11/16/2012 11:14 am ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

Kathie Lee Gifford Musical 'Scandalous' Opens On Broadway To Harsh Reviews

Kathie Lee Gifford's new Broadway musical opened to less-than-stellar reviews on Thursday night.

Gifford has been working on "Scandalous," a show about the life of famed evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, for 12 years. She wrote the book and the lyrics for the show, which stars Carolee Carmello as McPherson.

Though "Scandalous" was a labor of love for the "Today" host, the critics were not so kind to her.

"Broadway jackals suspicious of Ms. Gifford's bona fides were surely hoping for an epoch-making turkey in time for Thanksgiving," the New York Times' Charles Isherwood wrote. "Sorry, guys. 'Scandalous' isn't so much scandalously bad as it is generic and dull."

Variety wrote, "Scandalous" is another big-budget, evangelist-with-feet-of-clay tale from the hinterlands, and despite various prior incarnations, it looks woefully out of place on a Broadway stage."

Newsday lamented, "It's also not interesting, alas, at least not interesting enough to sustain 21/2 hours of fast-forward storytelling and inspirational songs that almost always end in throbbing climax."

"Kathie Lee Gifford's overblown but undercooked singing bio could have used Sister Aimee's curative abilities," the New York Daily News weighed in.

None was as harsh, however, as the Associated Press critic, Mark Kennedy. He called the songs "terrible" and said the show was "overstuffed," "uninspired," "insipid" and "patronizing."

There were some kinder reviews. Entertainment Weekly, though it gave the show a B- grade, called the songs "fun and functional" and said the direction moved the plot along "effortlessly." USA Today wrote, "'Scandalous' deserves credit for its mix of unabashed razzle-dazzle, gentle irreverence and genuine heart."

And every reviewer had nothing but raves for Carmello. The Times, for instance, called her a "a gloriously gifted singing actress."



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