Reviews: What Do Critics Think of the Broadway-Bound Death Becomes Her Musical? | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: What Do Critics Think of the Broadway-Bound Death Becomes Her Musical?

Megan Hilty and Jennifer Simard star in the stage version of the cult classic film, which opened May 19 in Chicago.

Jennifer Simard, Megan Hilty, and Christopher Sieber in Death Becomes Her Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

The Broadway-bound stage musical adaptation of Death Becomes Her officially opened its world premiere engagement May 19 following previews that began April 30 at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre, and the reviews are in. Performances continue through June 2.

The musical has already announced a Broadway transfer for this fall. Previews will begin October 23 prior to an official opening November 21 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre with Megan Hilty, Jennifer Simard, Christopher Sieber, and Michelle Williams all reprising their performances from the Chicago bow.

WATCH: Watch the Cast of Broadway-Bound Death Becomes Her Musical Perform 'Tell Her' and 'Prelude'

Hilty and Simard, who also starred in an April 2023 reading of the work, again lead the cast as Madeline Ashton and Helen Sharp, respectively. They play fierce rivals who take a magic potion to obtain eternal youth only to find it has some gnarly side effects.

The two are joined by Tony nominee Sieber (Shrek the Musical, Spamalot) as Ernest Menville and Grammy winner Williams (Destiny's Child, Aida) as Viola Van Horn.

Read the reviews below.

Chicago Reader (Kerry Reid)

The Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones)*

Variety (Steven Oxman)

*This review may require creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

The ensemble includes Marija Abney, Sarita Colon, Kaleigh Cronin, Natalie Charle Ellis, Gabriella Enriquez, Taurean Everett, Michael Graceffa, Neil Haskell, Kolton Krouse, Josh Lamon, Sarah Meahl, Diana Vaden, Sir Brock Warren, Bud Weber, Ryan Worsing, and Warren Yang. Beau Harmon, Johanna Moise, Amy Quanbeck, and Zach Williams are the swings.

Based on the 1992 film, the work features a book by TV writer-producer Marco Pennette and music and lyrics by Julia Mattison and Noel Carey. Tony winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies) is directing and choreographing with associate direction by Bethany Pettigrew and staging supervision by Mark Myars.

Death Becomes Her also has music supervision by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, orchestrations by Doug Besterman, dance and incidental music arrangements by Sam Davis, music direction by Ben Cohn, set design by Derek McLane, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Justin Townsend, sound design by Peter Hylenski, illusions by Rob Lake, hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe, makeup by Joe Dulude II, fights by Thomas Schall, and casting by Tara Rubin Casting.

The original film, directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Martin Donovan and David Koepp, starred Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. It was an early pioneer in using CGI to achieve its special effects, which include Streep's head turned completely backwards and a gaping hole in Hawn's stomach. The film also featured a Playbill in its first scene. The musical adaptation has been in the works since at least 2017, when Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth was attached to star. Chenoweth's involvement pre-dates the current creative team.

General management is by 321 Theatrical Management, and the production stage manager is Rachel Sterner. Universal Theatrical Group produces. UTG Vice President of Creative Development and Production Lowe Cunningham oversees on behalf of UTG.

Photos: Megan Hilty, Jennifer Simard, Michelle Williams, and Christopher Sieber in Death Becomes Her in Chicago

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