The musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada, composed by Elton John, was gutted by critics after its opening performance on Sunday at the Nederlander Theater in Chicago.
The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical is currently in its world premiere ahead of a projected Broadway debut in 2023, but top reviews say it’s far from ready for the NYC stage.
The worst reviews have critics calling it an irretrievable fiasco, citing boring music, no style, and flat characters.
“Call the Fashion Police,” wrote critic Johnny Oleksinski in the New York Post, “the shockingly unfunny and sluggish show, set to music by Elton John and Shaina Taub, is fool among fools and the worst screen-to-stage move in the world.” recent memory.’
“Every song sucks, and there’s nothing here worth fixing,” he added.
The show was adapted from Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel about the unstylish, hopeful journalist Andy Sachs, who serves as assistant to New York fashion magazine’s major editor Miranda Priestly – well-known as a stand-in for Anna Wintour – who was later transformed into the popular film starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.
The show pulled out all the stops of its production, hiring rocker and hit-proven Broadway songwriter Elton John to handle the score
Elton John pays a visit to the cast of The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical in Chicago on August 3rd
The show pulled out all the stops in its production, hiring rocker and hit-proven Broadway songwriter Elton John to handle the score and Tony Award-winning actress Beth Leavel to play Runway magazine editor Miranda.
Despite the star power and glamorous subject, the musical on Sunday evening seemed anything but brilliant.
“The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical” ranges from mildly amusing to mostly outrageously disappointing, the latter being its defining ethos,” wrote Catey Sullivan of the Chicago Sun Times in her 1.5/4 star review of the musical.
Sullivan said one of the show’s fundamental problems was “her overwhelming fashion sense” and that the writing of the costumes looked “underfunded and poorly finished.”
“Honestly, you’re going to see more creative silhouettes every season of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,'” she wrote.
Sullivan also called the show’s music “dark” and characterized the score as “mostly as flat as a freshly ironed hem”.
She said the music did next to nothing to develop characters, advance the story, or even give the actors a chance to show their stuff.
‘Elton John wrote brilliant scores for ‘Billy Elliot’ and ‘Aida’. Here his music doesn’t carry the story further or deepen the characters. Worse, it doesn’t offer a single memorable star move for the leads.’
The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical was gutted by critics after its opening performance on Sunday at the Nederlander Theater in Chicago.
The cast of Devil Wears Prada, The Musical at the Nederlander Theater in Chicago in August
Oleksinski wrote in The Post that one of the show’s overriding problems was that it had done nothing to reinterpret the film and book to make convincing use of the medium of the stage.
“Almost every plot point is identical to the 2006 film, which was slick, sexy and satisfying and earned Meryl Streep a well-deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Actress,” he wrote.
All the show did to update the story, Oleksinski wrote, was cautiously and foolishly update it to some interpretation of Gen Z sensibilities.
“Andy is now a progressive nerd Gen Z and Miranda is, I dunno, Nancy Reagan?” he wrote.
Olekinski gave the show one star out of four.
The musical was adapted from the 2006 film of the same name, starring Meryl Streep (right) and Anne Hathaway (left).
In one of her friendlier reviews, Alexis Soloski wrote in The New York Times that the show needed “tailoring” before its Broadway debut.
“If it wants a life beyond Chicago, it could use some changes,” he wrote.
But Soloski didn’t miss the opportunity to throw a few jabs himself.
“Although the show takes place in a fashion magazine, the creative team doesn’t seem to have settled on a style,” he wrote, “this is a show that has tried everything in her closet. Nothing fits.’