Broadway Buzz: 'Mockingbird' Soars and 'Beetlejuice' Needs Some Work

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With the vast amount of Broadway productions opening this season, some are already off to strong starts while others not so much.

While “To Kill a Mockingbird” doesn’t officially open until December 13th, the buzz is already swirling from those who have seen its early previews. Multiple friends have told me it’s going to be a strong contender for the Best Play award cycle and that its star Jeff Daniels should be in the winners circle as well. This has to be good news for producers who had to endure legal proceedings to ensure the production would be mounted in the first place.

On the flip side, the buzz on the upcoming musical “Beetlejuice” hasn’t been good. The show’s out-of-town tryout in Washington D.C. has been slammed by critics. Variety’s Paul Harris said, “Indeed, excess is the principal problem, from that rapid-fire barrage of special effects to the book’s tiresome dependence on crotch jokes to the abundant slapstick.” And the Washington Post called it, “overcaffeinated, overstuffed and virtually charmless.” Ouch.

The positive takeaway is that producers were smart enough to do an out-of-town tryout to identify any issues and there is plenty of time to make adjustments before its opening on Broadway on April 25th.

I have high hopes for this show. I’m a massive fan of the film and am looking forward to seeing the design of the show. Also, I think Alex Brightman, Rob McClure, Kerry Butler and Kevin Moon Loh are inspired casting choices, so here’s hoping the best for this production.