But the 61 year old pop icon didn’t show any signs of weariness last night as she launched this ambitious, complex production. The good news about Madonna’s Madame X show is that there is no bad news. Not really. So everyone can relax. There’s no incentive to throw tomatoes.
Quite the opposite: I was impressed, and I think anyone who stops into the Gilman will be surprised to find Madonna, in a stripped down setting, is actually real and just a celebrity hologram. She’s very endearing in an intimate venue. Also considering that this performance of “Madame X” was the very first, you have to give her credit. She’s producing a Broadway show in progress.
Indeed, if we come back to “Madame X” in a month, it’s going to be even more together, which isn’t to say it’s not a compelling two hour and fifteen minute entertainment now. But right now “Madame X” is like several Broadway shows happening at once. Most of it works, some of it doesn’t. It needs time to gel. The pieces are good, but they don’t all fit together yet. (The sets are Broadway-level, even better, with terrific lighting. The staging runs from elaborately ornamental to elegantly minimalist. There are excellent video projections, too.)
What we get theme wise are more than a few things: Madonna’s lifelong grappling with Catholicism; her adventures in Lisbon as a “soccer mom,” as she says; her discovery in Portugal of that country’s music and that of Cape Verde, off the coast of Africa; political Madonna, who is advocating for LGBTQ, women’s rights, abortion rights, and gun control. Plus modern dance, jazz and ballet, and even a dance video from Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes. That’s a lot of themes.
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