Bye Bye Birdie an Ear-Slapping Bad Time, Raves Ben Brantley


Last week, Michael Riedel warned us of the ear-damaging potential of Bye Bye Birdie's singing cast. It's a shame that poor Ben Brantley didn't listen. In the Times' hilarious review this morning, Brantley mocks the poor harmonizing ability of Bill Irwin, and notes that the vocal work of stars John Stamos and Gina Gershon tends "to slide distractingly off key ... enough to make you want to hit your ear." And there's more acclaim where that came from! Brantley compares the show's winking attitude to that of an "Old Navy or Nick at Nite ad," expressing bafflement over the sets and costumes, and brands the whole thing "the most painful example of misapplied talent on Broadway" since last season's Mary-Louise Parker–starring Hedda Gabler. (New York's Scott Brown is a little more generous, but he didn't love it either.) Riedel today wonders how long it'll be before Henry Miller's Theatre is available for corporate events. Unless Don Rickles and Bob Saget are hired as full-time cast members, presumably not very.

Dirty 'Birdie' secrets [NYP]
Music to Play, Places to Go, People to See [NYT]

Related: Just Put on a Happy Face [NYM]