Broadway's Tepid 'Fever'

In the long, sad list of movies turned into mediocre Broadway musicals--"Footloose," "Victor/ Victoria," "Sunset Blvd.," etc.--"Saturday Night Fever" may be the weirdest crossover yet. Not because it's actually good (it isn't), but because it slavishly mimics its celluloid source as if it were Shakespeare in a disco. The Bee Gees songs, the psychedelic dance floor, the Verrazano Bridge--they're all up there on stage. But do we really need almost every idiotic line of movie dialogue? Or choreography that can't move a foot without thrusting a Travolta-like arm in the air? The idea was clearly to turn "Fever" into a'70s nostalgia trip, and that's fun for a while. Unfortunately, that literal translation also means some guy gets stuck singing "Disco Duck."

Poor James Carpinello has an even tougher job: dancing in John Travolta's white suit and legendary shadow. Contrary to nasty Broadway rumors, Carpinello's Tony Manero sings and dances fine. But he's underdeveloped in the sex-appeal department, especially when boogieing with forgettable Stephanie (Paige Price). In fact, the greatest flaw in this low-grade "Fever" is that it rarely catches fire. Not that it matters. The producers have sold $20 million in tickets. That'll keep the show stayin' alive for a long time.

Broadway's Tepid 'Fever' | News