Based on Pedro Almodóvar's internationally acclaimed 1988 film, WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN is set in late 20th-century Madrid and tells the story of the intertwining lives of a group of women whose relationships with men lead to a tumultuous 48 hours of love, confusion and passion and now it's come to Broadway!
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Ms. Scott, Ms. LuPone and Mr. Mitchell, marvelous though they have all been elsewhere, here seem to be preoccupied with other matters, like where they'll be having dinner after the show. In that sense, I identified with them completely.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: It's not the thin gruel some had feared, but it's also not a spicy knock out - at least not yet. Mostly, it's just a bloated dish, with too much repetition and too much thrown up on stage, as if the chefs were trying to dazzle with as many ingredients as possible.
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: No one is helped by Yazbek's songs, which sound like Latin-flavored Muzak. LuPone's Invisible follows a monologue that becomes, in her hands, the show's dramatic high point. You half-expect her to launch into one of her showstopping arias, but all she gets is a loungey trifle. The actress, like many on Women on the Verge's illustrious team, deserves better. So do audiences.
Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times: The joy of Almodóvar's film is the profound simplicity of its whirligig emotional truth. Sadly, that quality has been lost in the Broadway shuffle. This new musical adaptation of "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," which opened Thursday in a Lincoln Center Theater production at the Belasco Theatre, has many things in its favor. Chief among them is a glittering constellation of theatrical divas, featuring the one and only Patti LuPone as a kind of deranged den mother. But the show is hampered by a faltering score by David Yazbek ("The Full Monty," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels") and a crucial bit of miscasting. Pepa, the protagonist thrown into a tailspin after her man cuts her loose, is played here by Sherie Rene Scott, a charming musical theater star but one with about as much Mediterranean earthiness as Barbara Bush or Paris Hilton.
Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal: Given a high-powered cast like this one, everything might have come up roses anyway, but Ms. Scott, who is about as Spanish as I am, turns in a chirpy, lightweight performance that conveys nothing of Pepa's sensuality. (Carmen Maura, who played the same character in the film, was the very embodiment of that savory quality.) Ms. Benanti, by contrast, makes a bold and energetic impression as Candela, galloping away with the best-in-show ribbon. Mr. Mitchell's part, however, borders on outright invisibility, while Ms. LuPone's spectacular gifts are wasted in a supporting role that allows her to do little but sing two forgettable songs and run around tearing her hair.
David Cote, NY 1 / Time Out Magazine: There's a 20-foot-high recipe for gazpacho printed on the curtain that rises on Lincoln Center Theater's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." If only a giant recipe for making a decent musical had been available to the makers of this major Broadway letdown, which squanders so much stage talent.
Roger Friedman, Showbiz411: They all try valiantly to rescue this piece of sludge, a show that is so mis-organized that it's almost like an SAT test to try and re-order the scenes to make the show make sense. Unfortunately, even Patti LuPone can't do it. None of the stars have proper entrances, but then again, there are no set up scenes or anything to define what we're seeing on stage. Only Laura Benanti breathes any life into her songs or scenes, but that's because they're actually written for her.