sun-Times: But while “Boop!” looks and sounds terrific, the plot purportedly driving the show is an overstuffed mess that defies logic, even for a story about a cartoon. It also treats its supporting characters like afterthoughts, which makes the subplots forgettable at best, laborious more often.

Frank Sennett, Chicago Culture Authority: What really makes this production sing is Jasmine Amy Rogers’ star-making turn as Boop, the Jazz Age cartoon character who suddenly finds herself transformed into a human woman in 2023 New York City. She’s funny, sweet, charismatic and has such a knockout vocal delivery that the show stopped for a sustained round of applause at the end of one number. I don’t know a better way to say this, so I’ll just share my feeling that if Betty Boop ever did turn into a real person, she’d likely act just like Rogers portrays her. The actor inhabits the part completely and creates a visceral connection with the audience. It’s quite a performance.

Mary Beth Euker, Northwest Herald: And most of all, the music of David Foster and lyrics of Susan Birkenhead are exhilarating and match the beauty of the meaning of the story. Rarely does a brand-new musical have the audience gasping and trying to sing along with tunes they’ve never even heard before, but that is the case with “Boop!” Notable songs are “She Knocks Me Out,” sung by Melham, and “Why Look Around the Corner,” a duet by Rogers and Melham. Take the A train, the flux capacitor or whatever you need to get to see this show before it leaves for Broadway. It’s rich in beauty, music, meaning and color – a true original.

Eddy "Precise" Lamarre, Rollingout: BOOP! is a production that is perfect for the entire family. Its universal appeal, heartwarming characters and seamless blend of music, acting and set design promise to captivate audiences of all ages. With the creative genius of its team — led by Mitchell and the exceptional talents of Rodgers and Hale — BOOP! is poised to take the world by storm.

Brian Heiggelke, New City Stage: The music by songwriting legend David Foster is propulsive, with a few hits (“Why Look Around the Corner”) and misses (“She Knocks Me Out”—though in fairness this song is probably better than the character who sings it). The cast is loaded with talent, most notably Tony winner Faith Prince, who plays Grampy’s love interest Valentina with mature sensuality, and Pudgy, the dog, who comes to life via legendary marionette artist Phillip Huber. But no one compares to Jasmine Amy Rogers, who is Betty Boop, from the voice to the mannerisms to the can-do spirit tempered by vulnerability. And can she dance and sing? Yes. A star is born again.

Karen Topham, Talkin' Broadway: Pre-Broadway tryouts are well-known for their creators' propensity to cut scenes, songs, and entire characters and plotlines, but I will be very disappointed if much is cut out of Boop!. (If anything is cut, it should be in the ridiculous political subplot of Act Two, though that would lessen or lose Bergen's wonderfully contemptible Raymond.) The show is not too long, it is entirely audience-pleasing, and it builds to a pair of 11:00 numbers that could well become classics: Betty's dynamic solo "Something to Shout About" and her dazzling duet with Dwayne, "Why Look Around the Corner," which is utterly adorable in addition to being spectacular. Both of these, like so much of the musical, highlight the amazing talent of Rogers, who should be a leading contender for next year's Tony for Best Actress in a Musical, which should be just one of many awards for this gloriously jubilant production. (It will be a crime if Hale is not nominated as well.) This is an absolutely sensational show; see it if it's at all possible, as it will likely be many years before it returns.

Andy Argyrakis, Chicago Concert Reviews: Truly, there’s no subject or circumstance where the practically fearless celebrity can’t lend advise and expertise, until of course they all wind up at a loss for words when the reality of her dual citizenship urgently sets in. But with some scientific tinkering and the huge hopes that can only come from places like the Big Apple or Windy City, there just might be a way to work it all out, and at the very least, allow anyone who walks through its doors to realize they’re “capable of amazing things,” which is exactly how it’s thus far looking for “Boop!” on Broadway.

Rachel Weinberg, BroadwayWorld: While Foster’s score is cohesive, that also means it’s mostly not memorable. One big exception is “Where I Wanna Be,” Betty’s bombastic act one closer. [...] BOOP! THE MUSICAL is a visual marvel. While I think Mitchell’s choreography still needs some refining, he infuses his signature big ensemble dance numbers into the show and lots of tap dancing. David Rockwell’s set makes New York City look cleaner, brighter, and more appealing than it ever has in real life.

To read more reviews and to share your own, click here!