More than a few of the theatre critics were brutal as they reviewed Back to the Future, the Musical, which opened in New York at the Winter Garden Theatre on August 3, 2023.
The critics sometimes churlish, often contradictory, observations were in direct opposition to those of opening night audience members—who were sending love notes.
It’s far from the first time theatre critics have appeared to be more concerned with smugly pleasing the haute monde and culturati rather than speaking to the broader theatre-going public. It’s not the first time they’ve reviewed a show—seemingly looking for a Pulitzer Prize winning script or some Chekhovian subtext—while overlooking an evening of non-stop entertainment that drives audiences, night after night to standing ovations.
Reviewing the opening night performance of Les Miserables, Clive Barnes, NY Post, called the score of the show monotonous, the script full of “brutish drama and tear-stained sentiment,” and the show in general “instantly disposable trash.” In spite of many unfavorable reviews, the Broadway production of Les Mis ran for 16 years, and played 6,680 performances. When It closed, it was the second-longest-running musical in Broadway history. It was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. It captivated audiences matinee after matinee and night after night.
I’ve written before about Jacob’s and my rationale for investing in Back to the Future, the Musical and we stand by it. In short, it’s a big show in a grand theatre, and it’s exactly what the world needs more of. It’s feel-good entertainment, happy family time, fun music, and a bit of additional assurance that all—once again—can be right with the world. It’s a joy. (And, there’s that DeLorean!)
Back to the Future, the Musical gross as of August 6, 2023
We suspected audiences would love it and, so far, we’re being proven right. Since its first preview, the show is selling out the Winter Garden night after night after night. See you at the Tony Awards.