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Despite hype, these 7 Broadway shows disappoint

Scarlett Johansson during a performance of "Cat on

Scarlett Johansson during a performance of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" Credit: Scarlett Johansson during a performance of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

While I was somewhat miffed by Barry Manilow's last-minute cancellation (see the story, right, for more details), I'll get over it.

But it did make me think about how many shows this season have been major letdowns. While not entirely awful (i.e. Kathie Lee Gifford's "Scandalous"), here are a few disappointments that failed to live up to their hype or potential.

1. 'Into the Woods'
It was readily assumed that the Shakespeare in the Park revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical would follow in the shadow of "Hair" and transfer to Broadway right after its summertime run. But despite a stellar cast including Amy Adams, this production proved to be a frustrating, puzzling, poorly conceived mess.

2. 'Bring It On'
Inspired by the 2000 film about competitive high school cheerleaders, the musical itself wasn't disappointing - it was thoroughly entertaining. The disappointment was in its inability to find an audience. Had it found one, it would have probably been given an open-ended run.

3. 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'
Although Scarlett Johansson is giving a fierce performance as the notoriously sexy Maggie the Cat, this marks yet another unsatisfying staging of Tennessee Williams' landmark bedroom drama. When will someone finally get it right?

4. 'Glengarry Glen Ross'
It seemed like a great premise: Al Pacino, who previously played hotshot salesman Ricky Roma, now portraying the ailing Shelley Levene in a new production of David Mamet's Pulitzer-winning drama. But Pacino's performance turned out to be hollow and self-conscious.

5. 'Bare'
The show was terrific when it premiered back in 2004. But now reconstructed as a generic, sanitized high school soap opera in the model of "Glee," it has completely lost its raw and heartfelt appeal, not to mention a huge chunk of the original score.

6. 'Water by the Spoonful'
You can't help but approach Quiara Alegría Hudes play with pretty high expectations given that it won last year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama over a few very worthy candidates. Although it offers a few interesting character portraits, this frustrating, rather tedious play was definitely not award worthy.

7. 'Annie'
Tony winner Katie Finneran, who seemed like an inspired choice for the devious Miss Hannigan, gave an uninspired performance marked entirely by shtick.<NO1> Plus, the musical itself has much of its joyous appeal in James Lapine's ugly and charmless staging.

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