‘Satan Wears Prada’ musical is a haute mess

CHICAGO — “You’ve received no type or sense of style,” viciously observes the fictional journal editor Miranda Priestly in “The Satan Wears Prada.”

She’s dressing down her dowdy potential new assistant, Andy, however that very same harsh criticism must be lobbed on the bargain-bin new musical adaptation of the movie and Lauren Weisberger’s novel that opened Sunday night time in Chicago.

Theater assessment

2 hours and half-hour with one intermission. On the James L. Nederlander Theater in Chicago.

Name the Style Police. The alarmingly un-fun and sluggish present with a rating by Elton John and Shaina Taub is a dud about duds, and the worst screen-to-stage transfer in current reminiscence.

Contemplating the mind-numbing film properties which were cynically schlepped to Broadway the previous few seasons, that’s an achievement worthy of the Guinness E-book.

Each track is awful, and there’s nothing right here price fixing.

No convincing creative effort has been made to reinterpret the movie and e book into one thing new that makes logical and compelling sense onstage. Nearly each plot level is equivalent to the 2006 movie that was slick, horny and satisfying and earned Meryl Streep a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Greatest Actress.

However “Prada” ought to have been reworked utterly. When the cinematic story is lifelessly put to music, it turns into mopey and gradual; frumpy and boring; laughless and sterile. The “Satan” wears skinny.

Andy (Taylor Iman Jones) goes to work at Runway journal together with Nigel (Javier Munoz) and Miranda Priestly (Beth Leavel).
Joan Marcus

It’s nonetheless about Andy (Taylor Iman Jones, succesful and textureless), an aspiring New York journalist who unwillingly turns into the second assistant at Runway journal, a stand-in for Vogue, led by Miranda Priestly (Beth Leavel) — a merciless however sensible editor a la Anna Wintour who lords over the style trade with icy glares and put-downs.

At first a Kmart mess, Andy learns navigate the treacherous waters of Runway whereas alienating her annoying Brooklyn pals and boyfriend and incomes the ire of first assistant Emily (Megan Masako Haley).

Composers John and Taub, e book author Kate Wetherhead and director Anna D. Shapiro have squandered beloved supply materials, even whereas borrowing closely from it.

First assistant Emily (Megan Masako Haley) schools Andy (Taylor Iman Jones).
First assistant Emily (Megan Masako Haley) faculties Andy (Taylor Iman Jones).
Joan Marcus

The plot’s early aughts sensibilities have been cautiously and stupidly up to date to 2022 mores. Andy is now a progressive Gen Z striver and Miranda is, I dunno, Nancy Reagan?

When Andy says she thought she was going to a job interview at a Vox-like web site known as Metropolis Dweller, Miranda calls the publication “a liberal echo chamber.” Later the fearsome editor mockingly sings, “Who has time for purses when democracy’s at stake?!”

What the heel? Nobody within the style world would ever say that, particularly now, and it’s a very wrongheaded strategy to outline the mysterious character.

Miranda is a significant hurdle for the musical due to how little she shares. Musicals, after all, hinge on over-sharing. That’s what a ballad is. To compensate early on, Leavel sings some awkward patter songs as if she’s the very mannequin of a Trendy Main Editor. Later, her large quantity in Act 2 at a Paris luncheon is a vocally spectacular “Cruella de Vil” tune, however forgettable and oddly positioned. Thus, Miranda has been become a supporting function.

Leavel, a humorous vocal powerhouse in “The Promenade” and “Drowsy Chaperone,” has been miscast right here. In tandem with the writers, she makes Miranda come throughout as a imply middle-manager fairly than a grand cultural icon.

Andy and Miranda, mystifyingly, by no means even sing a duet, which is what we look forward to all night time. As a substitute, the climax is a boring, soft-spoken scene.

Javier Munoz plays Nigel, a fashion editor at Runway.
Javier Munoz performs Nigel, a style editor at Runway.
Joan Marcus

There are many womp-womp selections like that. For instance, an excessive amount of stage time is given to Andy’s downer roommates (Christiana Cole and Tiffany Mann) and her chef beau (Michael Tacconi), who sing a funereal dirge about dropping their pal to her job. 

One other weepy quantity is sung by Nigel, the Runway editorial director, in Paris about rising up homosexual in Kalamazoo. “I used to cover in closets, however I curate them now,” he sings. You’ve Prada be kidding me.

Regardless, the actor Javier Munoz, who performs Nigel, is one of the best a part of the present. His materials is cringey, old style “Queer Eye for the Straight Man”-style jokes, however he has terrific vitality.

Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway starred in the film version of "The Devil Wears Prada."
Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway starred within the movie model of “The Satan Wears Prada.”
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett C

Some will see “Prada” for John, who in addition to giving us “Tiny Dancer” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Highway,” wrote the nice Broadway musicals “The Lion King” and “Billy Elliot” (and likewise the unhealthy musicals “Aida” and “Lestat”).

However “Satan” has overtaken the misguided vampire debacle “Lestat” because the worst stage music of John’s profession. None of those songs will present up on the set listing of his inevitable remaining, remaining, remaining farewell tour.

What a disgrace. “Prada” was by no means a deep film. Streep was sensational and elevated what she was handed. What the stage present wanted to do was construct an intoxicating world of New York style, allow us to inhabit that unique membership and provides us a classy good time.

As a substitute, we received an unsightly bore.

Most regrettably, the garments by Arianne Phillips are let-downs — even in Andy’s dress-up quantity known as “Who’s She?” They’re nowhere close to as fabulous as Bob Mackie’s spectacular appears in “The Cher Present” or Amneris’ outfits in “My Strongest Swimsuit” from John’s “Aida.”

What ought to’ve been a high fashion musical is hopelessly ready-to-wear.

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