Saw the Old Globe production today. Overall I enjoyed it and the performances were all first rate. Standouts were Rob Coletti as Lester and Anika Larsen as Elaine. Casey Likes did a phenomenal job as William Miller in a very difficult role.
The show follows the movie very closely and that may be its handicap. After a stupendous opening number, the story started to sag a little as it tried to check all the boxes of what happens in the movie. The last 20 minutes encompasses 4-5 scenes and I think it loses a little focus as to where the emotional end needs to be. All of these problems are solvable as I think some trimming needs to happen.
Still the standout moments include the opening, the solos by Anika Larsen as William’s mother, and the iconic rooftop and airplane scenes.
With such a talented cast and great dancing and singing, I really wanted to like it more. Musicals based on films often end up as echoes or tributes to the originality and inventiveness of the source material. My fear is that it will land more like “catch me if you can” when I think it has potential to be a “waitress” or “hairspray” each of which can really stand on their own. Nevertheless, it has opened to great reviews here and the audience seemed to really enjoy it.