Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
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!
Regional Awards

Related Stories

From This Author - Review Roundups


Review Roundup: THIS BEAUTIFUL FUTURE at Cherry Lane TheatreReview Roundup: THIS BEAUTIFUL FUTURE at Cherry Lane Theatre
September 21, 2022

Written by Rita Kalnejais and directed by Jack Serio, This Beautiful Future is a story of young love set during World War II. This Beautiful Future will now play Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street, Manhattan) for six weeks only, through October 30, 2022. Let's see what the critics had to say...

Review Roundup: JAGGED LITTLE PILL on Tour; Read All of the Reviews!Review Roundup: JAGGED LITTLE PILL on Tour; Read All of the Reviews!
September 21, 2022

The National Tour of Jagged Little Pill is now underway! The tour opened in Las Vegas on September 6. Read all of the reviews for Jagged Little Pill on tour.

Review Roundup: REMEMBER THIS: THE LESSON JAN KARSKI at Theatre for a New AudienceReview Roundup: REMEMBER THIS: THE LESSON JAN KARSKI at Theatre for a New Audience
September 16, 2022

Theatre for a New Audience is presenting Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, by Clark Young and Derek Goldman, directed by Goldman, and starring David Strathairn (Nightmare Alley; Nomadland; Good Night, and Good Luck), now October 9, 2022. Read the reviews here!

Review Roundup: LOS OTROS Off-Broadway- What Did the Critics Think?Review Roundup: LOS OTROS Off-Broadway- What Did the Critics Think?
September 1, 2022

The New York premiere production of Los Otros, a musical in one act with book & lyrics by Tony Award nominee Ellen Fitzhugh (Grind, Paradise Found) and music by five-time Tony Award nominee Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party, Giant) just opened at A.R.T./New York Theatres - Mezzanine Theatre. Let's see what the critics had to say...

Review Roundup: ONCE UPON A (KOREAN) TIME at Ma-Yi Theater Company - What Did the Critics Think?Review Roundup: ONCE UPON A (KOREAN) TIME at Ma-Yi Theater Company - What Did the Critics Think?
September 1, 2022

Ma-Yi Theater Company is presenting the world premiere of Daniel K. Isaac's ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME. Directed by Obie-winner Ralph B. Peña, Isaac's epic new play mixes traditional Korean fables with the horrors of the Korean War. ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME runs through September 18, 2022, at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre. Read the reviews here!