re: PRADA --- Why were the national critics invited?
Last Edit: Delvino 12:41 pm EDT 08/10/22
Posted by: Delvino 12:31 pm EDT 08/10/22
In reply to: re: PRADA --- Why were the national critics invited? - ShowGoer 11:52 am EDT 08/10/22

We remember the excitement with Rudnick attached, arguably an ideal match-up for the film's sensibilities who would bring both his own prism on the film and his playwriting craft. He's a damned good storyteller. So it's odd that he was replaced with someone without extensive experience with libretti. I've argued that it's not a slam dunk, the de facto young protagonist's plight not sharp enough to translate into a musical. As the Times review noted, an entry level job on the leading fashion magazine on the globe isn't a pitiable circumstance, no matter how you frame it (and it's not one of the more satisfying elements in the film, though the movie magic and Hathaway and Blunt glide rover it). When you factor in a larger than life antagonist who's far more compelling, who earns more stage time, the piece is potentially lopsided out of the gate. At least in audience expectation terms.

These structural/conceptual issues are major if not unsolvable obstacles, and require a truly deft hand. Two central characters, dueling for our interest, adversarial to build plot, require subtle writing. Can a musical handle it? Gypsy makes its second act about both mother and daughter, inching us toward one of the greatest finales in musical theater history that serves both characters. Prada would need something comparable -- make the two women have intersecting crises and resolutions that matter -- and as yet, hasn't made it work. Nor have they made it "sing." It's clearly not a story for someone unaccustomed to the unique shorthand of bookwriting. Did the production want this creative problem spelled out by critics? To end it, now? I get the argument, but that seems quite a cynical rejection of all that's been accomplished and sits on the Chicago stage. Perhaps the producers believed the show is a slam dunk, and better than it is.

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