Saturday, April 20, 2024

Women on the Verge Musical: Something Stinks


A musical adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s great film, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” opens this Thursday on Broadway.

The show has a lot of negative buzz. A blog in the New York Times (which helped itself to our “King’s Speech” scoop last week) noted that the opening number from the Second Act had recently been moved to the opening of the First Act.

Still: there’s bad a smell in the Belasco Theater, recently refurbished most beautifully.

The problemĀ comes from a fire that’s started on stage. A real fire. As in the movie, the main character, Pepa, sets her bed ablaze. At the Saturday matinee, the fire was quite lively. And when it was put out, the white smoke it generated billowed up to a giant fan set way above the stage. Unfortunately, the odor from the smoke never subsides. Through the rest of the show, it smells like rubber and steelĀ are burning. Even toward the end of the show, there’s a faint memory of the fire.

And the fan: during quiet scenes, you can hear it. Either that, or Madrid is just noisy 24/7.

“Women on the Verge” has a bunch of big Broadway stars: Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Laura Benanti, and Sherie Rene Scott are mixed in with a pretty big cast. I kept wondering if they could smell what was going on. I guess we’ll find out later this week!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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