The List: Bad Musicals

Erica Thompson

“Carrie the Musical,” now showing at Club Diversity through March 30, doesn't sound like the best idea for a production. It even inspired a book, Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops.

Here are some other musicals that should have stayed ideas.

“Once Upon a One More Time”

I would actually be open to a musical based on the “chaotic” life of Britney Spears (that was a play on the title of her reality show that none of you probably watched). But this potential Broadway production, currently in development, is not that. It features the pop star's catalogue, but centers on classic fairytale characters whose lives are changed by The Feminine Mystique. Whatever.


The opening to “The Drew Carey Show,” as well as performances of “The Time Warp” and “Shake Your Groove Thing" were cute, but can you lead a full musical? Not quite, Drew Carey. Not quite.

“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”

I remember this production more for its cast injuries than its music. Its delays and exorbitant costs annoyed critics, who ripped the first version apart. The revised showing didn't fare much better. “So is this ascent from jaw-dropping badness to mere mediocrity a step upward?” asked one reviewer in a roundup on


I understand it's one of the longest-running, highest-grossing, most-beloved Broadway shows. But I grew up seeing people drag this musical in popular culture. Also, I think real-life cats are cute, but I'd be creeped out by a stage of human-sized fuzzy creatures. There's also an upcoming film adaptation co-starring Taylor Swift and James Corden. Hard pass.

“Grease 2”

The only valuable thing this film produced was a launching pad for Michelle Pfeiffer. According to Roger Ebert, “This movie just recycles ‘Grease,' without the stars, without the energy, without the freshness and without the grease.” Damn.

“Carmen: A Hip Hopera”

[Remove this entry for versions circulating among Beyhive readers]

“Mamma Mia!” (the movie)

I like to see Pierce Brosnan in Bond movies or stealing Sally Field away from Robin Williams in drag — not singing terrible ABBA songs with Meryl Streep.


It's unfortunate that a cast member broke his foot before what was supposed to be a live TV rendition of “Rent” earlier this year. However, as the production substituted a taped rehearsal, it just served as a reminder of how annoyed I am with this trend of primetime musicals featuring pop stars. One exception was “The Wiz,” but in hindsight I wonder if that was more about black Americans coming together on social media (and at work the next day) to honor one of our cultural classics.

Any live-action Disney remake

I didn't watch the new “Beauty and the Beast.” I'm not watching the new “The Lion King.” I'm sure as hell not watching “Aladdin” (RIP Robin Williams). Leave my childhood alone and don't @ me.