Theater: The Curse of 'Doctor Zhivago'

April 22, 2015 1:00 AM

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Never try to conquer Russia in winter. Napoleon ignored this lesson and paid dearly. Hitler ignored this lesson and it cost him World War II. Now director Des McAnuff and his foolhardy team of craftsmen and actors have foundered miserably in that same punishing landscape with little warmth and even littler imagination. It beggars belief that this show has been in development for so long, even fully mounted in Australia and yet still they forged ahead. Investors saw what they had to work with and gave it a full airing and saw how much it lacked (the reviews weren't any better years ago) and still they forged ahead. In-demand, Tony-winning talent behind the scenes realized this wasn't going to be a feather in their cap. But they forged ahead, like those mad invaders who had come so far they couldn't cut their losses but preferred to lose it all on the vain hope of somehow turning things around.

One feels most for the foot soldiers, the actors who are always looking for work and not yet name brands who can pick a choose. A major role in a new Broadway musical! How could they say no? One understands but the choice -- unfortunately -- will be much easier for audiences.

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