Belasco Theatre, (11/04/2010 - 1/02/2011)

First Preview: Oct 08, 2010
Opening Date: Nov 04, 2010
Closing Date: Jan 02, 2011
Total Previews: 30
Total Performances: 69

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)

Produced by Lincoln Center Theater (André Bishop: Artistic Director; Bernard Gersten: Executive Producer); Musical Theater Associate Producer: Ira Weitzman; Produced in association with Bob Boyett

Book by Jeffrey Lane; Music by David Yazbek; Lyrics by David Yazbek; Based on the film "Women on the Verge..." by Pedro Almodóvar; Musical Director: James Abbott; Music orchestrated by Simon Hale; Additional Orchestrations by James Abbott and David Yazbek

Directed by Bartlett Sher; Choreographed by Christopher Gattelli; Associate Director: Sarna Lapine; Associate Choreographer: Lou Castro

Scenic Design by Michael Yeargan; Costume Design by Catherine Zuber; Lighting Design by Brian MacDevitt; Sound Design by Scott Lehrer; Wig Design by Charles LaPointe; Make-Up Design by Dick Page; Projection Design by Sven Ortel; Ariel Design by The Sky Box; Associate Scenic Design: Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams; Associate Lighting Design: Jennifer Schriever; Associate Sound Design: Drew Levy; Associate Projection Design: S. Katy Tucker

LCT General Manager: Adam Siegel; Company Manager: Matthew Markoff; Associate Co. Mgr: Josh Lowenthal

Production Manager: Jeff Hamlin; Production Stage Manager: Rolt Smith; Technical Supervisor: Patrick Merryman and William Nagle

Conducted by Jim Abbott; Associate Conductor: Marco Paguia; Drums: Dean Sharenow; Bass: Brian Hamm; Guitar: Erik Della Penna; Keyboard 1: Marco Paguia; Keyboard 2: James Abbott; Percussion: Javier Diaz; Trumpet: CJ Camerieri; Trombone: Tim Albright; French Horn: R.J. Kelley; Reed 1: Todd Groves; Reed 2: Dan Willis; Reed 3: Alden C. Banta; Violin 1/Concertmaster: Lori Miller; Violin 2: Entcho Todorov; Viola: Jonathan Dinklage; Cello: Anik Oulianine; Musical Coordinator: Dean Sharenow

Special Effects by Gregory Meeh

Dance Captain: John Carroll; Dialect Coach: Deborah Hecht; Casting: Telsey + Company; General Press Representative: Philip Rinaldi Publicity; Advertising: Serino Coyne, Inc.; LCT Director of Marking: Linda Mason Ross; LCT Director of Development: Hattie K. Jutagir; Photographer: Paul Kolnik

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Opening Night Cast

Sherie Rene ScottPepa
Patti LuPoneLucia
Brian Stokes MitchellIvan
Julio AgustinAmbite
De'Adre AzizaPaulina
Laura BenantiCandela
Danny BursteinTaxi Driver
Alma CuervoWoman in Cinema
Ivan's Concierge
Magistrate 2
Justin GuariniCarlos
Murphy GuyerHector
TV Husband
Chief Inspector
Nina LafargaWoman at Train
Nikka Graff LanzaroneMarisa
Yanira MarinEnsemble
Sean McCourtMan in Cinema
Vivian NixonEnsemble
Mary Beth PeilPepa's Concierge
TV and Radio Announcer
Luis SalgadoMalik
Jennifer SanchezCristina
Phillip SpaethEnsemble
Matthew SteffensEnsemble
Charlie SuttonMan at Train
Telephone Repairman

Swings: John Carroll, Rachel Bay Jones, John Schiappa and Samantha Shafer

Understudies: Julio Agustin (Malik), De'Adre Aziza (Pepa), John Carroll (Malik, Man at Train, Telephone Repairman), Alma Cuervo (Lucia, Pepa's Concierge), Rachel Bay Jones (Ivan's Concierge, Lucia, Magistrate 2, Pepa's Concierge, Woman in Cinema), Nina Lafarga (Marisa, Paulina), Yanira Marin (Ana, Cristina, Marisa), Sean McCourt (Chief Inspector, Ivan, Taxi Driver), Vivian Nixon (Candela, Paulina), Luis Salgado (Ambite, Detective), Jennifer Sanchez (Candela), John Schiappa (Chief Inspector, Doctor, Hector, Ivan, Magistrate, Man in Cinema, Taxi Driver), Samantha Shafer (Ana, Cristina, Pepa, Woman at Train), Phillip Spaeth (Carlos, Telephone Repairman), Matthew Steffens (Ambite) and Charlie Sutton (Carlos, Detective)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2011 Best Original Score Written for the Theatre [nominee] 

Lyrics by David Yazbek; Music by David Yazbek

 2011 Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical [nominee] 

Patti LuPone

 2011 Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical [nominee] 

Laura Benanti

Drama Desk Award

 2011 Outstanding Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Sherie Rene Scott

 2011 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical [nominee] 

Brian Stokes Mitchell

winner 2011 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical [winner] 

Laura Benanti

 2011 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Patti LuPone

 2011 Outstanding Orchestrations [nominee] 

James Abbott

 2011 Outstanding Orchestrations [nominee] 

Simon Hale

 2011 Outstanding Orchestrations [nominee] 

David Yazbek

 2011 Outstanding Music [nominee] 

Music by David Yazbek


music by David Yazbek; lyrics by David Yazbek

ACT 1 Sung By
My Crazy HeartThe Women
Lie to MePepa and Ivan
LovesickPepa and Ensemble
Time Stood StillLucia
My Crazy Heart (Reprise) Taxi Driver, Carlos, Marisa and Ensemble
Model BehaviorCandela
The MicrophoneIvan and Carlos
On the VergeLucia, Pepa, Candela, Marisa and the Women
ACT 2 Sung By
MadridTaxi Driver
Mother's DayPepa
Yesterday, Tomorrow and TodayIvan
TangledTaxi Driver, Carlos, Candela, Ivan, Pepa, Paulina, Ana and Ambite
Island (Reprise) Pepa, Candela and Carlos
Marisa/The ChaseMarisa and Ensemble
Lie to Me (Reprise) Ivan
Shoes from HeavenThe Women


LA Times: "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Belasco Theatre"

Musicals sprung from movies are usually a recipe for freeze-dried nostalgia served over songs. But when I heard that “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” Pedro Almodóvar's sparkling international breakthrough film from 1988 about romantic resiliency, was getting a Broadway makeover, my heart fluttered with hope that this might be one of those rare instances when the screen catapults the stage to giddy new heights.

Silly boy.

This new musical adaptation of “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” which opened Thursday in a Lincoln Center Theater production at the Belasco Theatre, has many things in its favor. Chief among them is a glittering constellation of theatrical divas, featuring the one and only Patti LuPone as a kind of deranged den mother. But the show is hampered by a faltering score by David Yazbek (“The Full Monty,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) and a crucial bit of miscasting. Pepa, the protagonist thrown into a tailspin after her man cuts her loose, is played here by Sherie Rene Scott, a charming musical theater star but one with about as much Mediterranean earthiness as Barbara Bush or Paris Hilton.

What could have been a tangy European “Hairspray” — an offbeat film commercialized into a Broadway attraction while retaining just enough of the original sensibility to make it seem hip and daring — turns out to be a missed opportunity. Yet it’s a missed opportunity that I’m nonetheless glad I didn’t miss. I was aware all along of watching something that wasn’t working, but there were so many lively distractions, at least until the draggy second act, that I found sufficient delight to keep me from muttering expletives of disappointment.

The opening number, “Madrid,” sets the scene and the musical’s tentative tone. Danny Burstein plays the friendly dyed-blond taxi driver who magically appears whenever Pepa desperately needs a lift, and he’s the one charged with introducing us to the world of this Spanish capital, circa 1987.

But Burstein's performance is so wan at the outset that had I not seen his fearlessly comic Luther Billis in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of “South Pacific,” I might have blamed the singer rather than the song. But with lyrics like these — “Madrid is my mama/Give me the nipple, Every day I’m gonna taste it./The tears and the drama/Ten tons of mama-milk and not a drop is wasted” — even a talent as overpowering as Zero Mostel’s might have shriveled up onstage.

Bartlett Sher’s colorful kaleidoscopic direction breathlessly tries to compensate for the deficiencies of the musical. And the visual wit of his staging is perhaps the closest thing on hand to Almodóvar’s singular whimsy. But all the frenetic activity — with Sven Ortel’s projections lending Michael Yeargan’s fast-moving sets the hyperactive feeling of a fashion video — can’t conceal the gaping flaws of the show any more than decorative icing can improve a cake made without enough baking soda or eggs.

The screenplay’s steady farcical drive would seem to be ideally suited to the theater. (The movie has a stagey quality all its own, with Pepa’s modest penthouse serving as the locus for much of the action.) Book writer Jeffrey Lane gets a lot of mileage out of the dizzying situation of passionate women converging in brokenhearted turmoil, but the economy of the film is lost, and a tale that can happily sustain interest for 90 minutes is swollen into a 2½-hour slog.

Carmen Maura’s Pepa is the soul of the movie, a middle-aged woman with sexual spark, who’s aging gracefully in the way that only seems to happen in foreign films. Laid low by a deserting lover, the character prepares a Valium-stuffed batch of gazpacho, but her life force is too great to allow any real harm to come from her brew. Maura’s ability to be both grounded and flighty, to coexist in the realms of realism and farce, embodies the essence of Almodóvar’s vision.

Unfortunately, this can't be said of Scott, who seems lost and deflated by the production’s feverish swirl. This isn’t the same confident performer who was like a glorious moonbeam in “Everyday Rapture,” her semi-autobiographical musical about a girl from the religious heartland who gets the sacrilegious showbiz itch. The overriding impression here is of an actress who has been repeatedly told what not to do and who has subsequently become too timid to try anything.

Even Scott’s versatile singing languishes. But chalk that problem up to Yazbek, whose busy, complicated music drowns out its female voice. It takes the booming baritone of Brian Stokes Mitchell, who plays Pepa’s philandering narcissist, Ivan, to break through the hubbub.

Not that LuPone, marching around in an outré getup that’s like Harry Potter couture, doesn’t have her moments in her two big numbers. But she’s so pungent in her comic delivery as Lucia, Ivan’s crazy ex-wife out for revenge, and so miraculously melodious in her vocal interpretation that it’s hard not to wish that “Time Stood Still” and “Invisible” were better songs.

Laura Benanti, LuPone’s costar in the last Broadway revival of “Gypsy,” almost steals the show as Candela, the model who has fallen into bed with a terrorist and has interrupted Pepa’s crisis with one of her own. Watching her try to explain her troubles as she simultaneously creates new ones by flirting with Carlos (a captivating Justin Guarini), Lucia’s sweet-natured son, is one of the most uplifting bits of clowning I’ve seen since Katie Finneran hijacked “Promises, Promises” in her inebriated barroom scene.

Generally speaking, the rest of the supporting cast is better than the material. de’Adre Aziza isn’t required to do much more than appear tough as Paulina, Lucia’s feminist lawyer who becomes subjected to Ivan’s amorous ambush. At least Mary Beth Peil is given a meaty musical moment to redeem her one-joke routine as Pepa’s pious concierge. But all the women deserve better.

The tempo slackens in the second half, just when it should be accelerating to maximum velocity. And not even Sher, who has been on a Lincoln Center Theater hot streak in recent years with “South Pacific,” “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” “Awake and Sing!” and “The Light in the Piazza,” can rescue this derailed musical with his reliable legerdemain.

The joy of Almodóvar’s film is the profound simplicity of its whirligig emotional truth. Sadly, that quality has been lost in the Broadway shuffle.

LA Times

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