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Finding Neverland Finally Finds its Audience

Finding Neverland Finally Finds its Audience
Matthew Morrison, Finding Neverland, Kelsey Grammer

Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer

Finding Neverland is a show that will appeal to audiences that are not theatre savvy. In the age of ADD Finding Neverland like the New York Spring Spectacular has everything but the kitchen sink on stage. Dogs…check, kids…check….tons of special effects…check, a kitchy pop score….check, TV celebrities … check, manipulative…check, emotional depth…no. Weinstein was smart to cast Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison (“Glee”) who the audiences go crazy for. Mr. Morrison is vocally powerful and is appealing in the role. Grammer is well Grammer. I am sure he will do the same thing for the tour that is already slated to go out thanks to its producers Broadway Across America, the Nederlander’s, Madison Square Gardens and of course Weinstein.

Matthew Morrison, Finding Neverland, Laura Michelle Kelly

Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly

The plot is simple J.M. Barrie (Morrison) is a successful playwright with an overbearing social climbing wife and an American producer, Charles Frohman (Grammer). Frohman wants Barrie to create the same plays he has been writing only fresher and newer, but the same. Barrie, frustrated and bored with his life meets a widow (Laura Michelle Kelly) and her four young boys. One of the boys is like a younger Barrie, while the others are wild Indians or so their grandmother calls them (the fabulous and under used Carolee Carmello). Due to this meeting in the park, Peter Pan is born.

Diane Paulus’s (Pippin), direction is over the top and highly manipulative. Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance”) choreography is very Jekyll and Hyde and Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy score is a rip off of the Turtles music as well as the original versions of Jekyll and Hyde. Like their music in New York Spring Spectacular nothing thrills or makes you say hey I want to sing that. The show in a strange way reminds me of Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland.

On the plus side Barlow and Kennedy have great chemistry and (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the film) when she dies her death is wonderfully and imaginatively done. The show will have you shedding at least one or two tears. I also love the theme of letting your inner child out as well as letting your child just be a kid.

For a show about imagination, less would have been more, but I expect this show to get a Tony nod because the “Road” vote is so powerful. What ever happens this show will run for a long time because it is a family show and the audiences love it.

Finding Neverland: Lunt-Fontanne Theatre,205 W. 46th St.

Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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