Review Roundup: DEATH BECOMES HER Opens Pre-Broadway Run in Chicago

The production will begin Broadway previews on Wednesday, October 23, 2024, and officially open on Thursday, November 21, 2024 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

By: May. 20, 2024
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Review Roundup: DEATH BECOMES HER Opens Pre-Broadway Run in Chicago
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The world premiere pre-Broadway production of DEATH BECOMES HER officially opened this weekend at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre. 

Madeline Ashton is the most beautiful actress (just ask her) ever to grace the stage and screen. Helen Sharp is the long-suffering author (just ask her) who lives in her shadow. They have always been the best of frenemies… until Madeline steals Helen’s fiancé away. As Helen plots revenge and Madeline clings to her rapidly fading star, their world is suddenly turned upside down by Viola Van Horn, a mysterious woman with a secret that’s to die for.

Starring Tony Award nominees Megan Hilty (Wicked, “Smash”), Jennifer Simard (Company, Disaster!), Christopher Sieber (Spamalot, Company), and Grammy® Award winner Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child, Chicago), DEATH BECOMES HER, based on the classic 1992 film, is a drop-dead hilarious new musical comedy about friendship, love, and burying the hatchet…again, and again, and again.

Read the reviews below and be sure to check back for more here as more reviews come in!

Review Roundup: DEATH BECOMES HER Opens Pre-Broadway Run in Chicago Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: This clever show was written by Marco Pennette and directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, and features music and lyrics from the very talented newcomer team of Julia Mattison and Noel Carey. It has some crowd-pleasing strengths, including a genuinely funny book, a swirling, retro, filmic score that features a knockout two-pronged 11 o’clock number for Hilty and Simard, and its best numbers put you in mind of Burt Bacharach and John Barry (no Ingrid Michaelson-like experiments here to confound future Tony Award nominators). There’s a lush physical production from set designer Derek McLane in an old school, drape-heavy “Producers”-like mode and a stellar cast. (Most unusually for this size of Broadway musical, there are just four designated principal roles, so the talented members of the ensemble surely earn their paychecks.) But there’s much work to be done overall if the show is to appeal to people who don’t have prior affection for the source.

Review Roundup: DEATH BECOMES HER Opens Pre-Broadway Run in Chicago Misha Davenport, BroadwayWorld: Some work is needed before the Broadway opening, though. Given the show features two antagonists who cannot die (and are thus, are without end,) the show fizzles out. “There is No Finale” (the show’s final number) is a bit too on the nose. It’s a funny sentiment, but it leaves you wishing for something bigger and grander.  

Review Roundup: DEATH BECOMES HER Opens Pre-Broadway Run in Chicago Chris Stack, The Gold Knight: Act one was pretty bullet-proof. Tight pacing, hilarious dialogue, and they nail the big moments. It ends with the stairs (which is staged BRILLIANTLY) and I was very satisfied during intermission. Special shout out to the writers for ridding of the infamous fat-shaming suit bit with Goldie Hawn in the movie too. I really like the direction they took with Helen’s downfall. Act two definitely needs some tweaking before Broadway.

Review Roundup: DEATH BECOMES HER Opens Pre-Broadway Run in Chicago Steven Oxman, Variety: This is without question an entertaining show that knows exactly what it is and delivers, and that, appealingly, possesses a joie de vivre that accompanies its deathly black humor. But the genre of the broadly comic adult musical has seen more commercial underperformers (e.g., “Shucked,” “Escape to Margaritaville,” “Honeymoon in Vegas”) than hits (e.g. “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Book of Mormon”). The stellar star-turns should make an initial difference – Hilty and Simard are genuinely phenomenal here – and continued sharpening of the emotional undercurrents could make a more lasting impression as long as the camp appeal doesn’t collapse from too much caring.


Average Rating: 67.5%


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