The pre-Broadway tryout of the musical "High Fidelity," based on the popular novel and film about a 30-something, commitment-challenged guy named Rob, opened at Boston's Colonial Theatre last week to cheers from the 18- to 34-year-olds who packed the audience – and pans from local critics. Blurring the border between rock concert and theater, the musical pulses with a raucous rock/soul/country-and-western score by Tom Kitt, lyrics by Amanda Green, and book adaptation by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire from Nick Hornby's 1995 British bestseller.
Veteran director Walter Bobbie ("Chicago") hasn't far to stretch the story of Rob's turbulent love life for a perfect musical fit. If the rest of the evening can be honed to match the delightful surprise of Anna Louizos's fold-out sets and the effect of the opening number, "The Last Record Store," set in Rob's vinyl music haven, there'll be no stopping a long life on stage. The rocket-fueled male chorus is led by Will Chase as Rob (center) and Jay Klaitz as Barry, the record snob (r.). Jenn Colella tops Rob's list of heartbroken ladies as Laura. "High Fidelity" begins previews Nov. 20 at New York's Imperial Theater. Grade: B