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Review Roundup: Critics Sound Off On Pre-Broadway LEMPICKA at La Jolla Playhouse

Review Roundup: Critics Sound Off On Pre-Broadway LEMPICKA at La Jolla Playhouse

Lempicka will be running at La Jolla Playhouse through July 24.

La Jolla Playhouse's pre-Broadway production of Lempicka, the sweeping new musical celebrating the gripping true story of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka celebrated its opening night this weekend.

Lempicka is directed by Tony Award-winner Rachel Chavkin, with lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, music by Matt Gould, orchestrations by Cian McCarthy, and choreography from Raja Feather Kelly. The West Coast premiere at the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse (Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley, Artistic Director) opened last night and will play through July 24, prior to its Broadway run.

Amidst the violence of the Russian Revolution, a young painter named Tamara de Lempicka and her aristocrat husband are forced to abandon their luxurious lifestyle and flee to the dubious safety of Paris. Relying on her raw talent and relentless ambition, Tamara claws her way from penniless refugee to in-demand portraitist, earning a place among Parisian high society. Her world is upended once again when she meets Rafaela, a free spirit from the city slums, who introduces Tamara to a new world of decadence and passion. Torn between her new muse and her husband, fighting to leave her mark on an ever-changing world, Tamara must discover the depths of her own strength to survive.

Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.

The creative team for Lempicka includes Tony Award nominee Riccardo Hernandez (scenic design), Drama Desk Award winner Anita Yavich (costume design), two-time Tony Award winner Bradley King (lighting design), Tony Award winner Nevin Steinberg (sound design), Cian McCarthy (orchestrations), Remy Kurs (music supervision), and Peter Duchan (creative consultant).

Let's see what the critics had to say!

Pam Kragen, San Diego Tribune: The show's physical production (art deco scenery by Riccardo Hernandez, neonlike lighting by Bradley King, projections by Peter Nigrini and costumes by Anita Yavich) is dazzling. The ever-spinning turntable stage features fast-shifting angled scenery walls that serve to highlight the most elaborate projection design I've ever seen, featuring old Nazi and Bolshevik photos and newsreels, images of 1920s Paris and some of Lempicka's sensuous paintings and sketches.

Pat Launer, Times Of San Diego: But with nearly three hours at a frenzied, feverish pace, the show could use more revising, condensing - and heart. And far more depth of character. Right now, the piece has the cold, hard surface of her paintings. Perhaps that's intentional, but it keeps us at an emotional remove.

E.H. Reiter, BroadwayWorld: Espinosa as Lempicka is bold, with fantastic vocals, sharp focus, and the ability to make this woman feel both like a detached observer who creates art, a possessive if emotionally obtuse mother/wife/lover, but also someone who feels deeply. Directed by Rachel Chavkin and with choreography by Raja Feather Kelly the show is dynamic and exciting, with lots of bold music, innovative staging, gorgeous costumes and projections, and powerhouse vocals.

To read more reviews, click here!
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