In the magazine this week, Michael Schulman writes about Tim Minchin, the singer-songwriter-comedian who composed the music and lyrics forÂ “Matilda the Musical” (an adaptation of theÂ Roald Dahl book), which just opened on BroadwayÂ after a celebrated run in London. Here, Schulman listens to and explains a few of the songs that made Minchin famous in his native Australia and in the U.K. Also, a phone call with Minchin himself: http://nyr.kr/Zj0sJ4
The controversial journalist Oriana Fallaci inspired both admiration and fear with her aggressive style of interviewing. In a new play opening at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre this month, Lawrence Wright wrestles with her legacy, and since I work part-time at the theatre’s box office I decided to interrupt his schedule for a brief chat. Here it goes:
Opera at the Met combines musical brilliance, emotional potency, and social pyrotechnics, creating a cultural crescendo that’s hard to match. I was curious to see the opera in High Definition, the Saturday matinee video broadcast beamed live from the Met to small-town theatres across the country. It seemed like a contradiction in terms: isn’t the opera, by nature, an imperial experience? Doesn’t it require a sophisticated metropolitan context? Can it survive translation into the provinces?
Richard Brody on Eddie Cantor, “a street-smart New York comedian and singer, a big hit on the Broadway stage, and a strange, exuberant, yet hauntingly circumspect and reflective character, whose contribution is one part hard-nosed practicality and one part surprisingly symbolic.” Continue reading: http://nyr.kr/WFq4Qv
This year’s Ten Best List might be called “Lahr’s Last Huzzah.” When I began as Senior Critic, in 1992, the second show I reviewed was Clifford Odets’s “Awake and Sing,” in Chicago. Odets seemed to me a woefully overlooked major writer. Over the decades, I’ve also reviewed Odets’s “Flowering Peach,” “The Country Girl,” and written a Critic at Large about him. The last show of my twenty-year New Yorker joyride was Odets’s “Golden Boy”—Lincoln Center’s masterly production which indisputably puts Odets in the pantheon of great twentieth-century playwrights. In a good theatregoing year, you’re lucky to get one production of such exhilarating high quality; this year, I got two—the second being Mike Nichols’s inspired revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” They share first place…
"If pressed to describe what happens during “A Civil War Christmas” (at the New York Theatre Workshop), I couldn’t really say. But if asked to relate what the two-and-half-hour production was like, I could go on about the narcotizing effect that playwright Paula Vogel’s political correctness had on at least one audience member…"