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Ben Brantley calls "Never Gonna Dance" "an inoffensive, gracefully danced and pleasantly sung diversion, a quieter answer to the current revival of "42nd Street."

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Albin
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Ben Brantley calls#0
Posted: 12/4/03 at 10:11pm
Not exactly the train wreck every one thought it would be.
NY Times Review
Updated On: 12/4/03 at 10:11 PM
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Well, that was as nice as it got, yes. Definitely more of a pan than the title suggests.

-Wayne
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"Mr. Mitchell's choreography doesn't build from one emotional state to another, despite Lucky's initial pretended awkwardness. The same paradoxical sense of kinetic stasis pervades the show. A couple of numbers break the monotony, but overall, the individual dances aren't shaped to go anywhere or tell a story. They're mostly happy tap routines that could be inserted pretty much anywhere." NY Times

Sounds bad to me. Dance musical with bad choreography equals bad show.
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I just read a short thing on it in New York magazine and it didn't even mention Karen Ziemba. She'd be one of the main reasons I'd see the show...is she not one of the leads?
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BrdwyThtr
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Karen's role is more supporting. I think it got good enough reviews to last until at least Tony time.
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JohnPopa
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I can't imagine a positive statement about a show that makes me less interested in seeing it.
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Amen,JohnPoppa. The review makes the show sound like tepid summer stock. When I read reviews like these -- which vadlidate my own disinterest in this show -- I wonder what the producers were thinking. With MILLIE and 42nd STREET with us -- and neither selling out -- who thought B'way needed another period piece from that era? Devoid of stars or a true fresh spin? Who is the target audience for a remake of Astaire/Rogers? To me, it once again shows a complete lack of imagination and daring -- someone thinking "let's capitalize on the 20s/30's thing!"

Say what you will about the Rosie/TABOO thing -- the season's can of worms always to be reopened - it's a take on a decade we haven't -- yawn -- had way enough of.

By the way -- Brantley is, as usual, maddeningly all over the map. He says the leads are wonderful because they aren't show-offy and in your face like many other young stars (bald code for Sutton) ... then goes on to unbraid them for being bland.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
Updated On: 12/5/03 at 08:46 AM
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JohnPopa
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I'd take a mixed or even bad new, interesting show over a vanilla safe period rrevue any day of the week.
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"The director Michael Greif appears, for the most part, to have abdicated in favor of the choreographer, Jerry Mitchell, making it much more of a dance show than the movie was, with plenty of tap at the beginning and end. Unfortunately, Mitchell is a very limited choreographer. You needed someone who could create the same stage variations on the Astaire/Pan style that Jerome Robbins achieved in his ballet, 'I'm Old Fashioned.' Mitchell is not yet in that class. The performers are better than the staging"

Hmm couldn't say it better myself....cough-overrated-cough
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The show is, as I've said before, a show only your grandparents would like. It's boring to the extreme and the lead female cannot sing by anyone's standards. If anything, it's very "un"pleasantly sung. Brantley is a strange little man who acts like a one time, failed chorus girl who still resents the good singer's he's lost jobs to. His taste is "all over the map."
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In Brantley's defence, I must chime in and pose this thought:

Wouldn't his all-over-the-map reviews suggest shows that are all over the map? That is actually why I find his reviews useful. If the show isn't particularly coherent, or has widly varying elements to both praise and criticize, his reviews always reflect that.
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Hank
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Seems like for once, Branley's review seems to be in line with most all others. Faint praise seems to be the mode here.
I enjoyed Never Gonna Dance very much myself, but I must admit, I'm a die hard fan of these period pieces, (a "target").
But Auggie made a point: "with Millie and 42nd Street around" and now with Wonderful Town, NGD is gonna have a lot of competion.
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I guess I have to agree with Robbie. Often a "mixed" review reflects a very mixed evening. An appropriate report. Brantley has become the master of the back-door compliment, however. I think here he says "at least you're not trying to lap-dance me with your cuteness like Sutton Foster does ... but you ended up boring me, anyway..." To be fair, he does attribute much of the problem to the generically written roles.

"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
Updated On: 12/5/03 at 05:34 PM
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I saw a very early preview and was appalled at the show. Jokes fell flat as actors waited for laughs that never arrived, over and over again. The lead actor and actor had no chemistry whatever, but neither did anyone on that stage. Karen Ziemba was wasted in a nothing role, and one of the jokes she is supposed to deliver elicited the deadest of the evening's dead silences. The lead actor's voice was gone, he could barely hold a note. The score was the best thing about the show, that and the sets.

I know other people who saw performances after the one I saw who enjoyed the show, so I might just have had the bad luck to catch a particularly bad performance where everything went terribly wrong. But unless they've gotten an entirely new book, I don't know if the show can be saved.
"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." Thomas Pynchon, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Philip K. Dick My blog: http://www.roscoewrites.blogspot.com/
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