Throwing Rocks at “Birdie”

“…if you’re tone-deaf, then go with my blessing.”Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal

“The show is a candy-colored, poptastic hoot. Not that you’d know it from the boneheaded revival that crash-landed at the brand-new Henry Miller’s Theatre last night.”Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post

“‘Bye Bye Birdie’ has not been on Broadway since the original hit in 1960. And on the basis of the busy and boring revival chosen to open the new Henry Miller’s Theatre, the absence is easy to explain.”Linda Winer of Newsday

“‘Bye Bye Birdie’ may be the most painful example of misapplied talent on Broadway since the Roundabout’s production of “Hedda Gabler,” starring Mary-Louise Parker, last season.Ben Brantley

When the Roundabout Theatre Company announced that they were doing “Bye Bye Birdie,” my immediate thought was, “Why on earth would they want to do that show?”

After reading the reviews for “Bye Bye Birdie,” my immediate thought was, “Why on earth did they decide to do this? Other than that Todd Haimes wanted to do it.”


3 thoughts on “Throwing Rocks at “Birdie”

  1. The most hilarious review by far is the one from Time Out New York, reproduced here in its entirety:

    Bye Bye Birdie; hello, turkey. The featherbrained revival of this 1960 musical is sure to be roasted in so many critical pans that it seems almost cruel to add to the fire. But we can’t duck our call to grouse about a show that has been cast and staged with such flighty ineptitude. Vultures have circled this production for weeks, for good reason: What should be a lark feels joyless and blah, burdened with the albatross of leaden leading players.

    Has the Roundabout gone cuckoo? Surely the name value of nominal stars John Stamos (as Albert, publicist for a cocky rock singer named Conrad Birdie) and Gina Gershon (as Rosie, his neglected girlfriend) cannot be worth the performances they give: Stamos is all effort and smarm, while Gershon—a treat elsewhere—swans haplessly through her role. There is little menace nested in the swiveling hips of Nolan Gerard Funk’s plucked chicken of a Birdie; and there is no sense at all in Bill Irwin’s loony tics as an Ohio paterfamilias. But what really cook the show’s goose are Robert Longbottom’s tentative, drably color-coded direction and choreography, which drain blood from the stage like a kosher butcher. (Even the redoubtable Jayne Houdyshell can’t fully score as Albert’s clucking hen of a mother.) In trying to hawk this show to subscribers, the Roundabout treats its customers as pigeons

  2. I had actually just read Adam Feldman bird analogy and metaphor laden review; it wasn’t up this morning and I hadn’t had time to read it until this evening. All of the reviews had a lot of bird analogies in the reviews, the fact that someone did that for all of their review is impressive.

    Feldman also put a post on TONY’s Upstaged blog about the casting and he makes some very good points. Including the last sentence, which is a bit harsh but makes a good point.

  3. […] The Roundabout only booked one show for that theater and that was Bye Bye Birdie, and we know what critics thought of that. It closed in January and the Roundabout had an empty space, so they decided to rent it out. Did […]

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