I’m with you on this. I enjoy Harvey as a performer and love him in certain roles. And, much of his writing is solid and strong.
But he is in dire need of something like a metaphysical ‘cliche comb’, to filter through his drafts snagging and straightening out everything resembling cliche. With Newsies and Kinky Boots, that would have created a lot more work for him, but also would have improved the shows immensely (awards notwithstanding).
Fwiw, the brilliant Lynn Ahrens also could have used a cliche comb on Little Dancer. I’ve never seen such a compelling show done in by serial cliches.