So, the Blonde, Bell, Bundy crowd is off partying with the rest of the Blonde cast at Spotlight, a swank karaoke bar on Broadway. But you know me. I'm a newspaper geek, so I wanted to read the reviews. (I was also growing tired of places where I had to yell at people to be heard.)
The reviews . . . uh . . . yeah. Well, they aren't exactly the strong chorus of approval that emanated out of San Francisco in February. Mixed would be the word, with a few scribes that really liked it but some who seem tired of movie-based musicals aimed at teen and pre-teen girls. Anyway, let's open our virtual papers:
TOTALLY NEW: The Philly Inquirer's Howard Shapiro liked Laura and called the show, "a great big blonde joke that pays off over and over."
NEW: Here is Kurt Loder's take for VH1. I didn't know Kurt Loder reviewed Broadway, but I bet Laura is glad he does.
NEW: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Judith Newmark seems to think the show was a good move for hometown company Fox Theatricals.
NEW: Fox News chimes in with affirmation.
NEW: Reuters credits Blonde with being better than most film-to-stage shows.
Variety is one of the more influential notices, and David Rooney was wild about the show and Laura.
The New York Sun's Eric Grode is cautiously enthusiastic.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Tony Brown puts his enthusiasm in words we can understand, and even rates Bundy over Witherspoon.
Michael Sommers of the New Jersey Star-Ledger likes the show, but not Laura.
Theatremania.com's David Finkle calls it a hit.
The New York Times' Ben Brantley is not a big fan of movies turned into musicals, and though he says this one is better than most, clearly, he wasn't nuts about it. I would like to know who these girls are that supposedly hated Elphaba getting the guy in Wicked, because all the ones I know who saw it loved that aspect of the story.
Bloomberg's John Simon seems to be trying hard to find something to like, and quite honestly, I can't tell what he thought of Laura.
The AP's Michael Kuchwara sounds disappointed. The bad news for the Blonde camp is that his review gets picked up by most papers across the country.
Newsday's Linda Winer doesn't seem to be a fan.
That a.m. New York's review is headlined "Legally Bland" tells you a lot. It does have the meanest comment I've read about Laura.
Well, that seems to be enough reading for now, and I have to remind myself that part of the reason I came back to my room was to go to bed. Anytime I compile groups of reviews like this, I am reminded of my constant assertion that reviews are one person's opinion. That should be and usually is a well informed opinion, but it's still an opinion, colored by the critic's taste and experiences. It's always amusing to see how two critics will bring up the same things but have completely different takes, like here.
I was contemplating after seeing Legally Blonde Friday night whether it was "critic proof," meaning, is there enough general appeal there to keep the show going even with some negative press. I dunno. Time will tell. But, two of the punching bags several of the scribes pulled out for the Blonde reviews -- Hairspray and Wicked -- are still running very strong. Time will tell us how Blonde holds up.