'New in 2018 A new musical biography about iconic disco diva Donna Summer, using the songs she made famous, including "Hot Stuff," "On the Radio," "Bad Girls," and "MacArthur Park."
From the producers: She was a girl from Boston with a voice from heaven, who shot through the stars from gospel choir to dance floor diva. But what the world didn’t know was how Donna Summer risked it all to break through barriers, becoming the icon of an era, and the supreme queen for every diva who followed. With a score featuring more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “Love to Love You, Baby;” “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff,” this electric experience is a moving tribute to the voice of a generation.
Music icon Donna Summer gained prominence during the disco era of the late 1970s. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach No. 1 on the United States Billboard 200 chart and charted four number-one singles in the U.S. within a 12-month period. Summer has reportedly sold over 140 million records worldwide, making her one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. She also charted two number-one singles on the R&B charts in the U.S. and a number-one in the U.K.
"Summer" comes directly from La Jolla Playhouse, where it has its world premiere in a sold-out 2017 engagement. Told through the dramatic lens of Summer's final concert, the musical features a book by Tony nominee Colman Domingo ("The Scottsboro Boys"), Robert Cary, and Tony winner Des McAnuff ("Jersey Boys, "The Who's Tommy). The score includes more than 20 of the singer's classic hits, including "Bad Girls," "She Works Hard for the Money," "MacArthur Park," "On the Radio," and "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)."
[A] little more than a glorified concert...the timeline is hard to follow, bouncing illogically over the years. What saves all this, of course, is the celebration of the music, with a parade of hits...never mind that these songs sometimes show up without moving the story along. There are moments of pure emotion in the show...and all three Donnas are at the top of their vocal game, raising the roof. By the time the show closes, the audience is up dancing.
"Summer" delivers the seasonal sunshine. It just doesn't also bring a whole lotta depth. Of course, the music is terrific...but this production lives or dies on the shoulders of its three Donnas - and they are incredible. As a jukebox musical, "Summer" checks virtually all the boxes: toe-tappingly familiar songs, stellar performances, shiny costumes, and a reminder of the impact of its subject on the music industry at large. It's also a little thin on story, opting to focus more on sparkling numbers than exposition.