Review Roundup: Did Critics Have A Holly Jolly Christmas With RUBEN & CLAY?
Ruben Studdard And Clay Aiken join forces for Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show (aka "Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show"), the monumental, one-of-a-kind Holiday spectacular Broadway show opening tonight at the Imperial Theatre.
Audiences will see Ruben and Clay journey through a fusion of holiday music and entertainment featuring lighthearted comedy, astounding versatility and, as always, Ruben and Clay's magnetic stage presence. "American Idol's" fan favorite odd couple will give fans the reunion they have been asking for when the duo takes to the stage for this limited engagement holiday event. The extravaganza marks the first time Ruben and Clay have performed together on a national stage since their dramatic finale in 2003.
They are joined on stage by Farah Alvin, Ken Arpino, Julian Diaz-Granados, La'Nette Wallace, and Khaila Wilcoxon. This limited engagement continues through December 30th only.
Written by Ken Arpino and Jesse Joyce, Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show will be directed by Jonathan Tessero, with musical staging by Lisa Shriver and music direction by Ben Cohn. The design team includes Rob Bissinger(scenic), Paul Miller (lighting), James Brown III (costume), Bruce Landon Yauger (sound), andJason Lee Courson (projection design).
Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times: This, mind you, is all in the zippy first act, and how much better the production would have been had it ended there. Unfortunately, it backloads all the sentimental stuff after intermission, and has a tougher time dealing with the reflective, spiritual side of the holidays than it did with the light, fun one (even if Mr. Studdard's tribute to his late brother is quietly affecting). When even a group rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" sounds a little wan, you know it's time to move on to the new year.
Greg Evans, Deadline: Loaded with Christmas songs both religious and secular (the duo sing together, solo and with a quintet of fresh-faced and strong-voiced backers), Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, opening tonight, pads the proceedings with intentionally cheesy sketch comedy, corny banter and, more successfully, thoughtful personal nostalgia.
Michael Sommers, New York Stage Review: Anybody who wondered "Ruben and Clay who?" can safely skip this unpretentious attraction, which appears exclusively aimed to please these gentlemen's admirers.
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: The show, whose full title is Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show (that's the last time I'll be mentioning it, since I don't get paid by the word), attempts to recreate the spirit of vintage television variety specials. Given that it captures the cheesiness of such endeavors, the evening, featuring high school-worthy production values, accomplishes its apparent goal. It even begins with a video of a Star Wars-style crawl, which brings back memories not of the film series but rather its infamous offshoot, the Star Wars Holiday Special.