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WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews

jacobsnchz14 Profile Photo
jacobsnchz14
#1WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/20/24 at 10:52am

The critically acclaimed bestselling novel WATER FOR ELEPHANTS comes to vivid life on Broadway in a unique, spectacle-filled new musical.   

Directed by Tony Award® nominee Jessica Stone (Kimberly Akimbo), with a book by three-time Tony nominee Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher) adapted from Sara Gruen’s novel, and a soaring score by the acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co., WATER FOR ELEPHANTS unites innovative stagecraft with the very best of Broadway talent in an authentic and deeply moving new musical that invites us all to give ourselves to the unknown.

Previews began on Saturday, February 24 at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway, and the show is set to open on Thursday, March 21. 

Kad Profile Photo
Kad
#2WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/20/24 at 10:56am

I’m expecting a lot of circus wordplay. 


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."

jacobsnchz14 Profile Photo
jacobsnchz14
#3WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 12:05pm

What're we thinkin', friends?

theatretenor2 Profile Photo
theatretenor2
#4WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 12:22pm

I'm going to be optimistic here based on recent comments that the show has improved, and I'm sure it improved since I saw it in Atlanta.

Did they like it?

0 positive

70% mixed

30% negative

Phillytheatreguy10 Profile Photo
Phillytheatreguy10
#5WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 12:28pm

With what the reviews were for The Notebook, IMO not only these reviews, but the reviews of the new musicals left to open are harder to predict than usual- and reviews are already so unpredictable! Save for maybe Illinoise, which is opening close to their Off Broadway run and I doubt will change drastically. This year's Best Musical race is wide open, which is pretty exciting. 

Bill Snibson Profile Photo
Bill Snibson
#6WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 1:04pm

I would anticipate a lot of mixed leaning toward negative. The show is fine but never takes off. The book and score are just kind of mid/safe.

Jordan Catalano Profile Photo
Jordan Catalano
#7WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 1:12pm

I agree with Bill. I’m extremely curious to see how this one fares tonight. 

BETTY22
#8WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 1:37pm

I fear they are going to be vicious. The day I saw it both Jesse Green and Elizabeth V were in the audience. 

The show isn't great - but it isn't awful. I hope the critics are kind.....all the new musicals need all the help they can get selling tickets. 

Kad Profile Photo
Kad
#9WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 1:51pm

I don't know if they'll be vicious- Green may want to pace himself after his Notebook review. But I would be surprised if they weren't very mixed and deliberately worded to avoid pull quotes.


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."

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MayAudraBlessYou2
#10WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 2:01pm

I think they will be mostly mixed (though I didn't except some of the savagery in The Notebook reviews so who really knows).

It felt to me like the show is straddling two worlds: it wants to be both a homespun, stripped down affair (much like a traditional Pig Pen show) AND a lavish, energetic Broadway spectacle. I sort of wish they had just pursued one of those avenues as it doesnt always marry these two elements successfully. The two biggest issues imo: Gustin's main character desperately needs an earlier establishing moment to lure the audience in (as of now, it doesn't really happen until 3/4 of the way through act 1) and I think it needs a more exciting opening number (I felt the show took too long to really settle into its groove). I definitely enjoyed the show and am glad I saw it. But I expect it to get "B" grade reviews: entertaining but with some flaws.

I think the circus and stagecraft/puppetry will be praised. Paul Alexander Nolan and Gregg Edelman will likely get raves, while Gustin and McCalla will probably receive nice notices for their voices with caveats that the script doesn't flesh out their characters as much as it could. (Or the critics will pull a Notebook and just fully do their own thing haha).

 

theatretenor2 Profile Photo
theatretenor2
#11WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 7:15pm

Is the show at 7 or 8 tonight?

DaveyG
#12WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 7:23pm

theatretenor2 said: "Is the show at 7 or 8 tonight?"

6:30pm curtain.

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theatretenor2
#13WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 7:26pm

DaveyG said: "theatretenor2 said: "Is the show at 7 or 8 tonight?"

6:30pm curtain.
"

So we should see reviews any time.

Springtime
#14WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 7:33pm

At 9pm for Adam Feldman.

BETTY22
#15WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 7:41pm

NYT between 9-10pm!

 

MemorableUserName
#16WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:05pm

So, it's Rex Reed, who hates most things and who loved Beanie in Funny Girl, so take what you will from it:

Observer: ‘Water for Elephants’ Theater Review: “I’ve Never Hated Any Show More”

https://observer.com/2024/03/water-for-elephants-theater-review-the-worst-broadway-show-ever/

"After suffering through the new Broadway musical The Notebook, I thought I had seen the worst of what the 2024 season would bring. I was wrong. I had not seen Water for Elephants yet. Now I have. It can’t get any deadlier than this."

Adeliciaboy
#17WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:12pm

Greetings fellow opening night review monitors.  If there is any justice left in the Broadway world  around Times Square  W4E should be declared a train wreck and dispatched to whatever graveyard is reserved for expensive theatrical disasters.   Rumors began circulating in the hours before opening that massive work had been done to improve  the show.  I was at the first preview and only a miracle could have made that show much more than a boring mediocrity.   And that's the last thing Broadway needs at this juncture.  That said,  what's left of the critics community has been known to be blatantly political at times and give a pass to some blatantly undeserving shows.  I would not at all be surprised if critics were far kinder to this show than it deserves. but we shall see.

Matt Rogers Profile Photo
Matt Rogers
#18WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:25pm

Adeliciaboy said: "Greetings fellow opening night review monitors. If there is any justice left in the Broadway world around Times Square W4E should be declared a train wreck and dispatched to whatever graveyard is reserved for expensive theatrical disasters. Rumors began circulating in the hours before opening that massive work had been done to improve the show. I was at the first preview and only a miracle could have made that show much more than a boring mediocrity. And that's the last thing Broadway needs at this juncture. That said, what's left of the critics community has been known to be blatantly political at times and give a pass to some blatantly undeserving shows. I would not at all be surprised if critics were far kinder to this show than it deserves. but we shall see."

Yikes. Maybe you’re right. Maybe not. But that is a really  vicious and probably unnecessary review on a thread called Opening Night Critics Reviews. 

BETTY22
#19WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:30pm

Shame on him. Cruel and unnecessary.

in 2024 I’m shocked his editor published this. It’s a review from a different time. 

perfectliar
#20WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:39pm

"Based on another novel that has outlived its time and now sits gathering dust on the shelves of libraries on the verge of extinction..."

This is a gross but hysterically un-self aware statement for an 85 year-old theatre critic to make.

The8re phan Profile Photo
The8re phan
#21WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:47pm

and our modern-day battle to be swarmier than Michael Riedel continues......

 


Slotted spoons don't hold much soup
Updated On: 3/21/24 at 08:47 PM

MemorableUserName
#22WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:48pm

4 stars/recommended from TimeOut:

"Step right up, come one, come all, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up to the greatest—well, okay, not the greatest show on Broadway, but a dang fine show nonetheless."

https://www.timeout.com/newyork/theater/water-for-elephants-broadway-musical-review-circus

"Where Water for Elephants really soars, though, is in the real-life physical talents on display. Carroll shares choreography credit with Jesse Robb, and they seamlessly integrate circus artistry into the show’s other movement. Members of the ensemble perform impressive aerial acts on ropes, silks and straps, and show off a dazzling variety of circus acts: acrobatics, tumbling, balancing, juggling, Cyr Wheel. Although the principal actors sing well and flesh out their roles commendably—McCalla is particularly good in her second-act decision song, “What Do You Do?”—they are effectively the sideshow here. The main attraction is the pull of the circus itself. "

KevinKlawitter
#23WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:55pm

MemorableUserName said: "So, it's Rex Reed, who hates most things and who loved Beanie in Funny Girl, so take what you will from it:

Observer:‘Water for Elephants’ Theater Review: “I’ve Never Hated Any Show More”

https://observer.com/2024/03/water-for-elephants-theater-review-the-worst-broadway-show-ever/

"After suffering through the new Broadway musical The Notebook, I thought I had seen the worst of what the 2024 season would bring. I was wrong. I had not seen Water for Elephants yet. Now I have. It can’t get any deadlier than this."
"

Seeing Rex Reed's name in these threads is always a jump-scare to me after was basically run out of film criticism because nobody took him seriously. But I guess him working for the Observer is like Armond White reviewing movies for the National Review.

MemorableUserName
#24WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 8:56pm

4 stars and 3 stars from NY Stage Review:

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS: A THRILLING THROWBACK TO THE HEYDAY OF THE BIG TOP

By Sandy MacDonald

★★★★☆ This “circus musical” occupies an impressively big tent, probing the power dynamics that affect the human animal.

https://nystagereview.com/2024/03/21/water-for-elephants-a-thrilling-throwback-to-the-heyday-of-the-big-top/

 

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS: HEAVY LIFTING FOR A MUSICAL

By Frank Scheck

★★★☆☆ Acrobatics and puppetry abound in this musical adaptation of the best-selling novel about a love triangle that takes place in a Depression-era traveling circus.

https://nystagereview.com/2024/03/21/water-for-elephants-heavy-lifting-for-a-musical/

 

MemorableUserName
#25WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Opening Night Critics' Reviews
Posted: 3/21/24 at 9:01pm

B- from Entertainment Weekly

Water for Elephants review: Dazzling circus performers steal Grant Gustin's spotlight in his Broadway debut

Step right up to experience the razzle-dazzle of a circus, live on Broadway.

https://ew.com/water-for-elephants-review-broadway-grant-gustin-8612582

"If nothing else, we never wonder how Jacob is swept away by the circus. The romance may fall short, and the songs lack a certain luster, but the magic of the circus is winning. Grade: B–"


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