Review Roundup: Robin Hood Musical HOOD at Dallas Theater Center - Updated!
Dallas Theater Center presents the world premiere of Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure, a new musical comedy written and directed by five-time Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane with music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn. The production runs through Sunday, August 6, at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre.
Nick Bailey plays Robin Hood alongside Broadway stars Alysha Umphress (Broadway's On the Town) as Meg and Ashley Park (Broadway's Sunday in the Park with George) as Marian. Completing the cast is Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company member Tiana Kaye Johnson (Electra, A Christmas Carol 2016, Dreamgirls) as Lady Jane; Billie Aken-Tyers as Much; Ricco Fajardo as Gamble Gold; Ian Ferguson as Alan A'Dale; Austin Scott as Sheriff Of Nottingham; Beth Lipton as Lady Anne; Luke Longacre (Inherit the Wind) as Little John; Chris Ramirez as Friar Tuck and Jacob ben Widmar as Will Scarlett.
The creative team of Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure includes set design by Tony Award-winner John Lee Beatty (MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical), costume design by Gregory Gale, sound design by Tony Award-winner John Shivers (MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical), lighting design by Philip Rosenberg (MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical), choreography by Joseph Pizzi and Robert Bianca, music direction and supervision by Brad Simmons, wig design by Tom Watson and puppet design by James Ortiz and Stefano Brancato.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Kyle Christopher West, BroadwayWorld: Another challenge is the dissonance between the show and DTC's marketing package for HOOD. The ads and even the Playbill cover suggest a modern, sexy spin on the story...a distant cry from what is currently onstage at the Wyly Theatre. While this is not a dig at actor Nick Bailey who dons the famous green hat, his subdued, grungy approach clashes with the face of the show as promoted. Bailey is more than serviceable as Hood, with his growling Adam Pascal-style vocals. His performance does occasionally suffer from an absence of charisma, which may simply be a consequence of the in-progress development of the new work.
Joe Leydon, Variety: ...every element of this spirited production feels infused with the sort of industrial-strength enthusiasm one normally associates with old movies...All of this may sound hokey, but the DTC staging makes it easy to be a believer. "Hood" comes down to us through the centuries...but this retelling has been smartly reconstituted for 21st-century sensibilities by librettist Douglas Carter Beane (who has directed the DTC production) and composer Lewis Finn...It's still the same old story, a fight for love and glory (and, yes, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor), but with some sharp new wrinkles...Beane's suitably merry, zinger-rich libretto is littered with wink-wink, self-aware contemporary references, but never sinks to off-putting snark. Finn's song score hits the sweet spot where country, traditional Broadway show tunes and decades of Top 40 radio converge.
Mark Lowry, Star-Telegram: Flinn's score...evokes folk, Celtic, and rock, with a higher percentage of memorable songs than we've heard from DTC's new musicals in the past decade...Bailey's and Park's chemistry is as comfy as two arrows in a quiver; they both relish these famous roles, with Bailey unafraid to embrace a goofy side, or to play second fiddle. It's a solid ensemble all around, bolstered by marvelous visuals and a concept that sticks with it through the end. With a story this famous, it's important to keep it fresh. "Hood" does that, and reminds us that a system-fighting outlaw/hero is always important - and that hero can be you as long as you speak out. Better yet, take action.
Nancy Churnin, Dallas News: Nick Bailey brings earnest charm to a member of the troupe who gets thrust into the role of the entitled Robert, the sheltered young Earl who flees to Sherwood Forest after tyrannical Prince John seizes his lands and threatens his life. There he pines for Marian (a witty and lyrical Ashley Park) and becomes aware, for the first time, of the suffering in the kingdom when he meets an old friend, now beggar, Meg (Alysha Umphress, who brings eloquent depth to pivotal songs) and takes pity on the desperate Much (a touching Billie Aken-Tyers).
Lindsey Wilson, CultureMap Dallas: As proved by the musical Wicked and numerous superhero movies, audiences love a good origin story. Dallas Theater Center is banking on that with its world premiere of Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure, which reveals how a spoiled young nobleman ended up the famous folk hero who steals from the rich to give to the poor. Centuries of the Robin Hood myth provide ample material for playwright Douglas Carter Beane, who gets to pepper his tale with satisfying touchstones...while adding modern oomph to a narrative that has already seen scores of interpretations. But that's Beane's storytelling sweet spot: taking something that seems forgettably familiar and pumping it full of new life.
Check back for more soon!