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December 13, 2021

At least there are compensations in the typically gorgeous technical wizardry of the Lincoln Center Theater production. The lighting (by Bradley King) and the projections (by 59 Productions) on Beowulf Boritt’s swirling-circles set — along with the immersively psychedelic sound by Dan Moses Schreier — bring us closer to the sensation of melting consciousness than the script ever manages. At times even the costumes (by Toni-Leslie James) seem to be tripping. And Dorrance’s choreography for the show’s opening, arranging the cast’s varying footfalls in rhythmic counterpoint, is sublime.

These are not enough to outweigh Lapine’s failure to dramatize what he evidently sees as the life-enhancing possibilities of mind-altering drugs. If those possibilities exist, surely they are not to be found in a direct linkup of symptoms and cures, as proposed by “Flying Over Sunset.”

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December 13, 2021

The Lincoln Center production has real pleasures: Yazbeck shares a thrilling musical-hall duet, choreographed by Michelle Dorrance, with his younger self (Atticus Ware), who is dressed as a girl; Cusack sings as beautifully as always, as does Laura Shoop as Huxley’s wife. And the staging is very handsome indeed: Beowulf Boritt’s expansive set, Toni Leslie-James’s costumes and Bradley King’s lighting are all first-class. But these elements can only distract so much from a show that would probably make more sense as a one-act in a smaller space. What a long, strange trip it is.

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December 13, 2021

Unfortunately, “Flying Over Sunset” is an artistic misfire – and a nearly three-hour slog to sit through. The book is devoid of conflict (relying instead of introspection and confession), expository (filling in details about the politics of the period), repetitive (with the second act more or less mirroring the first act), and indulgently weird (including a sequence in which Grant imagines himself as a “giant penis rocket ship”).

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December 13, 2021

Flying Over Sunset just can’t quite figure out what these characters ultimately mean to, or do for, one another. They certainly make for smart and pleasant company, and there’s not a weak link in the cast, but one can easily imagine the characters’ individual psychic breakthroughs occurring without any crossing of paths. Their inward journeys are just that – inward, solo – and though it’s nice to trip in friendly environs, the human connections that would provide Flying Over Sunset its emotional payoff never quite land.

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December 13, 2021

It is axiomatic that other people’s dreams are boring to hear about, so you would assume that other people’s acid trips are equally if not more eye-glazing. And yet the ambitious and frequently moving musical “Flying Over Sunset” defies such assumptions. While this adventurous journey into the psyches of celebrities on psychedelics has its longueurs, the score, with music by Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal”) and lyrics by Michael Korie (“Grey Gardens”), and the book and direction by James Lapine, are as accomplished as one would expect from such talents. And the production, from Lincoln Center Theater, is ravishingly beautiful, as this deep-pocketed company bravely puts it ample resources behind this decidedly unlikely project.

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December 13, 2021

For a script that takes such a fantastic leap of imagination, Flying Over Sunset, unfortunately, recoils back into the safety of clichés before it can start spreading its wings of fantasy. It takes three very charismatic personalities but serves them to the audience as half-baked figures, stuck in-between the “rather dull” everyday universe of their problems and the magical stars whose lives we can only make sense of through fables and dreams.

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New York Theater
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Jonathan
Mandell

December 13, 2021

There are certainly some highlights in “Flying Over Sunset,” chief among them Tony Yazbeck’s phenomenal dancing as Cary Grant, accompanied step by step by 14-year-old newcomer Atticus Ware as his younger self. The choreographer, Michelle Dorrance, was a star performer in Stomp, and we hear the influence. The rest of the cast is also first-rate. However, after sitting through the nearly three hours of this unique fusion of high-minded spiritual contemplation, gossipy biographical tidbits, subtle comedy and fabricated hallucinations all presented in song and dance, I was never completely persuaded that these three famous figures belong in the same musical; indeed, it seemed unlikely that they would have had anything to do with one another.

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December 13, 2021

The key post-show discussion question in my small group was “How did this get made?” The Vivian Beaumont is a big house to sign over to a musical so dramaturgically inept, so lacking in connection, philosophy, or fire. I can understand if at first the Lincoln Center folks were persuaded by the team’s collective resumé: the performers are strong, Lapine wrote the book for Sunday in the Park With George, and Tom Kitt composed Next to Normal. But there were workshops! There were opportunities to see Yazbeck blush his way through a number in which Grant thinks he is a giant penis blasting off from earth like a spaceship, and to see how bland and puerile such a scene winds up being in execution.

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Theatrely
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Juan A.
Ramirez

December 13, 2021

The three were personalities at a time when the idea of public personas was still a novelty and, as it turns out, were diehard fans of LSD. To throw them into a musical staged on Lincoln Center’s massive Vivian Beaumont Theater (and backed with their budget) should produce enough material for a twelve-hour opus. And yet, Flying Over Sunset takes up this extraordinary mantle and struggles to prove its two-and-a-half-hour runtime. It’s strange, given the production’s remarkable pedigree: a book by James Lapine, who also directs; music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Michael Korie, respectively; and committed leading performances by Harry Hadden-Paton, Carmen Cusack, and Tony Yazbeck as Huxley, Luce, and Grant.

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December 13, 2021

Being the only sober person in a room full of drunks is never any fun. Neither, as it would happen, is being an audience member at a musical about rich people who are high on LSD. At least its trippy cousin “Hair” has energetic songs and some cute hippies who jump around to them. Not that “Flying Over Sunset,” which opened Monday night on Broadway, is aiming to be a good-time kegger. It’s a stuffy and somber show with an off-putting premise: A 1950s California acid trip taken by movie star Cary Grant (Tony Yazbeck), “Brave New World” author Aldous Huxley (Harry Hadden-Paton) and conservative politician Clare Boothe Luce (Carmen Cusack).

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New York Stage Review
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Frank
Scheck

December 13, 2021

Have you ever served as the designated driver for a group of friends who proceeded to get totally wasted and have a great time while you sat around bored? That’s roughly akin to the experience of watching the new musical written and directed by James Lapine and featuring a score by Tom Kitt (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics). Imagining what might have happened if famed personages Aldous Huxley, Clare Booth Luce, and Cary Grant had taken LSD trips together in the 1950s, the hugely ambitious Flying Over Sunset unfortunately remains stubbornly earthbound.

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December 13, 2021

He is a man of real accomplishment, and yet, Lapine leaves it until the final scene for anyone to ask this historian, science writer, public lecturer, educator and philosopher who wrote over 35 books anything about his life. There might be a point in their lack of curiosity.

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December 13, 2021

In the midst of the deadly dull 1950s, Hollywood celebs Cary Grant, Claire Booth Luce and Aldous Huxley escape their ennui by dropping acid. No serious sex is involved and no one rushes out on a frantic candy run but much witty chitchat ensues in “Flying Over Sunset,” a stylish new Broadway musical by James Lapine (book), Tom Kitt (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics).

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Theatermania
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David
Gordon

December 13, 2021

The description almost sounds like a joke. Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, Clare Booth Luce, writer and ambassador, and movie star Cary Grant walk into a bar and decide to drop acid together. OK, it wasn’t a bar, it was the Brown Derby restaurant, but you get the idea. Unfortunately, I don’t have a punchline, and neither, it seems, do the creators of the new Broadway musical Flying Over Sunset, who take this one-line synopsis and stretch it out to nearly three unsustainable hours.

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New York Stage Review
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Elysa
Gardner

December 13, 2021

I’d love to report that Sunset sustains that high for its roughly two and a half hours, but this long, strange trip—featuring a book by James Lapine, who also directs, music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Michael Korie—is ultimately an uneven one.

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Ny Daily News
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Chris
Jones

December 13, 2021

As an audience member, though, you’re pushed into a voyeuristic experience. You’re not having whatever fun the characters are having and, after a while, you feel pushed to the periphery and disengaged. That, in a nutshell, is the chronic problem that afflicts “Flying Over Sunset,” the intellectually rich, admirably ambitious and elegantly produced new musical at Lincoln Center, with both book and direction by James Lapine, an oft-sumptuous score by Tom Kitt and rich lyrics by Michael Korie.

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