brucekluger.com

    The New York Times, May 20, 2001

    Week in Review
    Staging The Next New Thing

    By Bruce Kluger and David Slavin


    The runaway success of Mel Brooks' hit musical The
    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
    search of "the real America." Tony Walton's set is a valentine to the psychedelic
    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
    Harleys."

    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 herejust 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."