Review Roundup: Critics Check-In at Encores! GRAND HOTEL
Encores! is back for round two! The second production of this season is Grand Hotel, directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes, featuring music direction by Encores! Music Director Rob Berman. Grand Hotel, The Musical will run for seven performances at New York City Center from March 21 - 25. The Encores! at 25 season concludes with Me and My Girl (May 9 - 13). Let's see what the critics had to say!
The star-studded cast includes Junior Cervila, John Clay III, Natascia Diaz, John Dossett, Irina Dvorovenko, Guadalupe Garcia, Nehal Joshi, James T. Lane, Jamie LaVerdiere, Eric Leviton, Robert Montano, Kevin Pariseau, William Ryall, James Snyder, Brandon Uranowitz, Daniel Yearwood, and Helene Yorke. The ensemble includes Aaron J. Albano, Matt Bauman, Kate Chapman, Sara Esty, Hannah Florence, Richard Gatta, Emily Kelly, Andrew Kruep, Kelly Methven, Harris Milgrim, Adam Roberts, Christopher Trepinski, and Sharrod Williams.
Inspired by Vicki Baum's 1929 novel, Grand Hotel, The Musical intertwines the lives of a cast of eccentric characters through a series of fateful encounters. Whirling through the doors of the opulent Grand Hotel are faded ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya (Irina Dvorovenko); the impoverished romantic Baron Felix von Gaigern (James Snyder); fatally ill bookkeeper Otto Kringelein (Brandon Uranowitz); and Flaemmchen (Stephanie Styles), a young secretary who is all too eager to become an American film star. Originally produced under the title At the Grand (1958), with a score by Robert Wrightand George Forrest and book by Luther Davis, the production was revitalized in 1989 by director-choreographer Tommy Tune, with additional music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, for a Tony Award-winning run on Broadway.
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: "Grand Hotel" might seem an odd choice for Encores!, which began its life 25 years ago under the rubric of "Great American Musicals in Concert." In theory, at least, it's not what you see that counts most at Encores!, but what you hear - preferably some gorgeous, neglected and impeccably performed score of yesteryear.
Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter: Cast any worries aside. This production directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes is a triumph. It could be moved lock, stock and barrel to Broadway tomorrow. Cast aside, too, any quibbles you may have heard from musical theater devotees carping about the lack of star power in the new staging. The original production itself featured an ensemble with no big names, unless you count a then relatively unknown Jane Krakowski.
Mark Shenton, The Stage: It's a plot ripe with melodrama and amplified emotions, but composer/lyricists Robert Wright, George Forrest and Maury Yeston supply surging melodies that perfectly complement it. As rendered here to the sumptuous accompaniment of an onstage orchestra under the baton of regular Encores! MD Rob Berman, it is simply gorgeous. A cast of sublime Broadway performers give the show emotional and vocal heft. James Snyder's Baron has an impressive tenor, and there's a really lovely performance from Brandon Uranowitz as a dying Jewish bookkeeper, determined to get a taste of life, at last.