This Week, Jared Bowen reviews "Road Show" at Lyric Stage Company and takes us to some of the best shows on Broadway with "Farinelli and the King," "Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical," and "The Parisian Woman."
"Road Show," presented by the Lyric Stage Company through February 11
Stephen Sondheim's latest work comes to the Lyric Stage. Based on a true story, "Road Show" follows the Mizner brothers through four decades of fortune-seeking adventures across the globe. Through the highs and lows of the 20th century, this musical odyssey exposes the strains of brotherly love amidst a relentless pursuit of the American dream. "Like most road trips," says Jared, "it's winding, somewhat enjoyable, not all memorable."
"Farinelli And The King," presented at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway
A candlelit production at the Belasco Theatre explores madness and the healing power of music. "Farinelli And The King" is based on the later life of King Philippe V of Spain, an aging ruler whose deteriorating mind is soothed by the singing of Farinelli, a world-renowned castrato singer. Oscar and Tony-Award winner Mark Rylance brings heart and charm to the mad King Philippe, while countertenor Iestyn Davies brings his authentic operatic prowess to Farinelli's singing. "Music has the power to rouse the king from his inner anguish," says Jared. "This play has the power to amplify art as a healer."
"Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical," presented at the Palace Theatre on Broadway
A lengthy roster of Grammy-Award winning musicians and Tony-Award winning designers are bringing wonderfully "nautical nonsense" to the stage with "Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical." When a volcano threatens to destroy Bikini Bottom, it's up to Spongebob and his friends to save their hometown from certain catastrophe. Superb staging, colorful costumes, and sensational songwriting abound in this fun-for-all-ages musical headlined by Ethan Slater, who stars as Nickelodeon's beloved sea sponge. "I have never seen an actor move quite the way he does," says Jared of Slater. "He will, I have no doubt, become one of the great musical theater stars based on this performance."
"The Parisian Woman," presented at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway
From the writer of House of Cards comes a play ripped right from the political headlines. "The Parisian Woman" stars Uma Thurman as Chloe, a cunning Washington socialite who works tirelessly to get her husband Tom (played by Josh Lucas) a federal judiciary appointment. Although the president in never named, writer Beau Willimon includes plenty of references to the politics of this moment. "If Washington is a swamp," says Jared, "this show turns it into a cesspool."