Review: The Revival of Gigi on Broadway

gigi on broadway

When I invited my mom to attend a press viewing of the revival of Gigi on Broadway, she was ecstatic, claiming it’s one of the most memorable shows she ever saw as a teenager in the 1950s. She remembered the songs and story very clearly from the show, as well as the film. I’m also in that celebrated category of remembering the story. While spending time in Paris in my 20s, I went to see the film again at a small repertory cinema and embraced the performances of Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier, and Hermione Gingold. This was the first time I would see the show on a stage.

Written famously by Colette, Gigi is the story of a young ingénue who lives under the strict guard of her strict grandmother, Mamita, and her great-aunt, Alicia, retired courtesans who are grooming her for the family trade. They aren’t wealthy but she finds potential wealth in the form of a wealthy libertine, Garson Lachaille. They fall in love…but only after the two matrons transform her into a goddess. Yet despite the fact that their relationship seems to be built on physical beauty and pretension, Gigi is smart enough to make sure that their lives will be different and are based on the one thing that counts most: true love. For a moment when Colette rejects Gaston, it’s nearly a feminist tale. However, Colette took the story in a different direction. It’s more of a fairy tale ending, but that’s okay in the land of big, ballsy musicals.

And that’s what this is. Big, fancy sets, costumes, musical numbers, wonderful dancing and a well-chosen cast for the most part. Vanessa Hudgens, fresh off the tween/teenage screens of High School Musical, will certainly draw big audiences, and she looks the part perfectly. She’s a wonderful singer and dancer but I can’t say the same thing about her acting. It’s okay, needs work – her accent was up and down. But she has time to perfect her role and she just might surprise us.

Corey Cott, Victoria Clark, Howard McGillin, Dee Hoty and Steffanie Leigh, as well as the supporting cast, are really fabulous and make the musical numbers even more spectacular than my mom remembers. But she said it was better the first time, as most musicals are. Still, interestingly enough, she loved it as much 60 years later.

Gigi is playing at the Neil Simon Theatre. It opens tonight. Get tix here.

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to facilitate this review but all opinions are my own.


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