Enron The Musical Gets Only Slightly Better Reviews Than Enron The Company

Categories: Stage
Photo courtesy Enron
They sing, they dance, they rip off your 401(k): What a night at the theater!
Houston has inspired many Broadway plays, if you count Marvin Zindler in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and define "many" as "one."

But now it's two!!! Enron, a semi-musical, opened on the Great White Way last night. Judging from the reviews, however, it's not likely to be around long.

Kind of like Enron the company, after people actually started looking at the books instead of the hype.

A round-up of reviews here shows seven positive reviews, seven negative, and four mixed.

Which doesn't sound so bad, but on Broadway it depends on who's doing the reviews. And one of the negative reviews came from The New York Times, and that's usually a killer.

Photo courtesy Enron
Norbert Leo Butz as Jeff Skilling, looking like he's enjoying a Skilling-esque night on the town

Says the Times' Ben Brantley:

Yet even with a well-drilled cast that includes bright Broadway headliners like Norbert Leo Butz and Marin Mazzie, the realization sets in early that this British-born exploration of smoke-and-mirror financial practices isn't much more than smoke and mirrors itself. "Enron" is fast-paced, flamboyant and, despite the head-clogging intricacy of its business mathematics, lucid to the point of simple-mindedness. But as was true of the company of this play's title, the energy generated here often feels factitious, all show (or show and tell) and little substance.
Brantley says of the play's heavy-handedness: "[I]n making those points, the show uses more signpost symbols than the collected works of John Milton." Oh, SNAP -- a John Milton dis!!!!

Enron began in the West End in London, where reviewers were far happier with it. Its prospects in America seem less favorable, especially since the chances of luring Big Apple tourists to a show about corporate America that isn't named How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was going to be tough anyway.

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