The Devil Wears Prada the Musical is Not Ready for New York Fashion Week
Like so many shows headed to Broadway, Chicago is the test market to work the kinks out. Such is the case for The Devil Wears Prada the Musical now playing at the James M. Nederlander Theatre through August 21st.
The music by Elton John is great, and the choreography by James Alsop is exciting and clean. I had the opportunity to speak with James and asked her what her favorite number in the show is. She responded, “Oh my goodness. Well, it’s really difficult for me to pick out my favorite dance number in the show only because the entire story and the music and the show, they all touch on different types of music and different types of dances, which pulls out these different styles that are specific to just the song. So, they, each to me feel so right for each song that it’s really difficult for me to pick out one. If I had to, if I had to sell you on anything, I would just say the end of Act One is quite something. I’ll leave it at that.” I must agree with her, the end of Act One is pretty good.
The set design is great, and I must give an ovation to the smooth set changes. They become a character of the show.
The book by Kate Wetherhead needs a little work in places in the second act. Conversations between Miranda and Andy are sometimes stiff.
Weak links for me were Michael Tacconi as boyfriend Nate Angstrom. There was absolutely no connection with Andy as her boyfriend. He is more in the ‘friend’ zone attitude. When they break up it’s like he is saying “Oh Well,” and when they come back together it’s more, “Sure, we can get back together…or not, I don’t care.”
The other disappointment was the fashion. With costume design by Academy Award-nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips, I expected to leave the theater talking non-stop about the amazing fashions. There were more creations in the audience that garnered being remembered than on the stage. With one exception, the wardrobe for Emily (Megan Masako Haley) was different, eye-catching, and memorable. Unfortunately, most of the other costumes were just that, costumes.
I love, love, loved the diversity in the cast and the amazing voices. Taylor Iman Jones who plays the lead Andy Sachs is funny, her voice is amazing, and she embodies the role. Tony Award winner Beth Leavel as Miranda Priestly does not mimic Meryl Streep but makes the role her own and works it. She is amazing. Another stand-out in the show is Megan Masako Haley as Emily Charlton. She has the right amount of grit, and just enough condescending attitude to make the role believable. Last but not least, I must mention Javier Munoz as Nigel Owens. One of my favorite characters in the film became a favorite in the stage production as well.
With all that being said, the question is “Is The Devil Wears Prada the Musical worth seeing?” Yes, it is. It’s a fun evening with surprises and energy. As I said, they are getting the kinks out before heading to Broadway. I am sure it will be a major success but just needs a little work.
Until next time, keep your EYE to the sky!
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