Review Roundup: Signature Theatre's THE FIX
Signature Theatre opened The Fix directed by Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer (Broadway's Gigi, Follies, Million Dollar Quartet). Featuring a book by John Dempsey and music by Dana P. Rowe (the creators of Brother Russia and The Witches of Eastwick). The show quickly became a favorite among Signature's artistic team during its U.S. premiere at the Theatre in 1998, cementing a longstanding relationship with Dempsey and Rowe. Running in the MAX Theatre August 11 - September 20,the inside-politics musical satire is the first production of Signature Theatre's 2015/2016 season.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Alan Rappeport, NY Times: Blending Caligula and the Kennedys, "The Manchurian Candidate" and "House of Cards," "The Fix" introduces Cal Chandler, a troubled innocent who is pushed into the family business of trying to become president of the United States. Rising quickly and falling hard, his journey raises the question of why anyone seeks public office and what it can take to win. In his case, sex, drugs and murder are part of the plan.
Nelson Pressley, Washington Post: "The Fix" is political satire with a jagged edge, and it's part of Signature lore: In 1998, the scrappy troupe, then working out of a converted auto garage, teamed with producer Cameron Mackintosh for the hard-driving musical's U.S. premiere. Rowe's rock-based songs have range and swagger - The Who's Pete Townshend wrote the liner notes for the London CD - and Dempsey's saga is packed with nasty characters engaged in tabloid-worthy shenanigans. As the show's first few numbers efficiently send up the cynical political playbook, you begin to wonder if Signature should roll this out every election cycle.
Benjamin Tomchik, BroadwayWorld.com: In theatre, like in politics, timing is everything. Signature's naughty satirical rock musical The Fix is a dazzling production that perfectly coincides with the start of the 2016 election season. Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll may not be the slogan for any presidential candidate, but for one family who will do whatever it takes; it's just part of their game to reach the White House.
Alan Katz, DC Theatre Scene: But in the M&M of The Fix, the thickly-layered candy coating of toe-tapping music and phenomenal dancing threatens to overpower its chocolatey center of political satire, so don't go into the show expecting deep or incisive commentary. Instead, go to The Fixfor some ribbing of political celebrity culture, all too real with a certain toupee-crowned billionaire currently leading the Republican nomination race, and some top-notch singing from this great cast.
Brian Bochicchio, Maryland Theatre Guide: The raucous and earthy undertones that imbue the show present us with a biting satire that is quite visceral. Out of control power is combined with sexual energy and the temptations of casual drug use to present a sort of "why not?" attitude. From his father's indescretions to his own casual encounters with a waitress or his eventual soul mate, Tina (the mesmerizing Rachel Zampelli) the sexual element of the show is akin to power-or a release of it? Many questions are left unanswered, even as a will he or won't he direction is taken in Act II for Cal, who it told to stick to 3 topics: taxes-(prudent) economy (growth) and gun control (kid's safety). Is this all there is to politics-cut and paste pastiche of different ideas to fool the willing public?
David Siegel, DC Metro Theater Arts: What this production has beyond the intensity of the entire cast's in the moment acting along with marvelous singing chops and in-synch fluid movements, are these: Eric Schaeffer's charged, shock-wave direction, the animated, very alive work of an eight-piece rock-show band under the pulsating leadership of Jon Kalbfleisch and Matthew Gardiner's eye-popping, often heart-throbbing, sensual choreography that matches a lyric in each of the more than two dozen numbers in the score. An example of that choreography is a riff off the words "Sing Hallelujah" that becomes way more than a Church-based stroll up the aisle.
Katie Bogdan, DC Metro Theater Arts: The cast, directed with flair by Eric Schaeffer, also truly embodies this idea with almost every character having one vice or another that could bring their world crashing down around them. Evans as Cal crashes across the stage like a delinquent (but still sexy) Kennedy, indulging his passion for hard drugs with the assistance of his mistress Tina McCoy (Rachel Zampelli). His limitless tenor soothes the worries of the public in songs like "I See The Future" and "Simple Words" that he is the one that they want to see in government, despite his frequent scandals.
Theatre Bloom: These are the games, the tools and the tricks, of making brilliant theatre with a musical called The Fix. Signature Theatre is revolutionizing political corruption; they're not accentuating the foul filth of America's crooked political climate, they're flaunting it and making it look devilishly delicious. With Book and Lyrics by John Dempsey, and Music by Dana P. Rowe, this rarely produced musical sensation is a riveting and electrifying political scandal that has all the razzle dazzle of Broadway and all the unctuous sleaze of Washington DC. Directed by Eric Schaeffer, with Musical Direction by Jon Kalbfleisch, this zesty zinger will thoroughly stun you with a political pulse that is gloriously unpredictable and gut-wrenching dramatic flair that will steal your breath.