Pedro Almodovar’s popular 1988 film “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” came alive on Broadway last night, November 4, when it opened...

Pedro Almodovar’s popular 1988 film “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” came alive on Broadway last night, November 4, when it opened in musical form at the Belasco Theatre.

The Lincoln Center Theater adaptation of the highly-successful movie is directed by Bartlett Sher with book by Jeffrey Lane, music and lyrics by David Yazbek, and choreography by Christopher Gatelli. In its Broadway debut, “Women on the Verge” is a limited engagement, playing through January 23, 2011.

The frenetic musical comedy, based in Madrid, strings together its characters’ overlapping stories of love and betrayal. At the center of the story is Pepa (Sherie Rene Scott), who learns that her philandering lover Ivan (Brian Stokes Mitchell) is leaving her for a younger woman, the lawyer Paulina (de’Adre Aziza). Complicating matters further is Paulina’s client — and Ivan’s long-institutionalized ex-wife — Lucia (Patti LuPone), who is on the loose and ready for revenge.

Other characters in the madcap comedy include Pepa’s friend Candela (Laura Benanti), who worries that her Arab boyfriend (Luis Salgado) is a terrorist; Lucia and Ivan’s son Carlos (Justin Guarini); Carlos’ icy fiancée Marisa (Nikka Graff Lanzarone); and the local taxi driver (Danny Burstein).

Previews began October 2 at the 1,002-seat Belasco Theatre. During the production’s run of 27 previews, the playhouse averaged 91 percent capacity. Regular ticket prices range from $35 to $125. The total gross for its four pre-opening weeks was $1,448,422, with the tuner grossing $399,011 for the week ending October 31, according to the Broadway League’s tally.

Evening performances are scheduled Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees are offered Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. During the holidays, matinees scheduled for December 26 and January 2 will be at 2 p.m. No productions will be staged on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.

The Belasco Theatre is located at 111 West 44th Street in New York, NY. ”Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” runs about two hours and 45 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission. Additional scheduling and ticketing details are available on Lincoln Center Theater’s official Web site.

Opening Night: “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”

Publication Critic Review
Variety Steve Suskin “Tuner is blessed with some delicious performances and any number of items of interest, but the result can be summed up as women (and men) on the verge of a coherent musical.”
New York Times Ben Brantley “Packed with talent and creativity, and a cast and crew bristling with Tony Awards, ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ is nonetheless a sad casualty of its own wandering mind.”
USA Today Elysa Gardner “Sadly, David Yazbek’s score and Jeffrey Lane’s book don’t accommodate the vibrant gifts of this group or Almodovar.”
The Wall Street Journal Terry Teachout “Mr. Almodóvar’s women are creatures of flesh and blood who effortlessly engage your emotions, whereas the women of the Lane-Yazbek version…are stick figures set up onstage for the sole purpose of selling tickets.”
TheaterMania David Finkle “Rarely has a show squandered so much major musical comedy talent.”
Hollywood Reporter David Rooney “…a flavorless gazpacho.”