Phillipa Soo and the cast of Amélie, A New Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus.
The reviews are in for the Broadway musical adaptation of the beloved French film, starring Phillipa Soo and directed by Pam MacKinnon.
Book by Craig Lucas
Music by Daniel Messé
Lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé
Musical Staging and Choreography by Sam Pinkleton
Directed by Pam MacKinnon
Cast: Phillipa Soo, Adam Chanler-Berat, David Andino, Randy Blair, Heath Calvert, Alison Cimmet, Savvy Crawford, Manoel Felciano, Harriett D. Foy, Alyse Alan Louis, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Tony Sheldon, Paul Whitty, Emily Afton, Jacob Keith Watson
Ben Brantley – New York Times
The mild-mannered musical adaptation of this movie, which opened on Monday night at the Walter Kerr Theater, is unlikely to stir similar passions. Featuring a book by Craig Lucas and music by Daniel Messé, with the lush-voiced Phillipa Soo in the title role, it is pleasant to look at, easy to listen to and oddly recessive. It neither offends nor enthralls.
Marilyn Stasio – Variety
The only thing remotely Parisian about “Amelie” is the use of a bilious shade of green reminiscent of the outdoor pissoirs one used to see all over Paris. Hardly the image to take away from this musical-theater adaptation of the quirky 2001 film that brought goofy grins to the faces of besotted movie fans. As Amelie, Phillipa Soo (“Hamilton”) is no Audrey Tautou. But the star is so bland here, she’s not even Phillipa Soo.
Jeremy Gerard – Deadline
The key challenge in adapting Amélie for the stage, and even more so as a musical, is that the central character doesn’t speak much. Rather than interpolated film sequences, director Pam MacKinnon surrounds her star with the company acting out her internal responses: Falling in love, her heart races and suddenly she’s surrounded by everyone opening and shutting bellows-like boxes with pumping hearts. The whimsy, if you can stand it, is thus multiplied exponentially, and your response to the show will depend very much on your tolerance for actors with goldfish heads and flapping arm-fins, and the like.
Alexis Soloski – The Guardian
There’s nothing very much wrong with this musical. The book, by Craig Lucas (An American in Paris) is affectionate; the songs, with music by Daniel Messé and lyrics by Nathan Tysen, are inarguably pleasant. But it’s tricky to build a show around a protagonist whose main trait is wistful passivity. In the course of the story, Amélie learns to intervene in the lives of others, but mostly sits out her own existence.
Diane Snyder – The Telegraph
“Times are hard for dreamers,” sings Amélie Poulain, as she leaves behind her solitary childhood for Paris in the quirky, occasionally charming new Broadway tuner based on the 2001 French comedy. Times aren’t so easy for those who dare to musicalize great movies, either, especially when they show excessive fidelity to the source. Despite plenty of talent onstage and off, Amélie, A New Musical is a series of playful moments that don’t add up to a memorable musical.
Chris Jones – Chicago Tribune
Alas, the attempt to turn this film into a Broadway musical starring the original “Hamilton” star Phillipa Soo — it opened Monday night in a deeply disappointing production at the Walter Kerr Theatre — rests on several erroneous assumptions.
Leah Greenblatt – Entertainment Weekly
There’s probably nothing about this unabashedly crowd-pleasing production that will make him come around, though he may not have much company: The show is a quirky-sweet creampuff that breezily imports much of the movie’s off-kilter charm, even as it loses a little of its original je ne sais quoi (and approximately 15 minutes of runtime.)
David Rooney – The Hollywood Reporter
A dubious quote plastered outside the Walter Kerr Theatre declares, “It’s impossible not to be charmed” by Amelie, A New Musical. While reviewers spend their working lives arguing that all critical opinion is by its very nature subjective, I’d call that fake news. Just as Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s popular 2001 French film presented an elaborate fantasist’s version of modern-day Paris, bursting with quaint eccentrics, this grating stage musical takes the slenderest of romances and drowns it in cartoonish quirks in place of genuine warmth or feeling. And while Phillipa Soo is a creditable stand-in for the movie’s uber-gamine Audrey Tautou, as a musical comedy heroine, Amelie Poulain is a dud, a bundle of cutesy affectations in search of a human core.
Matthew Murray – Talkin’ Broadway
Charm used to be the glue that held musicals together, but today it’s largely unappreciated, if not outright scorned, as antithetical to big products and big budgets that can’t (or shouldn’t) coast on gentle star power alone. But Phillipa Soo is loaded with charm and knows how to use it to make the new musical Amélie, which just opened at the Walter Kerr, something more than it could ever be on its own. If her superb work doesn’t prove beyond any doubt that individuality is the true fuel of the musical actor’s art, it’s difficult to see how anything could.
Mark Shenton – The Stage
It’s a tenderly-drawn, small story, but it feels out of place amid the bombast and bigger effects that Broadway usually trades in. Pam MacKinnon’s production is sweet and full of charm but it makes no lasting impression. The same is true of Daniel Messe and Nathan Tysen’s score.