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JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more- Page 3

JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more

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UWS10023
#50JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/3/24 at 3:24am

haterobics said: "UWS10023 said: "I have to say that front row partial view was definitely partial view. I have sat in many partial view seats over the years in various New York Theaters and my view from the seat for this particular production was the most obstructive. The frustrating thing was that it could have been corrected by some slight set piece adjustments that would not have compromised anything for the rest of the house. The production design was very chilly and the set design was symmetrical. Some of the blocking was robotic. I guess it was by choice but I am not 


Hmm... is that the whole front row? Or just the sides? I'm dead center front row in two weeks."

 No, it was the final seat on the end in the first row; house right. I am sure front and center would be fine although if one has a choice I would recommend sitting further back. I had a similar seat for Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and it was wonderful. The same with Appropriate.

 

MemorableUserName
#51JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/3/24 at 8:02am

CJRochester said: "
The story is pretty much identical to the movie "Shattered Glass" from 20 years ago, which is based on real events.

Yes, the fact that it was clearly inspired by the true story was discussed on the first page. In the version you saw, did any of the journalists involved actually investigate the Ethan character, or was it all up to the factchecker and outside letter writer? In real life (as in that movie), the journalists...investigated when something seemed suspicious, leading to the truth coming out. In early previews at least, the musical was a story about journalists who...don't do any investigating into the story that's right in front of them, a change from the actual events that causes it to make a lot less sense.

MemorableUserName
#52JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/3/24 at 8:03am

FYI--There's a talkback with Scott Bakula after today's matinee, so if anyone's interested in that and doesn't already have a ticket, today might be a good day to hit up the digital or student rush.

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onesongglory2
#53JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/3/24 at 1:08pm

Has anyone done the stage door? Do the actors exit out the main doors or use a different exit?

CJRochester
#54JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/3/24 at 4:34pm

MemorableUserName said: "CJRochester said: "
The story is pretty much identical to the movie "Shattered Glass" from 20 years ago, which is based on real events.

Yes, the fact that it was clearly inspired by the true story was discussed on the first page. In the version you saw, did any of the journalists involved actually investigate the Ethan character, or was it all up to the factchecker and outside letter writer? In real life (as in that movie), the journalists...investigated when something seemed suspicious, leading to the truth coming out. In early previews at least, the musical was a story about journalists who...don't do any investigating into the story that's right in front of them, a change from the actual events that causes it to make a lot less sense.
"

Good question. Will answer in a spoiler so as not to ruin anyone's surprise. 

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

Robin (Hanna's character, the counterpart to the rival journalist in Shattered Glass) is frustrated after The Connector never publishes her story, and leaves for another publication. The outside letter writer happens to send her questions to that same publication, leading Robin to start investigating. She brings her suspicions to her former editor, who begins his own investigation of Ethan. 

 

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Jordan Catalano
#55JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/3/24 at 10:14pm

Saw this again tonight and enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. I’m told a cast recording is coming so I’m very very much looking forward to it, as this really is one of my favorite JRB scores ever.

 

AntV
#56JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/4/24 at 4:37am

Has anything much been changed from early previews?

ilw
#57JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/4/24 at 8:47am

Very few changes from early previews.

MemorableUserName
#58JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/4/24 at 9:11am

CJRochester said: "Good question. Will answer in a spoiler so as not to ruin anyone's surprise.

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content
Robin (Hanna's character, the counterpart to the rival journalist in Shattered Glass) is frustrated after The Connector never publishes her story, and leaves for another publication. The outside letter writer happens to send her questions to that same publication, leading Robin to start investigating. She brings her suspicions to her former editor, who begins his own investigation of Ethan.

If they have her do some actual investigating, it will be a huge improvement from early previews.

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

In early previews, Robin never suspected anything about the guy even though he treated her like crap and she even had a line where she marveled at how he was getting these amazing sources. (Like, duh, "serious journalist," maybe that's something worth looking into???) Then after she flounced off to the free paper because the magazine wouldn't publish her personal narrative about growing up in Texas (the only story idea of hers that seemed to be mentioned), the factchecker woman went through his desk, found his notebooks proving he made up his stories, and then turned them over Robin. The woman who kept writing in to the magazine about errors also sent a letter to Robin detailing all his errors. So Robin stomped back in to the magazine to say, "Look at all this evidence these other women gave me! I didn't pick up on this story that was right in front of my face but these women did the work for me! I'm such a good journalist whose personal narrative of growing up in Texas totally should have been published!" It was very, very dumb.

 

Fordham2015
#59JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/6/24 at 7:28pm

Reviews are coming in. Both the Times and the Observer are lukewarm, comparing the show unfavorably to Dear Evan Hansen and Lifespan of a Fact. Like the people on this board, they also have kind words for the fact checker.

Cote's review notes there's a song that mentions Holocaust denial, which is a huge turn-off even if it's meant ironically

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/06/theater/the-connector-review.html

https://observer.com/2024/02/review-fake-news-makes-musical-headlines-in-the-connector/

Updated On: 2/6/24 at 07:28 PM

MemorableUserName
#60JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/6/24 at 7:55pm

Green's review seems pretty negative, and dead-on, IMO:

"that animating idea is also a problem because aside from Jason Robert Brown’s typically propulsive songs, which excite even the most absurd moments of Jonathan Marc Sherman’s book, the engine of the story, set in the 1990s, depends on uncertainty about Ethan’s veracity. That’s a nonstarter. After just one meeting at the magazine, a young copy editor and frustrated writer named Robin (Hannah Cruz) is already suspicious: “I’m watching you map the boundaries,” she sings, in a number that also serves as a vaguely romantic red herring. And the magazine’s “fact-checking legend,” Muriel, played by Jessica Molaskey, sees right through him even faster.

So do we, and we quickly lose interest."

YEP!

"That’s not the fault of the beamish, resourceful Ross, who, as a recent Evan Hansen, has experience portraying liars. Here, though, he has little to play; not pinning Ethan down is how “The Connector,” conceived and directed by Daisy Prince, keeps itself moving forward. This leaves the show devoid of psychology — the most important thing a musical might have added to the already well-covered histories of journalists who make stuff up. It helped, if you believed him, that Jayson Blair, after his deceptions were discovered, explained that he suffered from bipolar disorder.

But Ethan? We have no idea. The worst impediment we learn about him, in a song called “So I Came to New York,” is that he’s from a place where “everyone’s a scumbag”: New Jersey."

...

"Positioning Robin as an unheeded prophetess and an eventual participant in Ethan’s undoing is a smart way to explore the sexism of the media world at the time. But positioning her as Ethan’s maybe-girlfriend — as if in obeisance to and at the same time defiance of some foundational rule of musical theater — undoes that work. She’s finally as opaque as Ethan."

...

"Yet in the end the problem with the musical isn’t the unconvincing rendition of the world of journalism or even the pesky little errors. The problem is its lack of perceptible human insight. It doesn’t need a fact checker so much as a fabulist."

MemorableUserName
#61JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/6/24 at 8:00pm

Theatrely is mixed.

https://www.theatrely.com/post/the-connector-connects-fun-wobbly-dots----review

"But Jonathan Marc Sherman’s book could trust the audience to understand that, erm, lying is wrong, and might have been more fun in a Catch Me If You Can vein instead of relying on its overbearing seriousness—which, on par with the state of theater in 2024, concludes in a left-field screed about Holocaust denial.

And, as those around him begin to catch on, Dobson almost completely drops out as a character. I toggled between praising this as a clever distancing from our mystery man’s interiority and wondering if Sherman had just forgotten to fill in the blanks so deftly created by Levi Ross.

The Connector ultimately falls victim to a problem not unlike Dobson’s: the story spun is fun but its details are sketchy, the piece easily strayed by colorful characters too easy in their writerly employs, and an overall tendency toward editorial world-building (Beowulf Boritt does great scenic design work) when journalistic acuity would present a better study."

MemorableUserName
#62JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/6/24 at 8:05pm

NY Stage Review has one four-star review:

The Connector: A Splendid New Musical About Truth and Consequences

https://nystagereview.com/2024/02/06/the-connector-a-splendid-new-musical-about-truth-and-consequences/

And one three star review:

The Connector: Journalism Scandal Musical Feels Too Little, Too Late

https://nystagereview.com/2024/02/06/the-connector-journalism-scandal-musical-feels-too-little-too-late/

"What should be an engrossing tale of modern-day journalism (well, not really so modern) isn’t particularly well told in Sherman’s superficial book (Brown’s lyrics are actually more insightful). Ethan remains a cipher throughout, his motivations unclear and his ability to fool his supposedly savvy veteran editor less than convincing...

Even if you’re not already familiar with the real story (not to mention the many similar others, such as that of Janet Cooke), you pretty much know from the beginning what’s going to happen. That wouldn’t matter as much if the characters and situations had been drawn with more depth, but then that would leave less time for Brown’s superfluous-feeling score, which doesn’t really add much to the story. Nicely varied with a variety of styles including jazz, bossa nova and even rap (the composer’s trademark ballads are barely in evidence), the songs are certainly proficient but don’t make much of an impression. Except, ironically, for the numbers “Success,” “Wind in My Sails,” and “The Western Wall,” all revolving around Ethan’s made-up reports, that burst with a vibrant musicality and theatricality effectively conveying the stories’ fabulism.

The show certainly moves along at a sprightly pace during its intermissionless 105 minutes, thanks to the brisk pacing by frequent Brown directorial collaborator Daisy Prince, who’s also credited with conceiving the piece. The band, located atop the stage and conducted by Brown (as he often does), unfortunately frequently drowns out the vocals, especially those of younger leads Ross and Cruz who seem to have projection issues. That’s no problem for Bakula, returning to the New York stage after a long hiatus making big bucks in television series, or Molaskey, who stops the show with her lacerating rendition of “Proof.” Every once in a while, the ensemble engages in the sort of stylized movement (choreographed by Karla Puno Garcia) that’s less reminiscent of actual dancing than mild seizures. Let’s just say that Donald Trump could perform it effectively.

Beowulf Boritt’s scenic design, dominated by a back wall of magazine pages and huge piles of manuscripts at the sides of the stage, provides a striking visual effect at the show’s conclusion. It’s a powerful moment that overshadows the story’s predictable machinations which, despite the creators’ efforts to provide parallels to modern-day biased journalism featuring “alternative facts,” feel redundant. After all, one unscrupulous journalist making up stories to advance his ends doesn’t seem so shocking at a time when entire networks are doing it."

MemorableUserName
#63JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/6/24 at 8:34pm

AMNY is mixed:

https://www.amny.com/entertainment/theater/off-broadway-musical-dramatizes-cautionary-journalism-tragedy/

"For the most part, I found “The Connector” (which runs just under two hours without intermission) to be engrossing (particularly during explosive production numbers in which the protagonist narrates his stories, conjuring colorful and offbeat characters played by Max Crumm and Fergie Philippe) and sharp (with ominous warnings about how the internet and corporate overlords would remake journalism). The performances and the production values (with Brown himself on piano and conducting the band) are all first-rate.

That being said, the ending is rushed and downbeat, and the storytelling often gets bogged down in overemphasizing social criticisms as to gender, racial, and economic inequality in the workplace. One particularly bitter lyric at the very end, which invokes truth denial at its absolute worst, is very questionable and self-conscious. For fans of Brown’s musicals, it is not hard to imagine “The Connector” as a deviant retelling of “The Last Five Years” in which Jamie, the successful writer, is also a pathological liar and Cathy, the struggling spouse, becomes more outspoken and proactive."

MemorableUserName
#64JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/6/24 at 9:26pm

The Wrap is negative

https://www.thewrap.com/the-connector-off-broadway-review/

"In a recent New York Times interview with the creators of “The Connector,” director Daisy Prince points out, “It’s a bunch of women who bring [Ethan] down.”

Since it is “a bunch of women” that exposes Ethan’s fabricated articles, it’s odd that in this musical, the Robin character comes off more jealous and resentful than inventive and talented."

"It could be said that this is one of those terrific Brown scores, like “Honeymoon in Vegas” or “Mr. Saturday Night,” that is subverted by an inferior or problematic book. Unfortunately, it is his lyrics, more than Sherman’s book, that link today’s “fake news” mantra to the rare occurrence of dishonest journalists writing for established periodicals. In the end, “The Connector” is as reactionary as a right-wing politician who finds a typo in a Times or WaPo article and cries, “You can’t believe anything they print!”

Prince’s direction is breathtakingly fluid on Beowulf Boritt’s starkly modern set; the action moves across a variety of locales with great economy and almost no furniture. Ultimately that alacrity hits speed bumps as the material turns portentous, and Karla Puno Garcia’s choreography, with its dreary Martha Graham contractions, never fails to add pounds of pretentiousness to the increasingly heavy load."

MemorableUserName
#65JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/6/24 at 9:31pm

Vulture is mixed-to-negative

https://www.vulture.com/article/theater-review-jason-robert-browns-the-connector.html

"Ethan’s stories, as he becomes increasingly successful, seem too good to be true, and they probably are. Though the book, by Jonathan Marc Sherman, takes far too long to get around to that revelation, that’s not exactly a spoiler. Prince, Brown, and book writer Jonathan Marc Sherman have talked about being inspired by the cases of Stephen Glass, who fabricated a series of stories for The New Republic, and Jayson Blair, who did so at the Times. (The Connector could just be called Shattered Glass: The Musical, down to the fact that Ben Levi Ross, with a rumbly voice and delicate glasses, is sure to remind you of a young Hayden Christensen.) Dobson starts out with human-interest features, but then moves onto political scoops, claiming to have found a man with a videotape of a mayor smoking crack with a teenager, a plot point that also evokes Gawker and the Rob Ford recording. The piece is catnip for his boss, who steamrolls past the fact-checkers to get it published.

Right there, my alarm bells went off. The real Stephen Glass did something like that, smearing Clinton ally Vernon Jordan by way of invented sources, but those were fictions embedded within an appealing narrative, which made it juicy, not a story all built around a single unverifiable character and artifact. It’s hard to imagine that a serious magazine would go full-speed ahead with that, doubly so with Ethan’s excuse that it’s a character study meant to ask, “what is truth?” Sure, you need something obvious to make even the less attentive members of the audience sense that something’s amiss, but The Connector, as a whole, continually skimps on the nitty-gritty details. What does an editing process look like, and how exactly could you game it? (Shattered Glass did this exceptionally well, showing precisely how he faked out his own fact-checker.) I love a good song about procedure—in recent memory, Kimberly Akimbo taught me so much about washing checks—and there’s plenty in the machinery of journalism to dramatize: the interviews, the first edit, the second edit, the fact calls, even fighting about what sentences to lose when you cut to fit to a print layout.

Brown, a capital-R romantic, however, writes toward sweeps of emotion, not minutiae. We see Ethan’s writing by way of musical set pieces that focus on the stories themselves, not the work that might’ve gone into them. They play out over Beowulf Borritt’s Tron grid of a set (MCC can reuse it if it’s ever staging a Chess revival) with busy gestural choreography by Karla Puno Garcia. Early on, there’s a verbally dexterous number about a Scrabble star, then a solo for that unverifiable informant, and later a puzzling group number for a story set at the Wailing Wall. The framing leaves us in the dark about the specifics of how all this material was reported, or alternatively, forged. Glass himself was a high-school drama star who went to absurd lengths to make his work seem real—in his maybe-confessional novel, a character playacts a phone transcript with himself!—and any journalist will tell you those are the sorts of details that make a story sing. There’s a good musical in those schemes, but this one misses the trees for a vaguer forest."

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AC126748
#66JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/7/24 at 11:00am

Does anyone know if Hannah Cruz is staying through the entire extension? She's got SUFFS on deck.


"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body

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TaffyDavenport
#67JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/7/24 at 11:03am

From the MCC website:

Beginning Tuesday, March 5, Ashley Pérez Flanagan will assume the role of ROBIN MARTINEZ and Joanna Carpenter will join the performing ensemble. Hannah Cruz’s final performance will be on Sunday, March 3.

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Jordan Catalano
#68JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/7/24 at 11:19am

Personally, I find it interesting how I’m usually the one who doesn’t like most of JRB’s stuff and so many others do when it seems to be the exact opposite with this one. 

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AC126748
#69JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/7/24 at 12:02pm

TaffyDavenport said: "From the MCC website:

Beginning Tuesday, March 5, Ashley Pérez Flanagan will assume the role ofROBIN MARTINEZand Joanna Carpenter will join the performing ensemble. Hannah Cruz’s final performance will be on Sunday, March 3.
"

Thanks for that. (Must be relatively new -- I didn't see any such message when I checked the website earlier today.) I'm actually going on March 3, so I guess I'll be at Hannah's final show.


"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body

CJRochester
mcsquared
#71JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/8/24 at 9:22pm

Any buzz yet whether it will go to Broadway or regional productions?

PipingHotPiccolo
#72JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/8/24 at 10:17pm

Jordan Catalano said: "Personally, I find it interesting how I’m usually the one who doesn’t like most of JRB’s stuff and so many others do when it seems to be the exact opposite with this one."

I'm with you. The score, performances, all did it for me. Was engaged start to finish and could listen those voices/songs forever. Dont disagree with the criticisms of the story necessarily but a fun time is a fun time. Shrug.

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CoffeeBreak
#73JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/8/24 at 11:52pm

mcsquared said: "Any buzz yet whether it will go to Broadway or regional productions?"

Unlikely it will transfer to Broadway.

 

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Jordan Catalano
#74JRB's THE CONNECTOR at MCC will star Scott Bakula, Jessica Molaskey, Ben Levi Ross, & more
Posted: 2/8/24 at 11:57pm

I was told they are doing a cast recording, at least.