Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lysistrata Jones Opens on Broadway

Lysistrata Jones, a musical version of the Greek myth Lysistrata has opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The show, according to, is "about a group of cheerleaders who decide to remain chaste to motivate their boyfriends on the Athens U. basketball team to put an end to the schoo's 33-year losing streak." The show features a book by two-time Tony-nominee Douglas Carter Bean and a score by Lewis Flynn, and was directed and choreographed by Dan Knechtges.

The show, cited as being "a direct descendent of Beane's earlier Xanadu, but far superior to that show, and funnier than his other current Broadway musical, Sister Act. Audiences will find it difficult to abstain from laughter." The show now moves faster and flows better in this transfer from a previous off-Broadway incarnation. Jason Tam's supporting performance was highly praised, with his frenetic dance-by-iPhone one of the more memorable moments of the show.

The New York Times gives more of the history of the show. The production originated at the Dallas Theater Center before transferring to the Transport Group Theater Company in New York, where it played in a gymnasium. The show's original production "felt as appropriate for the silly season as a suntan-oil-smeared beach book [and] even had a Top-40-style score (by Lewis Flinn) that suggested just what you wanted to listen to while lying on a towel in the sand."

While the Times was worried that the show's leap to Broadway would not be a rousing success, "the production that opened on Wednesday night at the Walter Kerr Theater warrants not only sighs of relief but also at least a few lusty cheers." I think that this, combined with the other reviews, makes this show an unqualified success and a shoe-in for Tony nominations in all major categories -- book, score, musical, director, and probably for its leads (though the leading actress in a musical category has some VERY stiff competition from the likes of Audra McDonald in Porgy and Bess, Jan Maxwell and Bernadette Peters in Follies, and Elena Roger in Evita, as well as the female leads in the yet-to-open musical adaptations of Ghost and Rebecca). An indication that the show will have some lasting power is that the New York Times has said that it "brings to mind the distant era of the college frolic Good News (1927) and Babes in Arms (1937), perishable good-time shows in which peppy kids delivered of-the-moment jokes and lively dances."

I think this show has done quite well and can look forward to a very healthy life, even after it closes on Broadway.

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