Gigi On Broadway: Visually Splendid, Emotionally Threadbare

Gigi, an imitation French confection of a musical starring High School Musical sweetheart Vanessa Hudgens, is based on a novella by Colette about two aging prostitutes grooming their illegitimate relative, a child of 15, to attach herself to a rich older man….Heidi Thomas, best known for penning the BBC TV series Call The Midwife, has revised the book to align the story more with current sensibilities. Yet the new revival of Gigi too often feels akin to dirty linen that’s been put through the wash too many times; it’s clean now and has a sheen, but it’s threadbare, intellectually and emotionally….

The Gigi at the Neil Simon is a romance between Gigi and Gaston (Corey Cott) that caters to the American tourist’s romantic notion of Paris, visually above all else [thanks to set designer Derek McLane, costume designer Catherine Zuber and lighting designer Natasha Katz.]…  Hudgens does a reasonably good job of growing from girlish to womanly before our eyes, although her initial childishness is more adorable than credible. But Cott cannot disguise his boyishness; he gives off the vibe of an energetic young American, and, while he is a strong tenor, he has a speaking voice in a high enough register to suggest it may yet change. The lack of disparity in their ages will turn the musical for most theatergoers into a conventional love story. To buy the premise that he’s a world-weary sophisticate and she’s an innocent child on the cusp of womanhood, it would help to pretend their scenes together are part of a really good college production.

Full review on DCTheaterScene

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Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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