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Review Roundup: Cirque du Soleil's PARAMOUR Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!

Tonight, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical celebrates the opening of Cirque du Soleil - PARAMOUR, the organization's first show created specifically for Broadway at Lyric Theatre. The show also marks the first production of the 2016-17 Broadway season.

PARAMOUR features Jeremy Kushnier as A.J., the director; Ruby Lewis as Indigo, the starlet; and Ryan Vona as Joey, the composer.

The cast also includes Bret Shuford, Sarah Meahl, Kat Cunning,Tom Ammirati, Chelsey Arce, Andrew Atherton, Kevin Atherton, Lee Brearley, Yanelis Brooks, Samuel William Charlton, Martin Charrat, Nate Cooper, Myriam Deraiche, Kyle Driggs, Jeremias Faganel, Amber Brooke Fulljames, Steven Trumon Gray, Tomasz Jadach, Rafal Kaszubowski, Justin Keats, Reed Kelly, Denis Kibenko, Joe McAdam, Raven McRae, Amber J. Merrick, Sheridan Mouawad, Amber Pickens, Justin Prescott, Fletcher Blair Sanchez, Matthieu Sennacherib, Blakely Slaybaugh, Sam Softich, Amiel Soicher, Amber van Wijk, Bruce Weber, Tomasz Wilkosz, Zhengqi Xia (Da Qi).

Under the artistic guidance of Jean-François Bouchard (creative guide and creative director), PARAMOUR is directed by French stage director and choreographer Philippe Decouflé.

Let's check out what the critics had to say...

Charles Isherwood, New York Times: Welcome to "Paramour," or as I like to call it, "A.D.H.D.! The Musical." The production, which opened on Wednesday at the Lyric Theater, represents the latest attempt by the French Canadian entertainment behemoth Cirque du Soleil to make a big splash in New York. This time the company, having failed to wow the local masses sufficiently with its traditional nouveau-circus spectacles, has decided to splice the time-tested yowza diversions - acrobats and gymnasts and jugglers, oh my! - into a traditional musical, with a plot, characters, show tunes and even a little tap-dancing.

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: ...their latest effort attempts to combine Cirque's trademark acrobatic acts with an original Broadway musical. Unfortunately, the resulting hybrid, Paramour, is more Frankenstein's monster than love child...The $25 million production is a traditionally-styled Broadway musical, albeit a very mediocre one, infused with the sort of acrobatic routines normally seen under a big top...And so it goes throughout melodramatic proceedings in which the humor is largely unintentional...Granted, audiences going to a Cirque du Soleil show expect extravagant acrobatics. But the creators of Paramour - tellingly, no writer is credited - seem to have gone out of their way to produce as banal and generic a musical as possible. Featuring atrocious dialogue and forgettable songs, it feels more like a parody than the real thing...The show does have some imaginative, thrilling sequences...Kushnier delivers a thoroughly professional performance in his thankless role, and Lewis and Vona are both appealing....

Jeremy Gerard, Deadline: ...this is the show with which the Montreal-based global franchise plants its standard on Broadway, promising - and, in spades, delivering - a mashup of 42nd Street backstage romance, non-stop Ziegfeld folly and Cirque's brand of acrobatic arts...It's as eye-popping as Christmas at Radio City Music Hall, if not quite as intimate or touching....We've come for the visuals and while it's doubtful that Paramour audiences will come away disappointed in that department, they may wonder why that annoying story kept stopping the action dead in its computer-assisted tracks...did I mention the horrible music? Well, with Cirque that's a given.

Robert Kahn, NBC New York: ...The $25 million "Paramour" goes heavy on the company's signature stunt sequences to our relief, because there isn't much to be extracted from the often eye-glazing book and score..."Paramour" earns props for the ways it employs aerialists and acrobats as doppelgängers for the leads. Thanks to clever costuming conceits, we almost believe we're watching the trio in some blur of elastic trickery...Kushnier...makes the most of his cliché-ridden role, exuding confidence and hubris as needed. Lewis...has a beautiful voice and gamely follows the worn path laid out ahead.

Robert Greskovic, The Wall Street Journal: This week, after numerous, internationally popular productions, the enterprise now called Cirque du Soleil Theatrical opened "Paramour," the first musical created by Cirque Du Soleil for Broadway...only the circus acts soar, sometimes literally, as the show's musical and film elements play, at best, dutiful and uninspired parts...The undistinguished and overamplified...Jeremy Kushnier, looking and sounding mostly mousey, plays AJ, a bearded, wax-mustached, egotistical film director. Ruby Lewis-wide of face, short of neck and plain of voice-portrays Indigo...The Golden Age of Hollywood invoked in the program and in the art-deco look of Jean Rabasse's sometimes impressive settings dims noticeably when projection designers Olivier Simola and Christophe Waksmann add video images to the stage pictures....Daphné Mauger's choreography for the various ensembles and for the leads serves as little more than filler throughout....

Jesse Green, Vulture: Paramour's idea of the Broadway musical is particularly disturbing, evincing as it does only the skimpiest knowledge of the form. If we broadly describe a musical as an entertainment that offers a story about characters through song, we have already raised the bar too high. What Paramour offers is more of a series of clichés about humanoids accompanied by sounds. The main cliché is the one that glorifies Old Timey Hollywood as a land of tragic romance and glittering sophistication. ("Welcome to the Golden Age / Tux and tales [sic] it's all the rage," the opening number helpfully explains.)

Jesse Oxfeld, Entertainment Weekly: About 45 minutes into Paramour, the Cirque du Soleil musical that opens at Broadway's Lyric Theatre tonight, the twin aerialists Andrew and Kevin Atherton are suspended over a stage set of what's supposed to be a movie set of Ancient Egypt. They're a striking pair: platinum blond, lantern-jawed, impossibly toned, and mirror images, each hanging from a strap and effortlessly contorting himself, dozens of feet above the stage. It's the sort of breathtaking, beautiful athleticism you expect from Cirque du Soleil, and it's thrilling. The audience is rapt. At the end of their number, the Atherton twins get the evening's biggest applause.

J. Kelly Nestruck, Globe and Mail: Cirque du Soleil's Paramour is crashing and burning on Broadway - and there's no point in calling the paramedics. No team of show doctors could cure this bafflingly bad show set in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Matt Windman, amNY: All things considered, "Paramour" is a lame, harmless alternative for international tourists who want to see a Broadway show but would prefer something with the Cirque du Soleil imprimatur than a long-running hit like "Chicago," "The Lion King" or "The Phantom of the Opera." Frankly, I think they can do better.

Robert Feldberg, Bergen Record: About an hour in, it's as though somebody said let's push this Broadway musical stuff aside, and there's an abrupt shift of emphasis to the circus acts, beginning with a stunning routine by twins Andrew and Kevin Atherton, who perform an aerial pas de deux while hanging onto straps.

Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld: There's no shortage of thrills and amazement to be enjoyed by their latest assemblage of remarkable artists who tumble in the air, swing on straps, balance onto each other and perform gasp-worth feats of strength and muscle control. However, PARAMOUR is a venture presented by the company's theatrical enterprise in an attempt to create a new and original book-and-score Broadway musical that incorporates their regular ensemble of performers into the story.

Alexis Soloski, Guardian: Fitfully thrilling and consistently baffling, Paramour - Cirque du Soleil's first attempt at a Broadway book musical - is the story of a young singer torn between the megalomaniacal director, who wants to make her his star, and the tender songwriter, who wants to make her his muse. Or perhaps it's a parable of forbidden love as enacted by shirtless twins in an erotic aerial pas de deux. Or maybe it's a wacky caper comedy with a culminating chase scene performed atop a giant trampoline. Honestly, it's hard to tell.

Mark Kennedy: Associated Press: The first signal you get that "Paramour" is no ordinary Broadway show is the size of the playbill. It's a monster, easily dwarfing the regular booklets you get handed at every other theater. That makes sense. "Paramour" wants to be different, outsized and brash. It's the first Cirque du Soleil show created specifically for Broadway, harnessing its muscular gravity-avoiding acrobats to musical theater. The result, which opened Wednesday at the Lyric Theatre, is sometimes overstuffed and awkward but always finds its footing when it highlights its soaring, rubber-bodied stars.

Photo by Richard Termine

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