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SLAUGHTERED BY BROADWAY; STAGE FRIGHTFUL: CRITICS SAVAGE ELTON.

SIR Elton John was yesterday panned by critics as his multi-million pound musical Aida premiered on Broadway.

As the flamboyant star played for the Press at the launch of the show - based on Verdi's opera - the critics were getting out their laptops to give him the hardest time of his career.

Sir Elton had said he improved on Verdi's efforts.

But New York Daily News critic Joe Farber wrote: "It's full of over-dramatised ballads and forced little rock songs.

"Unfortunately, most of his songs meander as they vamp to match Tim Rice's elaborately dull lyrics."

New York Times critic Ben Brantley claimed: "Mr John's score for Aida might have been assembled from 'make your own Elton John song' software.

"It has all the memory-grabbing adhesiveness of unchewed gum but it would work fine as background music."

Damning reviews may be the final nail in the coffin for the musical, which had pounds 10million pumped into it by backers Disney last year.

At the time, Elton and co-writer Rice said it was "better than Verdi". The singer reckoned Verdi's version was "10 minutes of good music and two hours and 50 minutes of waffle".

Sir Elton and Rice wrote and recorded 19 songs for the musical in 19 days. At the time, Elton boasted: "You could probably call that a million dollars a day."

But he recently walked out of a rehearsal in disgust, complaining the arrangements of two of his songs were wrong and blaming Disney for failing to make changes he requested.

Last night, a spokesman for Sir Elton said: "The New York Post was never behind it. There were a few hiccups but that's how Broadway shows develop.

"They're not rave reviews. But it's not the final nail in the coffin."

After the premiere, Elton claimed: "It's a wonderful show. I'm very pleased."

Disney hope to bring the musical to London's West End next year.
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Author:Dingwall, John
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 25, 2000
Words:317
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