Leap of Faith on Broadway

Like a sermon on the mount, this new Broadway show based on the Steve Martin movie of the same name, is full of pomp, circumstance and praising of the Lord. Set appropriately in a circus tent, this show has glitz, glamour, singing and dancing to win over the crowd(both virtual and literal) and their wallets.  The show follows the story of con-man/preacher Jonas Nightingale and his devoted following of "Angels" that bilks each town they bring their revival too out of money. 

There are moments that reach almost reach the point of touching; you almost feel for Nightingale, but you never quite take the bait. Don't get me wrong, Raul Esparza as Nightingale gives his all to convert you, it's just that the script and music he has to work with in my opinion doesn't show off his talent to the fullest. Or maybe he is not the right fit for this role, I felt he portrayed too much of a dark side to Nightingale, where I felt a touch more sarcasm and wit was needed. Norbert Leo Butz comes to mind as a perfect fit for Nightingale.

The whole show feels like a plead to believe, and I never quite want to partake of the sacrament.  The multiple story lines also seem forced and pulls the audience in too many directions. Focus people, focus.  The songs by Alan Menken of Disney fame all feel simple and pandering, most sounded like a B-rated Disney tune.  The one exception is Jonas' Soliloquy which Mr. Esparza fully embraces and knocks out of the park, the highlight of the show for me. It is a meaty solo number in which he gets to interject emotion and shows off range.   

I love the idea of this and I feel like there is a lot of potential for this show, but for the time being it's currently a miss for me. But not for lack of the talented cast trying, with a few tweaks I still yet may believe....

LEAP OF FAITH on Broadway