Meteor Shower, a comedic play written by Steve Martin featuring a star-studded cast of Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Jeremy Shamos, and Laura Benanti, opened at the Booth Theatre last night on Broadway, and reviews have been ambivalent.
The obvious star of the show (pun only somewhat intended) is Amy Schumer, who has skyrocketed into household name status since humble beginnings on Last Comic Standing a decade ago. While opinions on the show itself vary, most every review applauds Schumer’s performance, and predicts that it will be her involvement that will bring the show success at the box office.
In fact, in maybe the most critical of reviews, the L.A. Times headlines “Amy Schumer and Keegan-Michael Key lend star power to ‘Meteor Shower,’ but it’s still space junk”, and however harsh (and, even for me, a bit too punny), almost every review echos this sentiment: the script is not great, but the cast makes it bearable.
Which lends more support to the question I raised earlier this month: Has Broadway become reliant on celebrity draw at the box office?
The play pits a seemingly “normal” couple, Corky and Norm (Schumer and Shamos) against the trouble-making duo Laura and Gerald (Benanti and Key) in Ojai, California in the early 90’s. The couples join for a dinner party to view the cosmic event that gives the play its name, as well as lends to an underlying message that it takes an event of such extreme proportions to unveil the repression of everyday normalcy in marriage (at least, that is the gist gathered from most reviews; I did not see the show myself).
A common critique of Meteor Shower is its lack of coherence; it’s described by The Guardian as “a comedy sketch that resets when it doesn’t know how to end”. Variety says of the show that “clever lines and canny body language only get you so far, and there comes a point when this lightweight comedy just gives up and implodes on itself from lack of thought and direction”.
The most gratuitous points of review go to the performances of the cast members themselves. Schumer is called “exuberant” and “a sensation”; Shamos is “a Broadway reliable”; Key “a riveting presence” and Benanti “divine” and “invigorating”. Several reviews make mention of the fact that the cast is seemingly set out to have fun with the script more than anything else, and even break character on stage at each other’s best deliveries of Martin’s most absurd lines.
Despite a hit-or-miss script, dependent on sense of humor, the show has grossed over 100% of its potential since previews and consistently boasts an average ticket price of just over $160. The show’s success likely won’t falter from its reviews. As L.A. Times points out: “Big names can sell anything, sight unseen”.