A Beautiful Noise

Hours before this column was filed, I attended the opening night of A Beautiful Noise – a Broadway-bound musical about (and featuring the music of) Neil Diamond.  It stars the fantastic Will Swenson as Neil, which makes as much sense as Hugh Jackman playing Peter Allen.  Each of those legends would give their left testicle for the chance to look like their matinee idol equivalents.  But in this case, it works – largely due to Swenson’s eerie approximation of Diamond’s somewhat whining vocal quality (would that he’d trust his voice enough let it open up and bloom to its full potential).  Whether Neil was a cross between Elvis, Johnny Cash and Liberace is an argument I’ll leave to others.  I’ll simply say that the show has a long way to go before it’s ready for Broadway.  It’s short on exposition and jumps right into the singer’s story – which gives the audience hope that there’s an eventful life ahead.  Alas, the show (and perhaps Neil’s life) has no second act.  The musical cannily approximates a Vegas-style concert to kick off the second half.  Had that continued, it might have appealed to diehard fans.  Instead, it meanders down a road that goes nowhere (the scene contrived to set up “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” is perhaps one of the most painful things I’ve ever seen).  One cannot say enough about Swenson – I just wish he had material that equaled his talent.  The rest of the cast is commendable – except for one person who must be recast immediately.  Let me single out the dynamic Tatiana Lofton, who steals virtually ever scene she appears in (she stood next to Swenson for the curtain call), and Makai Hernandez, whose ass should get special billing in those tight checked pants!  It is at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston until August 7th.  As of now, the show begins previews on Broadway November 2nd.  You can get more details at ABeautifulNoiseTheMusical.com.

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