The Devil Wears Prada - Chicago

The Devil Wears Prada The Musical in Chicago – Reviews Round-up

New musical The Devil Wears Prada has opened in Chicago.

Its world premiere in Chicago at the James M. Nederlander Theatre, is ahead of a planned 2023 Broadway premiere.

The show has music by Elton John, lyrics by Shaina Taub, book by Kate Wetherhead, based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger and the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture.

The Devil Wears Prada cast features Beth Leavel as Miranda Priestly, Taylor Iman Jones as Andy Sachs, plus Christiana Cole, Megan Masako Haley, Tiffany Mann, Michael Tacconi, Christian Thompson, Javier Muñoz, Kyle Brown, Olivia Cipolla, Tyrone Davis, Jr., Audrey Douglass, Hannah Douglass, Madison Fendley, Cailen Fu, Michael Samarie George, Henry Gottfried,  Marya Grandy, Jessie Hooker-Bailey; Liana Hunt, Amber Jackson, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Anthony Murphy, Jim Ortlieb, Johnny Rice, Sawyer Smith, Terrance Spencer, CJ Tyson.

The creative team is led by director Anna D. Shapiro; with choreography by James Alsop; music supervision and vocal arrangements by Nadia DiGiallonardo. Sets and media, Christine Jones & Brett Banakis; costumes, Arianne Phillips; lighting, Paule Constable; sound, Nevin Steinberg; hair and wigs, Campbell Young & Associates; makeup, Diane Kendal; orchestrations, Giles Martin; music director and additional orchestrations, James Olmstead; song arrangements, Nadia DiGiallonardo & Shaina Taub; music coordinator, Michael Aarons; production stage manager Holly Coombs.

Check out reviews below from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Post and more.

Photo: Joan Marcus

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The Devil Wears Prada reviews

Chicago Tribune

"Not yet ready for its runway spotlight"

"... the main problem with the bland and hesitant new musical version of “The Devil Wears Prada,” which features a book by Kate Wetherhead and a score by Elton John and that opened Sunday night in a Chicago tryout under the direction of Anna D. Shapiro, is that it has not yet found the guts to follow that same track, notwithstanding the huge satirical opportunity. More specifically, Weisberger’s sexy, self-aware satire has been given a moralistic tack, which Miranda would hate even more than cerulean sweaters."

"... everyone here could do to read the book again and to better appreciate that this is a piece about people behaving in mercenary ways, drawn to glamour like moths to a flame."

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
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New York Post

"‘Devil Wears Prada’ musical is a haute mess"

" The alarmingly un-fun and sluggish show with a score by Elton John and Shaina Taub is a dud about duds, and the worst screen-to-stage move in recent memory."

"No convincing artistic effort has been made to reinterpret the film and book into something new that makes logical and compelling sense onstage. Just about every plot point is identical to the 2006 film that was slick, sexy and satisfying and earned Meryl Streep a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress."

"Miranda is a major hurdle for the musical because of how little she shares. Musicals, of course, hinge on over-sharing. That’s what a ballad is. To compensate early on, Leavel sings some awkward patter songs as though she’s the very model of a Modern Major Editor. Later, her big number in Act 2 at a Paris luncheon is a vocally impressive “Cruella de Vil” tune, but forgettable and oddly placed. Thus, Miranda has been turned into a supporting role."

Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
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The New York Times

"An Adaptation That Needs Tailoring"

"The new Elton John-Shaina Taub musical, based on the popular film about a fashion-world ingénue and her demanding boss, isn’t yet ready-to-wear."

"In the film, Meryl Streep played Miranda with sleek silver hair and a voice like liquid nitrogen — an ice queen to sink the Titanic. But Leavel is an actress of humor and warmth with a gift, demonstrated in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “The Prom,” for arch self-parody. Miranda should have her underlings shaking in their Louboutin boots. Here, everyone stands pretty tall."

"The musical’s first act closes with its title song, a suggestion that the fashion world is a kind of inferno. “Hell is a runway,” the chorus sings (with a sound mix so muddy that I had to look up the lyrics later), “where the devil wears Prada.” But nothing in the show confirms this. The worst anguish Andy suffers? Her boss calls too often. “The Devil Wears Prada” isn’t as sumptuous as it should be or as bitingly incisive. If it wants a life beyond Chicago, it could use some alterations."

Alexis Soloski, The New York Times
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Chicago Sun Times

"‘Devil Wears Prada, The Musical’ is a fashion — and stage — faux pas"

"... the Elton John-scored take on the world of high fashion has its work cut out for it. For now, this behind-the-scenes tale set at the world’s pre-eminent fashion magazine is more JCPenney clearance catalog than couture."

"One major problem with director Anna D. Shapiro’s staging of the musical “Prada,” starring Tony Award winner Beth Leavel as Miranda and Taylor Iman Jones as Andy, is its underwhelming sense of fashion. Frankly, you’ll see more creative silhouettes on any given season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Costume designer Arianne Phillips often tries to make sparkle or oversized graphic prints atone for unimpressive design, but much more than a bit of superficial flash is needed. Every look — from an ill-tailored red dress Miranda wears to the office to the bulbous, armless, Michelin-man-worthy creations purporting to be cutting-edge Parisian runway couture — looks under-budgeted and poorly finished."

"In its current state, “The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical” is a poor knockoff, a cheap flea market bag with a designer label glue-gunned to the lining. Back to the sketchbook!"

Catey Sullivan, Chicago Sun Times
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Variety

"Broadway-Bound Musical Needs to Take a Cue From Miranda Priestly and Get Meaner"

"Taking an overly respectful and frankly miscalculated approach to its source materials — the 2003 roman à clef novel and the 2006 Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway-starring film — the new musical version of “The Devil Wears Prada,” now trying out in Chicago ahead of a projected Broadway run, provides some serviceable entertainment but needs a hefty dose of guilty, edgy fun to boost its mild pleasures."

"There’s a lot of work needed to replace the sincere and fairly dull songs about the importance of jobs that pay the rent, the sadness of losing friendships, or (from the nice-guy Nigel, played by Javier Muñoz) the trials of growing up gay in the Midwest with songs that express the naked ambition, social irresponsibility and joyful artifice of the fashion industry. The title song, which serves as the Act I finale, comments about those things but doesn’t actually express them, coming across more enervating than energizing."

"So the question here is a simple one. Can John, Shapiro, et al. — some of the most talented artists at work today — set niceness aside, and channel their inner Miranda Priestlys?"

Steven Oxman, Variety
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Washington Post

"New musical version of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ trips on the runway"

"Here’s my urgent plea to the makers of the new “The Devil Wears Prada” musical: Let Miranda be Miranda. That’s all."

"The musical can’t (and shouldn’t, really) regurgitate all the best moments from the movie, but the ones it does reprise lack the acidity of dishy social satire. The joy of the skewering has been lost. Even more disappointingly, the fashion sense on the sets of New York and Parisian ironwork feels off. Phillips’s costumes appear to be not so much on trend as on a budget."

Peter Marks, Washington Post
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