Chess (musical) - Broadway Staged Production, U.S. (1988) - History - Critical Reception

Critical Reception

Many critics panned the show, most notably Frank Rich of The New York Times, who wrote that "the evening has the theatrical consistency of quicksand" and described it as "a suite of temper tantrums, the characters ... yell at one another to rock music". Howard Kissel of New York Daily News complained that "the show is shrilly overamplified" and "neither of the love stories is emotionally involving," while Newsweek magazine called the show a "Broadway's monster" and opined that "Chess" assaults the audience with a relentless barrage of scenes and numbers that are muscle-bound with self-importance".

A few reviewers, however, praised it very highly. William A. Henry III wrote an exceptionally sympathetic review in Time: "Clear narrative drive, Nunn's cinematic staging, three superb leading performances by actors willing to be complex and unlikeable and one of the best rock scores ever produced in the theater. This is an angry, difficult, demanding and rewarding show, one that pushes the boundaries of the form" (Time, May 9, 1988). His sentiments were echoed by William K. Gale in Providence Journal: "A show with a solid, even wonderfully old-fashioned story that still has a bitter-sweet, rough-edged view of the world ... exciting, dynamic theater ... a match of wit and passion."

Richard Christiansen of Chicago Tribune suggested that "Chess falters despite new strategy," yet concluded his review: "Audiences forgive a lot of failings when they find a show that touches them with its music, and Chess, clumsy and overblown as it sometimes is in its three hours-plus running time, gives them that heart". Welton Jones wrote in The San Diego Union-Tribune that Chess "has one of the richest, most exciting scores heard on Broadway in years ... Sadly, the music has been encumbered with an overwritten book and an uninspired staging ... Truly, this is a score to be treasured, held ransom by a questionable book and production".

All critics agreed, though, on the three leading performances by Judy Kuhn, David Carroll and Philip Casnoff. They were showered with praise — "splendid and gallant" (Newsweek), "powerful singers" (The New York Times), "remarkably fine" (New York Post) — especially Kuhn, whose performance Variety called a "show's chief pleasure".

Benny Andersson commented on the negative Broadway reviews: "I really don't know why they don't like it ... I do know that most of the audiences so far stand up and cheer for everyone at the end. They appear to get emotionally involved with the show, and they really like it" (Variety, May 4, 1988).

Read more about this topic:  Chess (musical), Broadway Staged Production, U.S. (1988), History

Other articles related to "critical reception, reception, critical":

The Apu Trilogy - Critical Reception
... This extract from the South African author J ... M ...
Pokémon Yellow - Reception - Critical Reception
... Reception Aggregate scores Aggregator Score GameRankings 85.47% Review scores Publication Score Electronic Gaming Monthly 8.5/10 Game Informer 6.5/10 GameSpot 8.9/10 IGN 10/10 Nintendo Power 4/5 Since its release ...
Chess (musical) - Broadway Staged Production, U.S. (1988) - History - Critical Reception
... A few reviewers, however, praised it very highly ... William A ...
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut - Release - Critical Reception
... The film was released to generally positive critical reception Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called the film "outrageously profane" and "wildly funny", noting that "While censorship is the ... The film had its fair share of critical detractors, without noting the conservative family groups offended by the film's humor ...

Famous quotes containing the words reception and/or critical:

    To the United States the Third World often takes the form of a black woman who has been made pregnant in a moment of passion and who shows up one day in the reception room on the forty-ninth floor threatening to make a scene. The lawyers pay the woman off; sometimes uniformed guards accompany her to the elevators.
    Lewis H. Lapham (b. 1935)

    The critical spirit never knows when to stop meddling.
    Mason Cooley (b. 1927)