The story of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who founded Angelus Temple in Echo Park, has captivated many people. But New York theater critics are harder to please. The Thursday night opening of “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson” on Broadway met with some mixed reviews for the musical created by TV host Kathy Lee Gifford, reports Culture Monster. While many praised lead actress Carolee Carmelo as Sister Aimee, there were few kind words for the music. Said the New York Times of Carmelo’s performance:
What she cannot do — no singer without the power of miracle could — is bring distinction to songs that never rise above the serviceable.
Newsday called the production well produced and professional but not that interesting:
At least as problematic is the bombardment of nursery-rhyme lyrics — that is, “come with me, on bended knee” and “there’s a child deep inside who won’t be denied” and “You can touch the sky, why can’t I?” and, oh, well, “Hey, little lassie, come show me your assie.”
Associated Press critic Mark Kennedy was even less impressed, calling the show “insipid and patronizing, a work that seems more at home in a church parking lot than on Broadway.”
There is no mention if Scandalous, which was supported in part by the Foursquare Foundation, an arm of the church founded by Sister Aimee, will ever appear at Angelus Temple in Echo Park. If it does, it sounds like Gifford might want to tweak those lyrics a bit.