LEMPICKA Previews

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CoffeeBreak
#75LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 12:04am

2 said: "Strong choices – wrong choices. It isnot the worst musical of the season, but that bar is low."

It was low - then ILLINOISE entered joined the scene.

chrishuyen
#76LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 1:58am

I thought this was one of the stronger shows of the season so far, especially this early in previews, though I feel like something is stopping me from loving it (and I'd say it's still a little uneven in places).  I think right out of the gate, the way the show starts is quite thrilling (the pop/rock element comes in hard and heavy on the first downbeat), and Eden is a fantastic presence on stage. 

The story itself is a pretty interesting character study of a lesser well-known artist and a depiction of her resilience and strength through some turbulent times, so I felt like I was fairly engaged with Tamara as a character throughout, though it takes a while to get into the "meat" of the show.  The first three numbers are all fairly long and flow into each other with little dialogue between, to the point where I was wondering if the show was sung through, and those songs cover a lot of exposition that at the same time seem to cover too much and not enough.  The wedding to the revolution to rescuing Tadeusz to going to Paris felt like quick snapshots that weren't given much time to breathe (except for the rescuing Tadeusz part), but also in the full scope of the show felt like they took a long time before getting to the interesting part of the show (ie Tamara's life and career as a painter).  But then in Paris, it was really unclear to me how much time had passed and how they had made a living for those 8-10(?) years when Tadeusz refused to get a job and Tamara didn't seem to have much success.

"I Will Paint Her" and "Perfection" was where I thought the story really picked up and really started to delve into who Tamara was and why she inspired a musical, though some of the character choices made by people like Tadeusz, Kizette, and Marinetti still remained a little underwritten through the rest of the show (though I thought Marinetti's songs were weirdly enjoyable in "what is even happening" kind of way, and Suzy was always a delight every time she was on stage).  There's also some waffling between her husband and Rafaela that Tamara does in the second act that didn't feel fully explained to me, where we kind of just had to accept that this was a conflict she was dealing with.  The last few songs also seemed to rush through some scenes, though I loved the way the show ended.

I think most of the music is interesting in a "powerful" way, there's a lot of high belting and the audience when I went was VERY receptive (some extended cheering before the song was done, which seemed unearned to me), but it seemed to have more gravitas than other "contemporary musical theater" scores.  I could be wrong in my categorization, but a lot of the songs seemed to have a Euro pop sensibility, though i don't know that a lot of the tunes would be instantly memorable or have super catchy hooks.  When I had seen the Woman Is music video prior to the show, I didn't really think much of the song outside of Eden's performance, but in the show I think it worked MUCH better for me, and I could understand why that was the song they chose to showcase.

I'm pretty mixed on both the set and the costumes.  The set is plain black for most of the time, outside of the projections which showcase either a black and white scene or a sliver of Lempicka's paintings (it also drove me crazy we could never see the whole thing at once), so the main set was pretty boring to look at, but I do think it made the moments of color pop even more (some nice lighting also added a bit of texture and color to the stage).  There's one platform that seems to be perpetually moving back and forth, and I guess it's so they can change the furniture on the platform (it shifts between a bedroom, a studio, and a gallery, among others), but it seemed almost tiring to watch it move along the same 10 foot track all the time.  I agree that a lot of the trap doors don't really seem to add much (outside of maybe one scene early in the show), and the one that opened up for Suzy's bar--I didn't understand what that was representing at all?  

I think the idea for the costumes interest me more than the actual execution--a lot of bustier and corset tops in the ensemble gave it a sort of technopunk futurist kind of look, while the main characters were dressed in something more rooted in historical fashion.  But because the set is so monochrome (mostly black, really) and a good amount of the ensemble's outfits are also colored black, it sometimes felt lazy or uninspired, and a few times it just didn't seem to suit the scene at all.  I did actually enjoy the choreography and movement quite a bit, even if they weren't necessarily as tied into the scenes as I'd like them to be, but I think they added to the spirit of the scene, especially in songs like Paris and The New Woman

These critiques might sound like I didn't really enjoy the show, but I think while watching the show I was really able to let it wash over me, and once the story got going it moved at a decent clip and I was excited to see what would come next. The overall product felt pretty polished and it's only in thinking about it afterward that I can dive into some of its weaknesses, so I guess your mileage may vary in what you do/don't notice while watching it.  At the very least I think it will net Eden Espinosa a Tony nom (and probably Amber Iman as well), and I think it stands a good chance to be nominated for Best Musical/Book/Score despite my misgivings (and they do still have almost the whole preview period to work things out).

TDF put me in orchestra right, though if I were choosing seats, I think I'd favor house left over house right, since there's a set piece that may block a bit of the upper level when sitting house right.

blasvader
#77LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 11:59am

The glimpses in the press preview were not to my taste, but of two people I trust, one hated it and one loved it. So so curious about reviews for this one

Listener
#78LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 12:04pm

I'm really hoping this has good reviews and a healthy run for Eden's sake. If it tanks, will it hurt her reputation, you think? She's a wonderful performer and should have starred in more shows.

So far, the criticisms all seem valid, and just a 30 clip of Our Time has the chorus repeating those two words over and over. Not good.

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dramamama611
#79LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 12:17pm

This was my number one new musical to see.  I don't go for a couple more weeks, but these reports are making me sad!   Keeping my fingers crossed!


If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.

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bwayphreak234
#80LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 12:25pm

chrishuyen said: "I thought this was one of the stronger shows of the season so far, especially this early in previews, though I feel like something is stopping me from loving it (and I'd say it's still a little uneven in places). I think right out of the gate, the way the show starts is quite thrilling (the pop/rock element comes in hard and heavy on the first downbeat), and Eden is a fantastic presence on stage.

The story itself is a pretty interesting character study of a lesser well-known artist and a depiction of her resilience and strength through some turbulent times, so I felt like I was fairly engaged with Tamara as a character throughout, though it takes a while to get into the "meat" of the show. The first three numbers are all fairly long and flow into each other with little dialogue between, to the point where I was wondering if the show was sung through, and those songs cover a lot of exposition that at the same time seem to cover too much and not enough. The wedding to the revolution to rescuing Tadeusz to going to Paris felt like quick snapshots that weren't given much time to breathe (except for the rescuing Tadeusz part), but also in the full scope of the show felt like they took a long timebefore getting to the interesting part of the show (ie Tamara's life and career as a painter). But then in Paris, it was really unclear to me how much time had passed and how they had made a living for those 8-10(?) years when Tadeusz refused to get a job and Tamara didn't seem to have much success.

"I Will Paint Her" and "Perfection" was where I thought the story really picked up and really started to delve into who Tamara was and why she inspired a musical, though some of the character choices made by people like Tadeusz, Kizette, and Marinetti still remained a little underwritten through the rest of the show (though I thought Marinetti's songs were weirdly enjoyable in "what is even happening" kind of way, and Suzy was always a delight every time she was on stage). There's also some waffling between her husband and Rafaela that Tamara does in the second act that didn't feel fully explained to me, where we kind of just had to accept that this was a conflict she was dealing with. The last few songs also seemed to rush through some scenes, though I loved the way the show ended.

I think most of the music is interesting in a "powerful" way, there's a lot of high belting and the audience when I went was VERY receptive (some extended cheering before the song was done, which seemed unearned to me), but it seemed to have more gravitas than other "contemporary musical theater" scores. I could be wrong in my categorization, but a lot of the songs seemed to have a Euro pop sensibility, though i don't know that a lot of the tunes would be instantly memorable or have super catchy hooks. When I had seen the Woman Is music video prior to the show, I didn't really think much of the song outside of Eden's performance, but in the show I think it worked MUCH better for me, and I could understand why that was the song they chose to showcase.

I'm pretty mixed on both the set and the costumes. The set is plain black for most of the time, outside of the projections which showcase either a black and white scene or a sliver of Lempicka's paintings (it also drove me crazy we could never see the whole thing at once), so the main set was pretty boring to look at, but I do think it made the moments of color pop even more (some nice lighting also added a bit of texture and color to the stage). There's one platform that seems to be perpetually moving back and forth, and I guess it's so they can change the furniture on the platform (it shifts between a bedroom, a studio, and a gallery, among others), but it seemed almost tiring to watch it move along the same 10 foot track all the time. I agree that a lot of the trap doors don't really seem to add much (outside of maybe one scene early in the show), and the one that opened up for Suzy's bar--I didn't understand what that was representing at all?

I think the idea for the costumes interest me more than the actual execution--a lot of bustier and corset tops in the ensemble gave it a sort of technopunk futurist kind of look, while the main characters were dressed in something more rooted in historical fashion. But because the set is so monochrome (mostly black, really) and a good amount of the ensemble's outfits are also colored black, it sometimes felt lazy or uninspired, and a few times it just didn't seem to suit the scene at all. I did actually enjoy the choreography and movement quite a bit, even if they weren't necessarily as tied into the scenes as I'd like them to be, but I think they added to the spirit of the scene, especially in songs like Paris and The New Woman

These critiques might sound like I didn't really enjoy the show, but I think while watching the show I was really able to let it wash over me, and once the story got going it moved at a decent clip and I was excited to see what would come next.The overall product felt pretty polished and it's only in thinking about it afterward that I can dive into some of its weaknesses, so I guess your mileage may vary in what you do/don't notice while watching it. At the very least I think it will net Eden Espinosa a Tony nom (and probably Amber Iman as well), and I think it stands a good chance to be nominated for Best Musical/Book/Score despite my misgivings (and they do still have almost the whole preview period to work things out).

TDF put me in orchestra right, though if I were choosing seats, I think I'd favor house left over house right, since there's a set piece that may block a bit of the upper level when sitting house right.
"

Great review - sounds like we both had similar thoughts and feelings, though I think I was more impressed by the scenic design than you were. 

Like you said, this is a show I thoroughly enjoyed in the moment, but there are definitely some flaws (mainly with the book and some of the character development - or underdevelopment or characters in this case, I suppose). I really hope they re-examine the ending a bit. Beth Leavel's character, the baroness, getting a big scene and song towards the end of the show after having next to nothing to do all evening was perplexing to me and not an effective choice.


"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "

Voter
#81LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 12:34pm

ISO of the content warning for this show.

 

Are there any gun shots in this show? 

gibsons2
#82LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 12:51pm

Voter said: "ISO of the content warning for this show.



Are there any gun shots in this show?
"

None

kurtal
#83LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 1:27pm

I saw the Saturday matinee performance from the Balcony (B18, I think...house left).  

To be clear, this show is structurally a mess, but I liked more of it than I didn't like. 

Highlights:

The performances, across the board, were excellent.  Eden is fantastic, even though it's not clear for a long time what we're supposed to think of Tamara.  Andrew Samonsky performs the hell out of a role that is horribly written.  Amber Iman brought the house down with her numbers -- and probably has the best overall arc.  Natalie Joy Johnson stole the show as Suzy.  Beth Leavel did great with her one number, even though she is now left criminally underused.  George Abud was a weird frenetic gremlin that totally worked for the character.

I liked the set and design overall.  Some of the songs were wonderful.  I thought the show was strongest when it was exploring the complexity of an artist developing their vision -- and how it reflected both their personal lives and the broader societal shifts around them. 

I think the problem is that they tried to include too much of Lempicka's life.  The first half of the first act was exhausting to get through.  At intermission, I turned to a neighbor and said "Well, once we got through knock-off Anastasia and into Lesbians in the Park with George, I was hooked".  I don't know if this would work better as a memory play -- start with Lempicka at the end of her life and retelling the story of how she developed her voice?  I don't know...but the current beginning is exhausting...and it sets Lempicka up as a secondary character to the forces of history...which undercuts her agency for the rest of the show.  The two characters I struggled with the most were Tadeusz and Kizette.  Their relationships with Tamara were uncohesive and didn't seemed motivated by anything in the text.  And Tadeusz's "woe is me, I used to be rich" song doesn't work at all...it's *way* too earnest and comes at the wrong point in the show.  The love triangle later, especially in "I see what you see in her" was actually really interesting, but it didn't seem like the same Tadeusz who had threatened to strike Lempicka shortly after they arrived in Paris --- and it wasn't clear how he made that journey.  I have similar issues with Kizette -- she loves her mom.  She hates her mom.  She's jealous of her mom.  She wants to be her mom.  She wants to be nothing like her mom.  All of these perspectives are valid, but we're not given anything in the text to understand where it's coming from or why it's changed throughout the show.

So, look, if you're looking for a seamlessly structured show that has a clear narrative arc or clear intentions for all of its principal characters -- look elsewhere.

But if you're down to watch some powerhouse performers give their all in a show that occasionally finds some really poignant and interesting things to say, then it's definitely worth it.  I liked it a lot more than the actually quality of the show would normally merit.

kurtal
#84LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 1:29pm

chrishuyen said: "These critiques might sound like I didn't really enjoy the show, but I think while watching the show I was really able to let it wash over me, and once the story got going it moved at a decent clip and I was excited to see what would come next.The overall product felt pretty polished and it's only in thinking about it afterward that I can dive into some of its weaknesses, so I guess your mileage may vary in what you do/don't notice while watching it. At the very least I think it will net Eden Espinosa a Tony nom (and probably Amber Iman as well), and I think it stands a good chance to be nominated for Best Musical/Book/Score despite my misgivings (and they do still have almost the whole preview period to work things out)."

This very much sums up my experience much more succinctly than my ramblings above.

 

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TheatreFan4
#85LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 3:24pm

This is a show that I'm really going to enjoy listening to the cast recording of so I hope that comes sooner rather than later? Does anyone know if they recorded it yet? I figured the songs are pretty much put in place at this point and Sony Masterworks is a producer on it. 

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B.JAMES
#86LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 3:42pm

TheatreFan4 said: "This is a show that I'm really going to enjoy listening to the cast recording of so I hope that comes sooner rather than later? Does anyone know if they recorded it yet? I figured the songs are pretty much put in place at this point and Sony Masterworks is a producer on it."

3 of the main songs from the show have a version from 2022 on Apple Music/Spotify that I have been listening to on repeat.

TheatreFan4 Profile Photo
TheatreFan4
#87LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/24/24 at 9:57pm

B.JAMES said: "

3 of the main songs from the show have a version from 2022 on Apple Music/Spotify that I have been listening to on repeat."

Oh yeah, I've been listening those for a long time. 

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Broadway Flash
#88LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 1:21am

That song playing in the trailer is dreadful.  Generic contemporary musical theatre awfulness. 

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binau
#89LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 8:28am

Interestingly they changed the album artwork and meta data on the 3 tracks, making it clear they are from '2022 sessions''. Ready to distinguish between what I assume will be the proper original OBC, but who knows when that will be done. 


"You can't overrate Bernadette Peters. She is such a genius. There's a moment in "Too Many Mornings" and Bernadette doing 'I wore green the last time' - It's a voice that is just already given up - it is so sorrowful. Tragic. You can see from that moment the show is going to be headed into such dark territory and it hinges on this tiny throwaway moment of the voice." - Ben Brantley (2022) "Bernadette's whole, stunning performance [as Rose in Gypsy] galvanized the actors capable of letting loose with her. Bernadette's Rose did take its rightful place, but too late, and unseen by too many who should have seen it" Arthur Laurents (2009) "Sondheim's own favorite star performances? [Bernadette] Peters in ''Sunday in the Park,'' Lansbury in ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''obviously, Ethel was thrilling in 'Gypsy.'' Nytimes, 2000

kwoc91
#90LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 9:35am

Saw this on Friday night. While it was far from perfect, it's the first new musical I've seen in a while that made me want to listen to the cast recording immediately after getting home (hoping that comes soon!). 

I thought Eden Espinosa really shined in this performance, especially when she's able to utilize her rich lower register, and I also thought she deftly portrayed a complex character who is not 100% likable. However, I texted several friends at intermission that there's no way she can sing this role 8x a week for months on end, so I'm curious to see what happens w/ Mariand Torres and how often she will end up performing.

Amber Iman is a star and should definitely be in the Tony conversation.

From a direction and design POV - there are some high highs and some low lows. There were several moments where the stage looked so sparse and cheap, so I'm hoping they continue to make tweaks between now and opening. I also think it is cruel and unusual punishment to make Eden sing Woman Is while quite literally running up and down stairs for no reason. Let her park and bark!!

All that being said, I actually can't wait to see it again. 

 

Updated On: 3/25/24 at 09:35 AM

forfivemoreminutes
#91LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 2:08pm

I have two TDF tickets for Lempicka available for Wednesday March 27 at 8 pm. $61 if anyone wants to purchase. I am also attending the show; I just bought different seats when they became available for a good price and now want to sell the TDF ones. I will pick up the tickets at the box office and give them to you in person. DM me if you're interested! Happy to send proof of purchase via email.

KarenValentine'sheadband
#92LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 3:28pm

These reviews are reminded me of the reviews of Harmony. Even the preview song "Our Time" is similar in title of Harmony's "This is our time." Tough times for new musicals. 

RW3
#93LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 3:37pm

According to Eden’s Instagram story, they are putting in a new opening number into the show tonight. 

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ErmengardeStopSniveling
#94LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 4:28pm

RW3 said: "According to Eden’s Instagram story, they are putting in a new opening number into the show tonight."

Interesting! Glad to see them making good use of previews.

Wonder if it's an entirely new song, or just new staging or an update to the existing song.

somecheapfrenchthing
#95LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 5:00pm

ErmengardeStopSniveling said: "RW3 said: "According to Eden’s Instagram story, they are putting in a new opening number into the show tonight."

Interesting! Glad to see them making good use of previews.

Wonder if it's an entirelynew song, or just new staging or an update to the existing song.
"

 

RW3 said: "According to Eden’s Instagram story, they are putting in a new opening number into the show tonight."

Happy to hear they're still working on it. I would love if they reinstated some of the music from the Williamstown opening number. Even though some of the lyrics were a bit cliche - e.g. all of the "Happily Ever After," the music was exciting and there were some beautiful moments (does anyone who saw this iteration remember the "never give up till you get what you want and I want you" part?).

Overall I've felt very torn about some of the cuts made. I agree that everything flows better without Burn It Up but I also miss it so much! Same with The Exchange, Stillness, and the cut parts of Starting Over from La Jolla. I feel the book has improved and matured considerably, but I also partially agree with the poster who mentioned feeling like something might've gotten lost along the way from Williamstown to Broadway... can't exactly put my finger on what it is, but I don't get the same chills from this current version that I got my first two viewings at Williamstown. For that reason I'd love to see some of the old stuff reworked and reinstated. 

 

Ptero2
#96LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 5:25pm

binau said: "Interestingly they changed the album artwork and meta data on the 3 tracks, making it clear they are from '2022 sessions''. Ready to distinguish between what I assume will be the proper original OBC, but who knows when that will be done."

I noticed they cut out the dialogue between Marinetti/Tamara/Baroness in Perfection (the "who decides?" part) when I saw the first preview. Made me sad because I really liked that part.

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jkcohen626
#97LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 6:15pm

RW3 said: "According to Eden’s Instagram story, they are putting in a new opening number into the show tonight."

I LOVE a show that's willing to make big changes in previews! So many shows feel basically locked before they start performances nowadays. 

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TheatreFan4
#98LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 7:26pm

RW3 said: "According to Eden’s Instagram story, they are putting in a new opening number into the show tonight."

Oh thank god. There are parts of it that like, but it just doesn't work...

BETTY22
#99LEMPICKA Previews
Posted: 3/25/24 at 7:55pm

This is a very good sign. I saw an early preview but will with hold thoughts until I see the show again in a few weeks.

Let's hope they don't stop with just the opening number......


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