Broadway Review: ‘Lysistrata Jones’

With a book by Douglas Carter Beane and music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn, Lysistrata Jones, based on Aristophanes Greek comedy, follows the awful Athens University basketball team who haven’t won a game in years. When Lysistrata jones transfers to the school, she joins the cheerleading squad and then challenges the girls to stop “giving it up” to their player boyfriends till they win a game.

Go see this show now!

Because it’ll probably be closing very soon.   

The show was originally staged last summer in a church gym in downtown New York. It had great reviews and was quickly scheduled to move to the Walter Kerr Theatre where it opened on December 14th. But, in the move uptown, it lost its magic.  The show doesn’t have the most challenging of stories but with a musical comedy, you don’t need a hugely complicated plot. You just need it to be fun, entertaining and filled with a winning cast.

None of which this show has and unfortunately I blame some of the cast.

There are genuinely funny moments and catchy songs but the cast just didn’t sell it. With the exception of the absolutely wonderful Patti Murin, as Lysistrata, most of the cast boggled my mind on how they ended up on a Broadway stage. At times, I felt like I was watching a bad, yet eager, high school production. Particularly head-scratching were some of the male cast members; they were singing off-key, not hitting jokes and just plain awful acting. The cast came with the transfer and maybe because they’ve done it so long now they are just bored with it because that’s what I was… bored.

But, at least with Murin front and center, the audience has something to latch on to. Whenever she’s on stage, her tiny body suddenly becomes 12 feet high and you can’t take your eyes off of her. Sure, she’s a knockout but her performance was everything you want it to be in a show like this: fun, spunky and bursting with personality.

Lysistrata Jones is currently playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre. But catch it quick because it may not be there too much longer.

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