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Review Roundup: JAWS-Inspired Musical BRUCE Opens at Seattle Rep

Review Roundup: JAWS-Inspired Musical BRUCE Opens at Seattle Rep

Read all of the critics' reviews for Bruce at Seattle Rep!

Review Roundup: JAWS-Inspired Musical BRUCE Opens at Seattle Rep

Bruce, the new musical based on Carl Gottlieb's The Jaws Log, a novel about the making of the iconic film, officially opened on June 8 at Seattle Rep, running through June 26.

In 1974, a young, unknown Steven Spielberg set out to film a best-selling novel.

Invading a sleepy fishing island off Cape Cod to shoot on the open ocean, he battled weather, water, hostile locals, an exploding budget, endless delays, and a highly dysfunctional mechanical star named Bruce.

Join us for a musical journey of perseverance, creativity, risk, and resilience that unleashed the hit film that would change American cinema forever. Based on the book The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb and featuring an entirely original score, Bruce is a world-premiere musical you can really sink your teeth into.

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Let's see what the critics are saying...

Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld: But beyond a fun bit of history, this musical manages to capture that tone and feeling of the intensity of the movie brilliantly with its largely sung through score and a relentless pace from director and choreographer Donna Feore. They have beautifully crafted the piece so that there are few breaks to catch your breath, similarly to how a good horror/action movie like "Jaws" would do, as the stakes in the piece keep getting higher and higher and the danger getting closer and closer like a giant shark barreling towards you.

Jerald Pierce, Seattle Times: Well, the show's title, "Bruce," seems to be actively pointing to the movie's biggest star and problem: the shark. Without it physically being there, the show felt like it waffled between whether or not it wanted to focus on it. In playwriting, there's this idea of a major dramatic question. What is that central question that's pulling us as an audience along? In "Jaws," it's basically, "Will Chief Brody save the town?" And you can potentially add in the idea of, "Will he kill the shark?" That one question takes you through the entire movie. I have no idea what that question is for "Bruce."

Misha Berson, Variety: So do we really need another account of the "Jaws" backstory? With songs? Richard Oberacker (who composed the score) and Robert Taylor (who penned the book and lyrics with Oberacker) clearly think so. They have framed "Bruce" as a hero's journey, but the mythic resonance they're reaching for proves elusive. By trying to cram in too many details of a long, shaggy saga, the busy show strains for uplift.

Michael Strangeways, Seattle Gay Scene: The songs are a problem...they're not memorable or very interesting. The only ones I can vaguely remember (I write this about 20 hours after seeing the production) are a song about Spielberg wanting "Final Cut" on his films (his 'wanting song' to use a musical theater term) which was modestly enjoyable mostly because of the charm of the actor singing it. Same goes for a song sung by the always charismatic E. Faye Butler playing the film's editor Verna Fields. I don't really remember the song; I just remember enjoying hearing Ms Butler sing it, even though it was one of the "gee, making a movie is hard" songs mostly featured in this show.


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