Disney star Dove Cameron takes on the iconic role of Cher in the world premiere of Clueless, The Musical.
Like the Alicia Silverstone-led film, Amy Heckerling’s modern spin on Jane Austen’s Emma, the musical concerns Cher (Cameron), a girl so optimistic she can’t see that her bungling attempts at playing Cupid disguise her own fashion-plated isolation.
Heckerling’s production opened to fairly harsh notices with reviewers critical of the awkwardness of the adaption to stage.
With Direction from Kristin Hanggi and choreography by Kelly Devine, the show is scheduled to run until the 12th January 2019 at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre.
In addition to Dove Cameron the full cast includes, Ephie Aardema, Sara Andreas, Gilbert L. Bailey II, Dave Thomas Brown, Chris Hoch, L’ogan J’ones, Jeff Kuhr, Darius Jordan Lee, Justin Mortelliti, Megan Sikora, Brett Thiele, Zurin Villanueva, Will Connolly, Tiffany Engen, Katie Goffman, Danielle Marie Gonzalez, Tessa Grady, Talya Groves.
Read a round-up of reviews below.
The Guardian ★★
‘Movie fans will hear all of their favorite lines– “As if!” “Way harsh!” “You’re a virgin who can’t drive” – and see most of their favorite outfits.’
‘The cast is enthusiastic. Will Connolly as stoner Travis and Megan Sikora as a couple of teachers are especially fine.’
Alicia Silverstone, the movie’s Cher, was so effortlessly likable and so sweet in her scheming, she neatly dodged any dumb blonde stereotypes. Cameron is charming, but she lacks that ridiculous magnetism, which makes her smarts an open question and her stakes awfully low.’
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian
The Stage ★★
‘A capable cast can’t save a tonally mismatched and awkwardly staged musical production of the popular 1990s film.’
‘The nostalgia factor is undermined by contrived lyrics, heavy-handed direction, and some very odd design choices. It feels more like a parody rather than a homage. The production has a winking self-awareness that eats away at the original’s warm heart.’
‘Cameron is darling and perky as Cher, though her performance reads uncomfortably younger than a high schooler, while the rest of the cast looks creepily older.’
Nicole Serratore, The Stage
‘The Way Harsh Truth About ‘Clueless, The Musical’: It Stinks’
‘Teen princess Cher Horowitz and her friends sing familiar melodies with dummy lyrics that are truly dumb.’
‘In the end, the creative team is both too faithful to the screenplay (one bad-driving scene is plenty) and too irreverent with the pop spirit of the period. Both are shortchanged, and we get neither a compelling stage play nor songs that anyone could fall for.’
David Cote, The Observer
‘I had hopes that this screen-to-stage transfer would retain the charm of the original…Yet the perverse flattening process that too often occurs when two-dimensional films are translated into the three dimensions of live theater has befallen “Clueless” as well.’
‘As the latest incarnation of Cher (and did I mention there’s a movie remake in the works, too?), Ms. Cameron has the poise and presence to anchor a show, and she sings and dances like a pro. Yet in stepping into the heightened, smiley landscape of musical comedy, Cher has perhaps inevitably acquired an extra, fatal degree of sparkle, and it pushes her from charming into cute.’
‘The whole production, choreographed with a dutiful energy by Kelly Devine, suffers from a similar heightened twinkliness. It makes you appreciate how adroitly Ms. Heckerling sidestepped caricature and preciousness in her film. Like its shortsighted, matchmaking heroine — who looks for love in all the wrong places — the movie exuded a delicately balanced aura of deadpan, self-delighted innocence.’
‘Clueless cultists will find many of their favorite lines have made it to the stage intact, including Cher’s immortal put-down, “As if!” But the character who registers most piquantly is one I scarcely remembered from the film: Travis the stoner.’
Ben Brantley, The New York Times
‘Its lightweight narrative keeps it at the enjoyable-fluff level, even if its two-hour-plus length wears out its welcome just a tad, and the once-freshness of its comedy of ‘90s modes and manners is lessened by what have since become stereotypes.’
‘Like the movie’s breakout performance by Alicia Silverstone, the Cher of Dove Cameron (Disney’s “Liv and Maddie”) also wins you over with her true belief in the power of positive shopping and her magical thinking that it can do good.’
‘The supporting cast is equally impressive, especially Dave Thomas Brown as Josh — played in the film by Paul Rudd — and echoing that irresistible sweet-smart awkwardness that eventually makes Cher see the value of life beyond a Barney’s sale. Plus, he sings like a dream.’
Frank Rizzo, Variety
‘It was probably too much to hope that this recycled iteration could recapture lightning in a bottle, but the flame of originality barely flickers, leaving a show that feels only intermittently fresh, despite the commitment of a perky young cast ably captained by Dove Cameron as Cher.’
‘How much you get out of the show will depend on your appetite for ’90s nostalgia. Clueless, The Musical is not completely heinous, but no one’s ever going to call it a total Betty, either. It almost makes you miss Stacey Dash.’
David Rooney, Hollywod Reporter
Date: 11 December 2018
Written by: Simon Raven
Tags: Clueless The Musical, Dove Cameron, Off-Broadway, review round-up