The musical adaptation of Almost Famous opened last week to mixed review - find out who said what
It hasn't been the instant hit most new Broadway productions all aspire to be, but that doesn't mean the feedback from some of the theatre industry's more revered critics is all bad. Just mostly bad. Many praised the cast and the two leads in particular - Solea Pfeiffer as the inimitable Penny Lane and Casey Likes as William. NY Post wrote, "leeping 'Famous' from face-planting is its best find, newcomer Likes". Theatremania even felt that Pfeiffer gives Kate Hudson's turn as Penny Lane a run for its money! Now that's something I want to see, given Hudson's portrayal of the sultry-yet-tortured free spirit continues to inspire many of my fashion choices to this day.
Variety thought that Crowe - who wrote both the original screenplay and the book for this musical - fashions "a wonderfully observed story with colorful-yet-nuanced characters, authentic details and humor both sharp-eyed and low-hanging". It's not clear whether they're referring to the film or the musical. However, given most critics have said the musical is a carbon-copy, they probably mean both. Other papers, were not as forgiving or kind, bordering downright mean. Theatermania called the production "bereft of anything resembling care, wit, and imagination". Eeek! Not very nice.
"One thing the effusive show gets right, like the movie that spawned it, is the infectious energy of rock n' roll "
Perhaps most telling is this snippet by The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney, who wrote "Did it need to become a stage musical? Debatable. But one thing the effusive show gets right, like the movie that spawned it, is the infectious energy of rock n' roll at a transitional moment 1973 when the raw, rebellious spirit of great rock was making way for the slicker, more commercialized sound of mass-consumption superstardom."
It would seem the show doesn't stand-out as its own creation in the same way that other more successful adaptations have, i.e. The Lion King or Curious Incident. However, both THR and say that the show does well at capturing the raw energy of the era and of the film, and this alone is, for me, reason enough to go and see it!