Review Roundup: Morrissey Makes His Broadway Debut! See What The Critics Had To Say
Morrissey hit Broadway for the first time in his career playing a retrospective show at New York City's hallowed Lunt-Fontanne Theater.
The affair will run for seven days through May 11th and promises an intimate yet exciting exploration of Morrissey's expansive career from his early days to his upcoming new record 'California Son': a collection of 1960/70s classic covers out on May 24th via Étienne Records/BMG.
Another milestone in an already storied career, longtime fans of Moz will get a rare opportunity to see the star branch out into new territory and take the stage like never before.
Morrissey is an English singer, songwriter, and author. He became known in the 1980s as the frontman of rock band the Smiths, and has since pursued a solo career. In 1988, Morrissey launched his solo career with Viva Hate, as well as follow-up albums Kill Uncle, Your Arsenal, and Vauxhall and I. In the mid-to-late 1990s, his albums Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted charted but were less well-received.
Morrissey began a hiatus in 1998, and re-emerged in 2004 with the success of his comeback album, You Are the Quarry. In the following years, he released albums Ringleader of the Tormentors, Years of Refusal, World Peace Is None of Your Business, and Low in High School, as well as an autobiography and a novel.
Jon Pareles, The New York Times: But he didn't offer a radically scaled-down, quasi-confessional performance like "Springsteen on Broadway" (even though, like Springsteen, he has written an autobiography, titled "Autobiography"). It was, instead, the kind of concert he has been playing on tour through the decades: loud, tuneful, impeccably sung and aimed toward the rafters. He brought his band (including his frequent songwriting collaborator, the guitarist Boz Boorer), a video screen, strobe lights and smoke. He let the songs speak (and mope and sneer) for themselves - a relief, given his cranky, troll-like public pronouncements.
Glenn Gamboa, Newsday: In fact, the night's best moments came when they strayed from the beloved text. The new thunderous ending of "How Soon Is Now?" fit nicely with Morrissey's angrier-than-usual delivery of the club anthem. It was now a warning about wasting time punctuated by pounding drums, rather than an ethereal, echoing-guitar moment that vanished into the night. And when he slipped bits of the Italian classic "Quando, Quando, Quando" into the already-beautiful "Everyday Is Like Sunday," it was a lovely moment. He also offered his take on The Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang," introducing the Chrissie Hynde classic as a song "written by one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th Century."
Greg Evans, Deadline: Without making any obvious modifications for the Broadway stage - no storytelling, no Springsteen On Broadway autobiography, certainly no jukebox musical narrative through lines - Morrissey presented a concert well-suited to the intimate (relatively speaking) venue. He shook hands with the front row, accepted a couple gifts from fans, cracked a joke or two and even started the show with a quickly abandoned "they say the neon lights are bright" snippet from "On Broadway."
Kory Grow, Rolling Stone: There was no kick line, no Springsteen on Broadway-style song explainers, no surplus razzle-dazzle. And none of this is a bad thing. Despite an embarrassingly spotty track record for canceling gigs, when Morrissey does stage a concert, he milks all of his inherent self-deprecation for what it's worth, and that's exactly what his fans want. Since he was playing to a smaller room than usual - the sold-out Lunt-Fontanne seats around 1,500 - the performance felt more intimate than his shows in recent years at Madison Square Garden or even the Brooklyn Academy Of Music. (It's worth no
Jem Aswad, Variety: Clad in black jeans, a black tuxedo jacket, a ripped Morrissey t-shirt (bearing the words "It's over") and a rosary, he ambled around the stage in his trademark shambolic fashion, flipping the mic cord and embellishing the songs with comic grunts and grumbles. He peppered his between-song banter with characteristic cryptic quips - "You never know, you might make it to the end"; "The roar of greasepaint, the smell of the crowd" - and thankfully no politically questionable or off-color remarks.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus