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Flying Over Sunset Broadway Reviews

FLYING OVER SUNSET Broadway Reviews

CRITICS RATING:
6.47
READERS RATING:
6.47
Rate Flying Over Sunset

Set in the 1950's, Flying Over Sunset is a work of fiction inspired by the lives of three extraordinary and accomplished people - writer Aldous Huxley; playwright, diplomat, and congresswoman, Clare Boothe Luce; and film legend Cary Grant  - each of whom in real life experimented with the drug LSD. At a crossroads in their lives the three come together, and under the influence of the drug, take a trip and confront the mysteries of their lives and their world.

Critics' Reviews

8

FLYING OVER SUNSET: A LONG, STRANGE, BEAUTIFUL TRIP

From: New York Stage Review | By: Elysa Gardner | Date: 12/13/2021

It's the 1950s, and after taking LSD for the first time, the movie legend and one-time vaudevillian is getting psychically re-acquainted with his much younger self through song and tap dance. The tune is impressively catchy, and the routine, as choreographed by Michelle Dorrance and executed by Yazbeck and Ware, is so exhilarating that you may feel chemically enhanced just watching it. I'd love to report that Sunset sustains that high for its roughly two and a half hours, but this long, strange trip-featuring a book by James Lapine, who also directs, music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Michael Korie-is ultimately an uneven one.

8

REVIEWFLYING OVER SUNSET Review: ‘Flying Over Sunset’ pushes back on convention

From: Broadway News | By: Charles Isherwood | Date: 12/13/2021

A musical that pushes against the traditional notions of what a Broadway musical might or should be. It's a trip some won't be willing to take, but in an environment when musicals seem to fall into just a few dreary formulas - in addition to the jukebox, there's the seasonal movie-to-stage transfer - it's a valiant and intriguing journey into uncharted territory. This musical attempts to expand the possibilities of musical theater, just as its characters were intent on expanding their consciousnesses.

Much of Act II feels like retread, repeating the themes and conflicts set forth in the first act without much expansion. Overlong and occasionally (but only occasionally) a bit tedious, the last third of the show loses its way. There's some Freudian demon-facing, a lot of long-delayed (and fairly pat) self-acceptance and, in the case of the short-shrifted Gerald, a bit of ascendant fighting spirit, but for all the talk of communal experience and shared enlightenment, Flying Over Sunset just can't quite figure out what these characters ultimately mean to, or do for, one another. They certainly make for smart and pleasant company, and there's not a weak link in the cast, but one can easily imagine the characters' individual psychic breakthroughs occurring without any crossing of paths. Their inward journeys are just that - inward, solo - and though it's nice to trip in friendly environs, the human connections that would provide Flying Over Sunset its emotional payoff never quite land.

If you don't do recreational drugs but your friends do, you know the feeling. Everyone around you has smoked, snorted, dropped or injected something, and they're all having a great time. They all think the conversation they're having about a light bulb is fascinating. You, on the other hand, know they're talking nonsense. They're all on drugs. They're boring.You can replicate that feeling by seeing the new musical "Flying Over Sunset," which opened Monday at LCT's Vivian Beaumont Theater. Or, to put it more precisely, you can see the second act of this 160-minute musical.

There are certainly some highlights in "Flying Over Sunset," chief among them Tony Yazbeck's phenomenal dancing as Cary Grant, accompanied step by step by 14-year-old newcomer Atticus Ware as his younger self. The choreographer, Michelle Dorrance, was a star performer in Stomp, and we hear the influence. The rest of the cast is also first-rate. However, after sitting through the nearly three hours of this unique fusion of high-minded spiritual contemplation, gossipy biographical tidbits, subtle comedy and fabricated hallucinations all presented in song and dance, I was never completely persuaded that these three famous figures belong in the same musical; indeed, it seemed unlikely that they would have had anything to do with one another.

7

FLYING OVER SUNSET On a Smoothed-Out Trip — Review

From: Theatrely | By: Juan A. Ramirez | Date: 12/13/2021

The three were personalities at a time when the idea of public personas was still a novelty and, as it turns out, were diehard fans of LSD. To throw them into a musical staged on Lincoln Center's massive Vivian Beaumont Theater (and backed with their budget) should produce enough material for a twelve-hour opus. And yet, Flying Over Sunset takes up this extraordinary mantle and struggles to prove its two-and-a-half-hour runtime. It's strange, given the production's remarkable pedigree: a book by James Lapine, who also directs; music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Michael Korie, respectively; and committed leading performances by Harry Hadden-Paton, Carmen Cusack, and Tony Yazbeck as Huxley, Luce, and Grant.

7

‘Flying Over Sunset’ Review: A Trippy New Broadway Musical

From: Variety | By: Marilyn Stasio | Date: 12/13/2021

The show's trippy sensibility is strikingly displayed on Beowulf Boritt's spare, highly stylized cycloramic set and under Bradley King's luscious lighting, which turns the color blue into a juicy fruit so cool and sweet the eye can almost taste it. Mixing up the senses is very much a quality of this thoughtful and unusually literate musical, which book writer and director Lapine has apparently conceived as a head trip with brains.

7

‘Flying Over Sunset’ Review: A Trippy New Broadway Musical

From: Variety | By: Marilyn Stasio | Date: 12/13/2021

The show's trippy sensibility is strikingly displayed on Beowulf Boritt's spare, highly stylized cycloramic set and under Bradley King's luscious lighting, which turns the color blue into a juicy fruit so cool and sweet the eye can almost taste it. Mixing up the senses is very much a quality of this thoughtful and unusually literate musical, which book writer and director Lapine has apparently conceived as a head trip with brains.

6

Flying Over Sunset

From: Time Out NY | By: Adam Feldman | Date: 12/13/2021

The Lincoln Center production has real pleasures: Yazbeck shares a thrilling musical-hall duet, choreographed by Michelle Dorrance, with his younger self (Atticus Ware), who is dressed as a girl; Cusack sings as beautifully as always, as does Laura Shoop as Huxley's wife. And the staging is very handsome indeed: Beowulf Boritt's expansive set, Toni Leslie-James's costumes and Bradley King's lighting are all first-class. But these elements can only distract so much from a show that would probably make more sense as a one-act in a smaller space. What a long, strange trip it is.

6

Review | ‘Flying Over Sunset’ is an artistic misfire

From: amNY | By: Matt Windman | Date: 12/13/2021

Unfortunately, "Flying Over Sunset" is an artistic misfire - and a nearly three-hour slog to sit through. The book is devoid of conflict (relying instead of introspection and confession), expository (filling in details about the politics of the period), repetitive (with the second act more or less mirroring the first act), and indulgently weird (including a sequence in which Grant imagines himself as a "giant penis rocket ship"). The unexpected highlight of the show ends up being a lengthy tap duet between Yazbeck and Atticus Ware (who plays Archie Leach, Grant's younger self).

6

Review | ‘Flying Over Sunset’ is an artistic misfire

From: amNY | By: Matt Windman | Date: 12/13/2021

Unfortunately, "Flying Over Sunset" is an artistic misfire - and a nearly three-hour slog to sit through. The book is devoid of conflict (relying instead of introspection and confession), expository (filling in details about the politics of the period), repetitive (with the second act more or less mirroring the first act), and indulgently weird (including a sequence in which Grant imagines himself as a "giant penis rocket ship"). The unexpected highlight of the show ends up being a lengthy tap duet between Yazbeck and Atticus Ware (who plays Archie Leach, Grant's younger self).

6

FLYING OVER SUNSET: A BUMMER THEATRICAL DRUG TRIP

From: New York Stage Review | By: Frank Scheck | Date: 12/13/2021

The musical receiving its world premiere from Lincoln Center Theater was one of the most eagerly anticipated of the season, for good reasons. Besides the formidable creative team, the lavish production features a killer cast including Harry Hadden-Paton, Carmen Cusack, Tony Yazbeck, and Robert Sella as Gerald Heard, the philosopher/author who guides the trio through their drug-induced trips. Besides, how can you not root for a large-scale Broadway musical not based on a pre-existing property and featuring such an audaciously original concept? It's sad to report, then, that the show from the librettist of such landmark musicals as Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Passion is a misfire. A provocative misfire, to be sure, and one that will no doubt have its ardent admirers. But a misfire nonetheless.

5

Review: In ‘Flying Over Sunset,’ Getting High With the Stars

From: New York Times | By: Jesse Green | Date: 12/13/2021

To a perpetual square, nothing is as mystifying as another person's high. Or so I learned in college, during the heyday of chemically induced inner journeys - and again at the Vivian Beaumont Theater the other night. Though sometimes mesmerizing, "Flying Over Sunset," the new musical about LSD that opened there on Monday, is mostly bewildering, and further proof that transcendence can't be shared.

5

‘Flying Over Sunset’ Broadway review: LSD musical is a bore on drugs

From: New York Post | By: Johnny Oleksinski | Date: 12/13/2021

Broadway, of course, should not dominated by schlocky copycat musicals based on old films, and ingenuity and experimentation must be encouraged. With risk, however, should come drama and the electricity of something new. Writer-director James Lapine has the originality part down, to put it mildly, but, boy, is his show sedate and esoteric. That's saying a lot for the man who wrote the strange-at-the-time books for "Sunday in the Park With George" and "Into the Woods." They're "Guys and Dolls" next to this. Beyond oddness, though, "Flying Over Sunset" is unforgivably dull onstage. It would make a fascinating New Yorker article, but is far from a compelling, cohesive musical.

5

Broadway’s ‘Flying Over Sunset’ comes in for a crash landing

From: Washington Post | By: Peter Marks | Date: 12/13/2021

Long-winded and impossibly earnest, the world-premiere musical, which marked its official opening Monday night at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, features an unremarkable score by Tom Kitt and Michael Korie and a lumbering book by James Lapine, who also directs. Their account is of the unlikely if actual acquaintanceship of movie star Cary Grant with writers Clare Boothe Luce, Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard - and how they got together in Southern California in the mid-1950s to drop acid.