This Week on Stage: 'Fela!' rocks, Matthew Broderick disappoints

Former American Idol contestant Syesha Mercado may be the biggest known name in the revival of Dreamgirls that kicked off its national tour at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theatre this week, but it’s an unknown named Moya Angela who’s generating all the buzz as Effie “I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” White, according to EW’s Tanner Stransky. Also this week, the booty-shaking biographical Afrobeat musical Fela! (pictured at left) opened on Broadway to widespread raves (including a B+ from EW), while a fine cast headed by a lifeless Matthew Broderick struggled in director/playwright Kenneth Lonergan’s disappointing new Off Broadway comic drama, The Starry Messenger.

Check out the EW.com Stage hub for up-to-date news and reviews; or consult this handy guide below, which includes links to all of our stage reviews of current shows. (Note: The reviews are typically of the show’s original casts.)

BROADWAY

The Addams Family — Musical; opens 2010

After Miss Julie — Drama starring Sienna Miller; opened 10/22/2009 – 12/6/2009; EW grade: C

Billy Elliot — Musical; opened 11/13/08; EW grade: B+

Burn the Floor — Musical; opened 8/3/09 – 2/14/2010; EW grade: A-

Bye Bye Birdie — Musical Revival starring John Stamos; opened 10/15/2009 – 4/25/2010; EW grade: C+

Chicago — Musical Revival; opened 11/14/1996; EW grade: A+

Fela! – Musical; opens 11/23/2009; EW grade: B+

Finian’s Rainbow — Musical Revival; opened 10/29/2009; EW grade: B-

God of Carnage — Comedy starring Jimmy Smits and Christine Lahti; opened 3/22/2009; EW grade: A-

Hair — Musical Revival; opened 3/31/2009; EW grade: A-

Hamlet — Drama Revival starring Jude Law; opened 10/6/09 – 12/6/2009; EW grade: B+

In the Heights — Musical; opened 2/14/2009; EW grade: A-

In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play — Comedy; opens 11/19/2009; EW grade: B-

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas — Musical Revival; 11/13/2009 – 1/3/2010

Jersey Boys — Musical; opened 11/7/2005; EW grade: A

The Lion King — Musical; opened 11/13/1997; EW grade: A+

A Little Night Music — Musical Revival starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury; opens 12/13/2009

Mamma Mia! — Musical; opened 10/18/2001; EW grade: B+

Mary Poppins — Musical; opened 11/16/2009; EW grade: A-

Memphis — Musical; opened 10/19/2009; EW grade: C+

Next to Normal — Musical; opened 4/19/2009; EW grade: A

Oleanna — Drama Revival starring Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman; opened 10/11/2009 – 1/3/2010; EW grade: C-

The Phantom of the Opera — Musical; opened 1/26/1988

Present Laughter — Comedy Revival starring Victor Garber; opens 1/24/10

Race — Drama starring James Spader and Kerry Washington; opens 12/6/2009

Ragtime — Musical Revival; opens 11/15/2009; EW grade: A

Rock of Ages — Musical; opened 4/7/2009; EW grade: C+

The Royal Family — Comedy Revival; opened 10/8/09 – 12/13/09; EW grade: B+

Shrek the Musical — Musical; opened 12/14/2008 – 1/3/2010; EW grade: B+

South Pacific — Musical Revival; opened 4/3/2008; EW grade: A

Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark — Musical starring Alan Cumming and Evan Rachel Wood; opens 2010

A Steady Rain — Drama starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig; opened 9/29/2009 – 12/6/2009; EW grade: C+

Superior Donuts — Drama; opened 10/1/09 – 1/3/2010; EW grade: B

The 39 Steps — Comedy; opened 1/4/2008; EW grade: B+

Time Stands Still — Drama starring Laura Linney; opens 1/28/10

A View From the Bridge – Drama Revival starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson; opens 1/24/2010

West Side Story — Musical Revival; opened 3/19/2009; EW grade: B

Wicked — Musical; opened 10/30/03; EW grade: B

Wishful Drinking — Drama/Comedy starring Carrie Fisher; opened 10/4/2009 – 1/17/2010; EW grade: A-

OFF BROADWAY

Altar Boyz — Musical; opened 3/1/2005; EW grade: B+

Avenue Q — Musical; reopened 10/21/2009; EW grade: A

Blue Man Group — Special Performance; opened 11/11/1991

The Fantasticks — Musical Revival; opened 6/16/2008; EW grade: B+

Idiot Savant — Comedy starring Willem Dafoe; opened 11/4/2009 – 12/20/2009; EW grade: C-

Let Me Down Easy — Drama starring Anna Deavere Smith; opened 10/7/2009 – 1/4/2009; EW grade: A-

Love, Loss, and What I Wore — Drama; opened 10/1/2009; EW grade: B+

My Wonderful Day — Drama; opens 11/18/2009 – 12/13/2009; EW grade: A-

Nightingale — Drama starring Lynn Redgrave; opened 11/3/2009 – 12/13/2009; EW grade: C

The Orphans’ Home Cycle, Part I — Drama; opens 11/20/2009; EW grade: A-

Our Town — Drama Revival; opened 2/26/2009

The Starry Messenger — Drama starring Matthew Broderick; opened 11/23/2009 – 12/12/09; EW grade: D

Stomp — Special Performance; opened 2/27/1994

The Toxic Avenger Musical — Musical; opened 4/6/2009 – 1/3/2010; EW grade: B

The Understudy — Comedy starring Julie White, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Justin Kirk; opened 11/5/2009 – 1/13/2010; EW grade: B+

ELSEWHERE

August Osage County (national tour with Estelle Parsons) — EW grade: A

Dreamgirls (national tour with Syesha Mercado) — EW grade: B+

Equivocation (Los Angeles) — Drama; 11/10/2009 – 12/20/2009; EW grade: B-

(Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened November 2004; EW grade: A-

LOVE (Las Vegas) — Musical Revue; opened 8/24/2006; EW grade: A-

Mary Poppins (Los Angeles) — Musical; 11/13/2009 – 2/7/2010; EW grade: B

Mystere (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened 5/25/1993; EW grade: A

O (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened October 1998; EW grade: A-

Zumanity (Las Vegas) — Special Performance; opened September 2003; EW grade: C

More Stage coverage from EW.com:
First look at new Addams Family stage musical in Chicago
Inside Daniel Radcliffe’s Equus dressing room
Broadway’s Superior Donuts to close Jan. 3
Andrew Lloyd Webber back in hospital

Photo credit: Monique Carboni


Comments (2 total) Add your comment
  • Suzanne

    Beyonce was completely upstaged in the movie too, but still, it seems that Syesha can never score a break.

  • twisted

    Your comment about Broderick in The Starry Messenger is one of two disappointing reviews. He and the play received great reviews from NY Times, NY Post, Variety, TheaterTalk, NY1…all much more knowledgable about theater than this sorry site.

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