At the Marquis Theatre, 211 W 45th Street
Following the success of Hairspray The Musical comes the second adaptation of a John Waters film. Cry-Baby centers around the love story of Wade Walker, a juvenile delinquent (“Drape”) heartthrob and Allison Vernon, a restless young “Square” who longs to join Walker on the wild side.
A musical itself, the classic Waters’ film was perversely parodic, reveling in the ridiculousness of the genre. Waters casted Patti Hearst, Tracy Lords and Iggy Pop, forming an unholy trinity of crime, sex and rock and roll.
The musical adaptation is rather…Square. The actors, while pleasant, do not startle. The adaptation dilutes campiness with an attempt at moral seriousness, giving Cry-Baby a “vision of the world that’s fair where it doesn’t matter if you’re drape or square,” rather than allowing him to remain a sexy ne’er-do-well into guitars and motorcycles.
Still, Cry-Baby The Musical offers dazzling, innovative choreographic sequences, snappy dialog and dedicated performances. James Snyder in the title role is aptly faithful to Johnny Depp’s characterization, and Elizabeth Stanley (Allison) is a powerful, controlled singer. Harriet Harris as Mrs. Vernon-Williams is compelling.