The New York Times, May 20, 2001
Week in Review
Staging The Next New Thing
By Bruce Kluger and David Slavin
Producers, based on his 1968 film comedy, proves one
thing: Broadway's newest formula for success lies in a
treasure trove of classic 60's movies waiting to be
adapted to the stage. Be on the lookout for:
Easy Rider!: Move over, Sunshine Boys. Peter Fonda
and Dennis Hopper reunite on the Great White Way as
ageless rebels continuing their 30-year motorcycle trek in
60's, as is the pulsing rock score by the composer David Yazbek (The Full Monty),
which includes the instant hits "Bifocal Blues" and "We're Just a Coupla Fogeys on
2001 A Space Odyssey!: This budget-busting musical update of Stanley Kubrick's
futuristic epic follows the interplanetary travelers Dave Bowman and Frank Poole
(Tony Roberts and Len Cariou) as they soar through a universe of singing
supernovas and tap-dancing extraterrestrials. Jerry Herman's out-of-this-world
score includes the high-kicking "Hello, Davey!" (sung by the computer, HAL 9000)
and an ingenious adaptation of the movie's theme song, "Also Sprach Zarathustra,"
now titled "Spracha-Zara-What?"
Psycho!: I Remember Mama meets Sweeney Todd when Andrew Lloyd Webber
takes a stab at Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 paean to mayhem on the motel circuit. Mr.
Webber's score features the stirring love song, "A Boy's Best Friend is His Mother"
and the shower-scene showstopper, "Wree! Wree! Wree!" The pop legend Donny
Osmond delivers a ground-breaking performance as the murderous but
misunderstood Norman Bates. Calista Flockhart plays Mother.
Stephen Sondheim's The Love Bug: In this dark reworking of this family classic,
Herbie, America's favorite VW roadster, is recalled due to a hazardous brake
malfunction. As the troubled Beetle vents his existential angst, courtesy of Mr.
Sondheim's trademark clever wordplay ("I've a fate I can't determine/ Am I sporty?/
Am I German?"), James Lapine populates his libretto with a host of 60's icons,
including the consumer watchdog Ralph Nader (Mandy Patinkin), who vows to rid
the world of his two-door nemesis in the thundering soliloquy, "Bucket o' Bolts."
Disney's Rosemary's Baby: No screams of terror here—just nonstop Disney
(black) magic. Picking up where the 1969 Roman Polanski shocker left off, Satan's
illegitimate child (Andrea McCardle) begins a search for her dad (Jerry Orbach, at
his devilish best). The Alan Menken-Tim Rice score is red hot, from the opening
flashback, "The Pitter-Patter of Cloven Hooves," to the jaunty road number, "To Hell
in a Handbasket," to the inspiring finale, "A Whole New (Under)World."
Planet of the Apes!: Taking on Charlton Heston's memorable role, the Tony
winner Brian Dennehy is Col. George Taylor, a hapless astronaut lost in a land of
walking, talking primates. Audiences go ape for the swinging score of John Kander
and Fred Ebb, especially the second act roof-raiser sung to Mr. Dennehy by his
simian captors, "You're One Funky, Chunky Monkey."