The biggest news on Broadway over the past two weeks was a show that didn't open, again: Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark, as anyone not living under a rock knows by now, will shut down for a month of retooling minus auteur Julie Taymor, and reopen on June 14. The StageGrade of F+ from critics (and a D+ from community reviewers) still stands, though presumably there will be a new batch of reviews in June; whether we at StageGrade will consider it a new show with a clean slate remains to be seen.
Elsewhere on Broadway, two revivals of straight plays got lukewarm to chilly receptions: Tom Stoppard's Arcadia had most critics singing the play's praises more than the production's, with a B grade, while a starry production of Jason Miller's 1972 Pulitzer winner That Championship Season made many mavens marvel that this creaky, preachy ensemble drama ever took home such an honor; they gave it a C- overall.
Off-Broadway, another revival got even pricklier assessments: Abe Burrows' 1966 comedy Cactus Flower got a thorny D grade, with critics roughly equally deploring the dated play and the lackluster production. A pair of swashbuckling family musicals divided critics: the Peter Pan prequel Peter and the Starcatcher had both fierce advocates and vocal detractors, with a resulting B-, while an adaptation of the classic Treasure Island garnered a C+.
In fact, the best-reviewed show of the past two weeks was a limited run that has already closed: The Rude Mechs of Austin, Texas brought their cult favorite The Method Gun to Dance Theater Workshop and landed a B+ grade.
This coming week, Broadway openings start rolling in earnest, with two big musicals (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Book of Mormon) and a play (Ghetto Klown). As always, StageGrade will be on the beat.
Our raffles and giveaways continue apace. Check the StageGrade Facebook page on Monday, Mar. 21 for a chance to win a free ticket to a major upcoming Broadway musical starring a young wizard (any guesses?).