No, there isn’t a song that rhymes fava beans. Or Chianti. But an unauthorized musical parody of the 1991 thriller Silence of the Lambs did open Off Broadway this week following a successful Fringe Festival run (and multiple YouTube clicks for some of its numbers). And as I wrote in my grade-B review, Silence! The Musical “is a little longer than it needs to be and the percentage of jokes hitting their target would earn only passing marks on the Quantico firing range.” But Jenn Harris nails Jodie Foster’s speaking style as Clarice, and Brent Barrett is deliciously deadpan as Hannibal. Just be prepared for some seriously raunchy NSFW humor.
Silence! wasn’t the only show opening this week. (Who says the summer is a slow time for theater?) At the 19th-century Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the Royal Shakespeare Company has taken up residence for six weeks of performances of five different classics by the Bard. But the real star of this summer repertory program is the venue itself: a 220-ton replica of the original Globe Theatre, installed in the cavernous space of the Armory. The plays themselves have been pretty impressive too. I gave the first-rate As You Like It an A–, noting the “real spark” between Katy Stephens and Jonjo O’Neill as the romantic leads, Rosalind and Orlando. Director Rupert Goold, who brought his Stalinesque Macbeth to Broadway in 2008, brings similar anachronistic touches to Romeo and Juliet – the hero wears a hoodie, while the heroine dons Converse sneakers. For the most part, it all works. (I gave the show a B+.)
The recent hit revival Hair returns to Broadway for a two-month run before the cast resumes its national tour. Critic Melissa Rose Bernardo gave the ’60s-era musical love-in a B+, declaring the show “still as fresh a just-picked daisy.” Is there any better time to let the sun shine in?
For more theater news and reviews, as well as listings of shows both on Broadway and off, check out EW’s Stage Hub.