People have been so eager to badmouth the new musical Chaplin that opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre last week that I’ve been trying to figure out why they’ve been so hostile towards it. Because this certainly isn’t the worst show that any of us have seen. Indeed, there are several things that might recommend it.
The show tracks the career of the great silent movie star Charlie Chaplin, whose Little Tramp character remains an instantly recognizable icon almost 50 years after Chaplin made his last film and whose personal life was just as flamboyantly theatrical.
Last year McClure starred in the Encores! production of Where’s Charley? and was totally delightful in the title role long identified with another grand old clown, Ray Bolger. Even I, usually a grinch when it comes to audience-participation, joined in the sing-along McClure lead of the ditty “Once in Love With Amy.”