An occasional blog about theater, movies, the media and other matters.
The Tony Awards: My Uninformed Predictions
The Tony Awards will air on CBS this Sunday, thanks to an agreement with the striking Writers Guild, which will let the show go on without picketing — and without any writers. I’m not sure that will be much of a handicap for a show that depends less on scripted banter than on splashy production … Continue reading The Tony Awards: My Uninformed Predictions
The Trump Town Hall: Thanks, CNN
There has been quite an outcry on the left over last week's CNN town hall with Donald Trump. With a friendly Republican audience applauding and laughing at his most outrageous comments, and a game but overmatched moderator, Caitlin Collins, trying to call out his lies in real time, the former President scored a pretty convincing … Continue reading The Trump Town Hall: Thanks, CNN
Why ‘Fat Ham’ Fails
One thing I’ve learned from writing about theater for the past several years: Broadway audiences will laugh at anything. I can’t count the number of comedies that have left me straight-faced while the audience around me is erupting in merriment. Even in more serious plays, a stray wisecrack that would scarcely arouse a titter from … Continue reading Why ‘Fat Ham’ Fails
Bad Cinderella: Good Andrew Lloyd Webber
I sometimes wonder if theater critics actually listen to the music in Broadway musicals. Sure, they often quote lyrics, and maybe talk about how well or poorly the songs are integrated with the story. But the music itself — always hard to describe in words — is too often ignored. That’s the only explanation I … Continue reading Bad Cinderella: Good Andrew Lloyd Webber
Words and Music: Two Shows That Do It Right
I had a rare experience at the theater last week. On two successive nights I saw musicals that really worked, mainly because they managed to weld songs and story in an organic way that musicals always strive for but rarely achieve. Yet they could hardly be more different. The Harder They Come, which has just opened … Continue reading Words and Music: Two Shows That Do It Right
The Heroes of New York’s Comedy Club Scene
I was saddened to hear, two weeks ago, of the death of Richard Belzer — the comedian, actor and longtime emcee of the New York comedy club Catch a Rising Star — and then, just a day later, the passing of the club’s owner and impresario (and Belzer’s close friend) Rick Newman. I got to know … Continue reading The Heroes of New York’s Comedy Club Scene
The Greatest Film of All Time?
I am no fan of 10 Best lists. I had to do many of them for Time over the years — first when I was TV critic, later as theater critic. It was always something of a game, putting together a list with the proper balance: highbrow vs. lowbrow, well-known choices vs. a quirky ringer or two. (Gender … Continue reading The Greatest Film of All Time?
Meghan and Harry and Will (Oh My!)
I have to confess that I am no fan of the British royal family. Not that I have anything against them; I’ve just never paid much attention to the constant royal gossip, the romances and weddings, the newborn babies and long, long funerals. I felt very bad about Princess Diana’s death — but not bad … Continue reading Meghan and Harry and Will (Oh My!)
Broadway’s New Musicals: Retro Rules
I am starting to get discouraged about the Broadway musical. A half-dozen new ones have opened this fall, but the chances of finding something really original or musically adventurous are increasingly slim. It’s not just the surfeit of jukebox musicals— shows that repurpose old pop songs, either to celebrate a particular artist or to embellish … Continue reading Broadway’s New Musicals: Retro Rules
Broadway’s ‘Trigger Warnings’: How Safe Is Too Safe?
This piece of mine is in today's Washington Post, and judging by the many comments, it's an issue that provokes strong reactions. Read it on the Post's website, or I've reprinted it here: Broadway theatergoing is finally back to something close to normal. No more pandemic-era lines outside the theater to show proof of vaccination; … Continue reading Broadway’s ‘Trigger Warnings’: How Safe Is Too Safe?