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‘Devil Wears Prada’ musical is a haute mess

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CHICAGO — “You’ve got no style or sense of fashion,” viciously observes the fictional magazine editor Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

She’s dressing down her dowdy prospective new assistant, Andy, but that same harsh criticism should be lobbed at the bargain-bin new musical adaptation of the film and Lauren Weisberger’s novel that opened Sunday night in Chicago.


Theater review

2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission. At the James L. Nederlander Theater in Chicago.

Call the Fashion Police. The alarmingly un-fun and sluggish show with a score by Elton John and Shaina Taub is a dud about duds, and the worst screen-to-stage move in recent memory.

Considering the mind-numbing movie properties that have been cynically schlepped to Broadway the past few seasons, that’s an achievement worthy of the Guinness Book.

Every song is lousy, and there is nothing here worth fixing.

No convincing artistic effort has been made to reinterpret the film and book into something new that makes logical and compelling sense onstage. Just about every plot point is identical to the 2006 film that was slick, sexy and satisfying and earned Meryl Streep a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

But “Prada” should have been reworked completely. When the cinematic story is lifelessly put to music, it becomes mopey and slow; frumpy and boring; laughless and sterile. The “Devil” wears thin.

Andy (Taylor Iman Jones) goes to work at Runway magazine along with Nigel (Javier Munoz) and Miranda Priestly (Beth Leavel).
Joan Marcus

It’s still about Andy (Taylor Iman Jones, capable and textureless), an aspiring New York journalist who unwillingly becomes the second assistant at Runway magazine, a stand-in for Vogue, led by Miranda Priestly (Beth Leavel) — a cruel but brilliant editor a la Anna Wintour who lords over the fashion industry with icy glares and put-downs.

At first a Kmart mess, Andy learns how to navigate the treacherous waters of Runway while alienating her annoying Brooklyn friends and boyfriend and earning the ire of first assistant Emily (Megan Masako Haley).

Composers John and Taub, book writer Kate Wetherhead and director Anna D. Shapiro have squandered beloved source material, even while borrowing heavily from it.

First assistant Emily (Megan Masako Haley) schools Andy (Taylor Iman Jones).
First assistant Emily (Megan Masako Haley) schools Andy (Taylor Iman Jones).
Joan Marcus

The plot’s early aughts sensibilities have been cautiously and stupidly updated to 2022 mores. Andy is now a progressive Gen Z striver and Miranda is, I dunno, Nancy Reagan?

When Andy says she thought she was going to a job interview at a Vox-like website called City Dweller, Miranda calls the publication “a liberal echo chamber.” Later the fearsome editor mockingly sings, “Who has time for handbags when democracy’s at stake?!”

What the heel? No one in the fashion world would ever say that, especially now, and it’s a completely wrongheaded way to define the mysterious character.

Miranda is a major hurdle for the musical because of how little she shares. Musicals, of course, hinge on over-sharing. That’s what a ballad is. To compensate early on, Leavel sings some awkward patter songs as though she’s the very model of a Modern Major Editor. Later, her big number in Act 2 at a Paris luncheon is a vocally impressive “Cruella de Vil” tune, but forgettable and oddly placed. Thus, Miranda has been turned into a supporting role.

Leavel, a funny vocal powerhouse in “The Prom” and “Drowsy Chaperone,” has been miscast here. In tandem with the writers, she makes Miranda come across as a mean middle-manager rather than a grand cultural icon.

Andy and Miranda, mystifyingly, never even sing a duet, which is what we wait for all night. Instead, the climax is a dull, soft-spoken scene.

Javier Munoz plays Nigel, a fashion editor at Runway.
Javier Munoz plays Nigel, a fashion editor at Runway.
Joan Marcus

There are lots of womp-womp choices like that. For example, too much stage time is given to Andy’s downer roommates (Christiana Cole and Tiffany Mann) and her chef beau (Michael Tacconi), who sing a funereal dirge about losing their friend to her job. 

Another weepy number is sung by Nigel, the Runway editorial director, in Paris about growing up gay in Kalamazoo. “I used to hide in closets, but I curate them now,” he sings. You’ve Prada be kidding me.

Regardless, the actor Javier Munoz, who plays Nigel, is the best part of the show. His material is cringey, old-fashioned “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”-style jokes, but he has terrific energy.

Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway starred in the film version of "The Devil Wears Prada."
Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway starred in the film version of “The Devil Wears Prada.”
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett C

Some will see “Prada” for John, who besides giving us “Tiny Dancer” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” wrote the great Broadway musicals “The Lion King” and “Billy Elliot” (and also the bad musicals “Aida” and “Lestat”).

But “Devil” has overtaken the misguided vampire debacle “Lestat” as the worst stage music of John’s career. None of these songs will show up on the set list of his inevitable final, final, final farewell tour.

What a shame. “Prada” was never a deep movie. Streep was sensational and elevated what she was handed. What the stage show needed to do was build an intoxicating world of New York fashion, let us inhabit that exclusive club and give us a chic good time.

Instead, we got an ugly bore.

Most regrettably, the clothes by Arianne Phillips are let-downs — even in Andy’s dress-up number called “Who’s She?” They’re nowhere near as fabulous as Bob Mackie’s spectacular looks in “The Cher Show” or Amneris’ outfits in “My Strongest Suit” from John’s “Aida.”

What should’ve been a haute couture musical is hopelessly ready-to-wear.

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This Off-the-Shoulder Sequin Top Is Perfect for New Year’s Eve — On Sale Now!

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Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.

Our closet is like a New Year’s Eve graveyard, filled with the sequined skeletons of past holiday outfits we’ve since discarded. That’s the thing about New Year’s — it often feels like a waste of money for just a few hours of fun. Rather than splurge on a sparkly dress you’ll only wear once, we recommend buying a staple piece you can style over and over again. Our top choice? This off-the-shoulder shirt that’s currently on sale from Amazon.

Adorned with sequins and available in 12 different colors, this trendy top features a flattering silhouette that complements all figures. The drapey style shows off a little skin while still covering trouble areas on arms, and the relaxed fit skims curves nicely. You can mix and match this statement shirt with a variety of bottoms, from high-waisted pants to a mini skirt. Since the options are endless, you’re getting more bang for your buck.

Read on to find out why this sequin shirt is a New Year’s Eve necessity!

Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

The Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top is perfect for a New Year’s Eve party! The unofficial dress code of the holiday is sequins, so you’ll fit right in. Bonus: this top is surprisingly comfortable.

We also love the versatility of this sparkly shirt. As everyone else around you is freezing in frocks, you can choose to complete your ensemble with warm pants or a blazer on top. Pair this shirt with faux leather pants in the winter or shorts in the summer! Stick with a solid shade, or go all out with a multicolored or ombré option.

Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

Take this sparkly shirt from a holiday party to a concert! Stand out on any special occasion in this fun top that will earn you all the compliments. As one shopper said, “This shirt was perfect for attending a bling Christmas party. It fit well and shined brightly. It’s perfect for events.” Another customer gushed, “This shirt is everything! Comfy, flattering and makes this boxy girl have a waist!” And if you’re worried about this top feeling less than luxe, just read this rave review: “Many sequined tops and dresses look more like a costume to me, but this one doesn’t. I ordered for a concert but feel like it is something I will also wear on other occasions.”

On New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, rock this one-shoulder sequin shirt, on sale now at Amazon!

See It! Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

Not your style? Shop more from Anna-Kaci here and explore more tops here! Don’t forget to check out all of Amazon’s Daily Deals for more great finds!

Looking for other New Year’s outfit ideas? Check out more picks below:

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as wedding-guest outfits, purses, plus-size swimsuits, women’s sneakers, bridal shapewear, and perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from the advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping!

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‘Babylon’ stars Margot Robbie, Jean Smart fear deepfakes: ‘Year 3000 porn’

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Jean Smart and Margot Robbie aren’t so fond of advanced technology in Hollywood.

During promotion for the film “Babylon” — which documents the rise and fall of characters in 1920s Hollywood — the cast of the movie was asked what they believe will be the next big shift in Tinseltown.

In Entertainment Weekly’s “Around the Table” video series, almost all the actors who joined — including Robbie, Smart, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo and Li Jun Li — agreed they were concerned about deepfakes.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to manipulate videos and replace the likeness of one person with another.

Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in “Babylon.”
Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

“Are they just going to take our faces, and we won’t even be going to work anymore?” Robbie, 32, said.

“So creepy,” Pitt, 59, chimed in.

Smart echoed the concern but pointed out that their likeness can be used even after they’re gone.

“Or after you’re dead, they’ll go, ‘Oh, let’s put Margot Robbie in that movie’ — a hundred years from now, having her doing God knows what. And your estate will have to sue them. It’ll be horrible, Margot,” the 71-year-old actress said.

Margot Robbie, left, and Li Jun Li in "Babylon."
Margot Robbie and Li Jun Li in “Babylon.”
Paramount Pictures via AP

The “Hacks” star continued saying that she’s troubled by seeing Marilyn Monroe in TV commercials and Fred Astaire in Coke commercials due to the technology in Hollywood — and said she will not be OK with her likeness being used after she’s dead.

“Unless my kids are getting rich off it. Of course. In that case, then it’s all right,” Smart quipped.

But there’s one thing that is absolutely off the table for Smart’s likeness.

“I don’t want to be in a year-3000 porn,” she added.

Jean Smart in "Babylon."
Jean Smart said she will not be OK with her likeness being used after she’s dead.
Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

Meanwhile, some celebrities are already using deepfakes for projects.

Back in September, it was reported that an AI platform created a “digital twin” of Bruce Willis, who was diagnosed with aphasia — a brain disorder that affects his ability to communicate, which will allow him to appear on screen after his retirement from acting.

The “Die Hard” actor’s deepfake already made its debut in August 2021 when his face was “grafted” onto Konstantin Solovyov for a commercial for MegaFon, a Russian telecommunications company.

His estate has the final say on what’s created with his face.

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Erika Jayne is spotted in LA as she sports a pale blue sweatsuit and sunglasses during shopping trip

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Make-up free Erika Jayne shops for expensive Christmas gifts at luxury store Hermès in LA – amid the RHOBH star’s money woes

Erika Jayne went without makeup as she shopped in Los Angeles days before Christmas.

The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses. 

The 51-year-old Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star – who has been battling money woes ever since her ex husband was declared bankrupt – was dressed expensively in a pale blue Alexander Wang sweatsuit and sneakers.

Bare face: Erika Jayne went without makeup as she shopped in Los Angeles days before Christmas

The platinum blonde beauty wore her locks bone straight, styled in an undefined part as they cascaded over her shoulders.

She looked cozy in her crew neck top and matching loose-fitting sweats, which she coordinated with pale pink and blue sneakers. 

Erika carried an Hermès bag on her arm as she carried a small, bottled water with pristinely manicured hands.

She was out and about by herself as she fit in some retail therapy two days before Christmas.

Under the radar: The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses

Under the radar: The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses

Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna.

Both women flaunted their long, toned legs as they wore dresses to the event hosted by friend Sanela Diana Jenkins.

Jayne took to Instagram to share a snapshot from the gathering in which she and Lisa kicked their legs up.

‘This was the BEST Christmas party EVER!!!’ she wrote in the caption as the photo showed her in a luxe white fur coat.

Season's greetings: Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna

Season’s greetings: Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna

The fashion-forward socialite donned a pair of pointy-toe metallic purple heels as she sat in a chair designed to look like a sleigh.

Rinna was equally stylish in a cream blazer dress with a black satin collar and gold accoutrements set in a pattern.

She added a pair of knee-high black leather boots and carried a metallic gold clutch.

Erika finished her caption with a shoutout to Lisa as she wrote: ‘thanks for babysitting me and telling me what happened at the party.’

Looking great: The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People's Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates

Looking great: The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates

The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates. 

For her part, Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design.

Rinna, who’s feuding with Kathy Hilton amid the RHOBH hiatus, donned a long black dress with a plunging neckline. 

Engaging with her 2.5 million followers on Instagram, Jayne shared photos and wrote in a caption: ‘I had fun last night.’

Hot! Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design

Hot! Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design

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