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Report for June 2012

7/1/2012

Report for The Month of June 2012


©GLENN LONEY 2012 



THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…


This year, June was not exactly "bustin’ out all over,” as that Landmark-Broadway-Musical-Comedy has it.


Rather, Thunderstorms soaked Manhattan & even threatened Flag-Day, on 14 June.


So much for the "Myth” of Climate-Change, a Republican-Mantra.


Once, we said April-Showers Bring May-Flowers, as well as Rough-Winds do shake the Darling-Buds of May


No-More. Nothing is certain except Death & Texas. Oh, oh! Taxes, Taxes


As in May—when Arts-Rambles offered Separate-Reports on Alice Walton’s wonderful new Crystal-Bridges-Museum & Dolly Parton’s Dixie-Stampede in Branson—so, in June, is the Report on the Annual-Conference of the American-Theatre-Critics-Association [ATCA], in Chicago & Milwaukee, posted on its own.


Looking ahead to July & August, both Your Roving Arts-Reporter & our Web-Editor, Magister Scott Bennett, will have a Lot of Free-Time at the Salzburg-Festival.


Early in this Year-of-Our-Lord-2012, both the Bregenz & the Munich-Festivals responded warmly to our Annual-Joint-Requests for Press-Tickets.


Despite the Fact that I have been reporting on Salzburg since at least 1960—there were No-Tickets-Available


It could be argued that, as I will be 84-Years-Old on Christmas-Eve 2012, I have seen Enough of Salzburg-Opera-Productions.


But there must be More-to-It than merely Age-Discrimination?


Although Press-Tix-Requests were sent to Salzburg as early as December 2011, no response, Positive or Negative, was forthcoming as late as the End-of-May.


The Bayreuth-Press-Ticket-Request was sent— via Registered-Mail—in December & it was Signed-for.


Subsequently, both Salzburg & Bayreuth-Requests were re-sent several times, via E-Mail.


Because one has to make Room-Reservations very early—January or February is not too soon!—it is good to know by April or May, at least, if one is going to be sitting in one’s Room, alone, or actually sitting in an Opera-House


Finally, after all those E-Mails, I heard from the Salzburg-Festival Press-Office, on 10 June:


"Dear Mr. Loney:


"Thank you for your interest.


"We are very sorry to tell you that, due to the vast requests worldwide, we are forced to tell you that this summer we will not be able to accreditate [sic] you.


"It is not easy to write you this negative answer and thank you very much for your understanding.


Kindest Regards…”


That was the Unkindest-Cut of all.


The Salzburg-Festival has been around for a Long-Time, having been founded in the early 1920s by the great Viennese-Stage-Director Max Reinhardt, among others.


As I have been reporting on this Magnificent-Music-Fest for some Five-Decades, how did its Fame suddenly blossom Worldwide in 2012?


Thank-you, Mozart-Stadt-Salzburg, for all those years when I was very-welcome at the Festival, reporting for a variety of publications, including The Christian-Science-Monitor, Opera-News, Opera-Monthly, New-Theatre-Quarterly, Theatre-Crafts, Western-European-Stages, & Opera, among others.


Do Not Get Old!


If you succeed in reaching That-Destination, they no longer can "accreditate” you.


Nonetheless, as in many years past, I’d already reserved my usual-room at the Schwarzes-Rössl, a University-Student-Hostel used for Culture-Tourists in summer.



Last Summer, 2011, the Bayreuth-Press-Office insisted it had never received my Request, although it had been sent & re-sent.


Already last Autumn, the Bayreuth PR-Office had made tickets available for 8-to-10 North-American-Music-Critics— who had never ever been to the Famed-Festival before.


This generous Gesture came about through the Good-Offices of our NAMC-Secretary, Jean-Jacques Van-Vlassalaer.


I did not ask to be part of that Group, as I thought I was already an Old-Timer in Bayreuth.


I first went to Bayreuth on my own-ticket in 1956


Finally, on 23 June, an E-Mail arrived from the Bayreuth Press-Office: I will have tickets to see the Productions of Flying-Dutchman, Tristan & Isolde, Lohengrin, & Tannhäuser!


The Very-Welcome-Letter—from Fr. Friederike Emmerich—read, in part:


"In recent months, the Card-Allocation-Practice has been reformed.


"Surely you have heard about it.


"The Final-Details could be clarified only recently. Therefore, we were able to process your order only now…


"We ask for your understanding for our difficult situation!


"See you in Summer!”


If No-Tickets were to be forthcoming, I feared that this summer would be my Final-Farewell to the splendid Baroque-City of the Margravine-Wilhelmine, who had Francesco Bibiena create an 18th-Century Court-Theatre for her, where her own Plays & Operas could be performed.


It was this very Theatre that first attracted Richard Wagner to Bayreuth, where he would found his World-Famous Wagner-Festival, in 1876.


More about the Problems in Ticket-Allocation when I’ve talked to the Experts!


Even if one has no Press-Access to Salzburg’s Dazzling-Stagings, there’s always that Huge Siemens-Screen behind the Cathedral, where you can watch the Operas Live & even Larger-than-Life!


Also, at Twilight, a Stroll through the Ancient-Streets of Mozart’s-Home-Town is always a Benediction!


Fortunately, there’s always Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Berlin, & Bucharest to visit…


Great Opera, Ballet, & Drama-Theatre in all of them!



PASSING-GLANCES AT SCENES-SEEN:


Brit "Old-Boys” Seek Writing & Publishing-Careers Beyond the Hallowed-Halls of Cambridge…

At Potted-Potter, there’s a Lobby-Sign warning the Audience that Herbal-Cigarettes & British-Accents will be used in the production.


The same sign might well be used for Simon Gray’s The Common Pursuit, produced by Roundabout at the Laura-Pels-Theatre.


Varied British-Accents are signifiers of the Social-Origins of some able young men who have made it into Cambridge-University.


There’s one, however, who seems to be coughing-himself-to-death: Watch that Nicotine!


They have come together to found a "Little-Magazine,” which will be a Literary-Philosophical-Journal, with High-Standards & a Signature-Name of The Common Pursuit.


Gray’s Anatomy of their Rise in the World of Authors, Publishing, & Media-Exploitation is carefully-tracked, with increasingly Good-Furniture.


There are the Usual-Betrayals, both of Trust, Friendship, & Sexual-Relationships.


Still, although The Common Pursuit is branded as "Elitist,” by some potential Arts-Council-Funders, no-one is accused of CIA-Backing, as was Encounter, under Stephen Spender.


As a Writer who has had some disastrous-experiences with Cambridge-University-Press & other British-Editors & Publishers, Your Roving Arts-Correspondent could certainly respond to certain Characters & Situations in Gray’s play.


Moisés Kaufman directed an admirable cast, in Collegial & London-Settings by Derek McLane.


Surreal Swedish Cirkus-Cirkör Returns to BAM with Wear It Like a Crown.

As I beheld the Great-Frame that is the Strength & Support of the various Aerial-Wonders in Wear It Like a Crown, I had, once again, the Sense of Déjà-Vu.


Had I seen Sweden’s Cirkus-Cirkör at the Edinburgh-Festival?


Possibly… They do Tour.


But, as I perused the BAM-Program, I realized I had seen the Second-Part of their Performance-Trilogy at BAM way back in 2009, when they presented Inside Out.


Rebekka Karijord has provided the Title, from a Track on one of her Albums. All the Music & Lyrics in this show are her Creations.


The Characters are almost Surreal-Clowns & Circus-Acrobats & Jugglers.


There is a strange, Dream-Like-Quality to most of the Action, until some really dazzling Juggling, Knife-Throwing, or Aerial-Acrobatics explode on stage.


Initially, the BAM-Audience savored these Feats in Silence, perhaps afraid to Applaud High-Art.


But finally they gave in, astounded by the Physical-Daring & Expertise.


Director Tilde Bjöfors deftly orchestrated this Circus-Symphony


Rangoon Is Not Really About Rangoon, Which, in-any-case, Is Now Called Yangon.

Playwright Mayank Keshaviah suggests that Rangoon is an Amer-Asian-Version of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.


That’s perhaps pushing-the envelope a bit, as the Hindu-Dad of the Patel-Family ends-up in Handcuffs


Not Dead on the Highway


The Patels of Indian-Gujarat were once wealthy & respected in their Homeland.


One of them—who now haunts the transplanted Dhiraj Patel [Faizul Khan]—invested in Burma, only to be ejected twice, losing everything.


Hence, the Title of Rangoon, for Keshaviah wants to reference the Gujarati-Experience-Abroad apparently.


But Myanmar is not America & Rangoon is not Yangon.


Not anymore, for both Chinese & Indian-Merchants are no longer Welcome there.


Dhiraj’s Problem is that he is Rigid & Unyielding in his Attitudes toward his Wiser-Wife, Athlete-Son, & Americanized-Daughter.


Running a Seven-Eleven, Dhiraj is delighted by a Frequent-Customer, to whom he unwittingly sells what’s needed to manufacture Crystal-Meth.


But this is a Set-Up, a Sting. So he’s led-off in Cuffs


Not exactly a Willy Loman


Praying to Ganesh, the Elephant-God of Impossible-Outcomes is no longer an Option.


Nonetheless, the play is interesting, dealing with the Adjustment-Problems of New-Americans from the Asian-Sub-Continent.


Tisa Chang is to be congratulated for producing this drama in this, the 35th-Season of the Pan-Asian-Repertory-Theatre.


Your Roving Arts-Reporter was there, at Ellen Stewart’s LaMaMa-Theatre, when Tisa Chang first produced a drama introducing New Yorkers to a World unknown to most of them.



Ellsworth Kelly’s Outline-Drawings of Plants, Flowers, & Leaves Leave Nothing To Be Desired…

In a time when many Major-Artists of the Abstractionist-Collagist-Installationist-Videoist-Persuasions probably could not draw a simple Outline of a Tree, it is refreshing to discover that a Major-Abstractionist, Ellsworth Kelly, can indeed draw Outlines from Nature in a clean, clear Line of Ink or Graphite.


Oddly enough, some of Kelly’s 75 Drawings on-view at the Met-Museum—until 3 September 2012—are so simple that they hardly draw attention to themselves.


There is no Cross-Hatching, Stippling, or Shading. Just the Fine-Line


But some of the Outlines are filled-in with bold Colors: Yellows, Blues, Reds


See Seaweed as Kelly sees seaweed!



Harold Clurman, Stella Adler, & Lee Strasberg Remembered: Group-Theatre at CUNY.

Mel Gordon [UC/Berkeley Prof] is the Expert on The-Group-Theatre & he has a Computer crammed with Old-Photos, Movie-Clips, & Interviews with the Group’s Luminaries.


The Group-Theatre Afternoon & Evening—Co-Curated by Gordon & Ronald Rand—reminded Oldsters in the CUNY-Grad-Center Audience of the Glory-Days of Depression-Era Realist-Theatre.


Gordon’s Nominal-Thesis is "How the Group-Theatre Transformed American-Culture.”


That may be overstating the case for the Group’s Influence, but Lee Strasberg’s Method certainly left its mark on many, many Actors of Stage, Screen, & Radio.


Nonetheless, a number of the Group’s Fugitives from Second-Avenue-Yiddish-Theatre sincerely wanted to build a Better-World, using starkly Realistic-Drama as a Tool.


Clifford Odets made his mark, then went to Hollywood: "Odets, where is thy sting?”


But, when the Red-Scare suddenly loomed in the late 1940s & 1950s, some, like Elia Kazan, Named-Names.


Among the many Memory-Crammed Group-Groupies & Descendants were John Strasberg, Ellen Adler, Fritz Weaver, & Laila Robins.


Among the Participants was my long-ago PhD-Candidate, Joanna Rotté.


When Joanna came to me with Fourteen-Years-of-Notes that she’d jotted-down during that long Stretch as an Acting-Student of the eternally-glamorous Stella Adler, I regretfully had to point-out that all those Notes didn’t really constitute a Dissertation.


Joanna’s detailed descriptions of the various Acting-Exercises Stella had prescribed were, indeed, fascinating. But, by themselves, they gave no Clue to the Adler-Overview.


Actually, Stella was more Inspirational than Organized.


So I helped Joanna devise a Structural-Outline into which the Exercises could be logically-fit.


When Dr. Rotté was finished, she had, in effect, created an Adler-Overview.


When she took the results to Stella—Stella! Stella for Star!—Adler was surprised at what she had wrought.


As for Harold Clurman—who once was married to Stella—Ronald Rand is a One-Man Clurman-Band


He even impersonates Clurman, somewhat in the manner of Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight.


Harold once had an Office next to mine at the CUNY-Grad-Center, when it was on West 42nd Street. We were both Professors in the CUNY PhD-in-Theatre-Program.


But I already knew Clurman as one of America’s Greatest-Drama-Critics from my own UC-College-Days. His Lies Like Truth is still a kind of Critical-Bible


My first actual-contact with Harold was when he came to the offices of the Long-Defunct Theatre-Arts-Magazine. He had brought in a Rough-Draft of a Meditation of the Future-of-Broadway-Theatre.


Because Clurman was not only a respected Broadway-Critic, but also an Award-Winning Broadway-Director, he was uniquely qualified to comment.


But our Editor, Leota Diesel, wanted me to help polish-the-piece…


How could I dare to improve on Clurman-Commentaries. So I only Cut-It-To-Fit.


As for Lee Strasberg, his Unpaid & Free-Will Press-Rep called me to ask if I’d interview Lee for a Series I was doing for Cue-Magazine: In the Words of…


Lee even wanted me to come to his Apartment so I could see the Hundreds-of-Books he had stuffed into the seemingly-endless Bookcases: Theatre, Stanislavksi, Theatre-History, Stanislavksi, Drama, Stanislavksi, Acting, Stanislavksi, Directing…


We got on so well that Lee invited me to drop-by the Actors-Studio anytime I was in the Neighborhood, to watch Broadway’s Great & Famous perform Short-Scenes, which Lee would then dissect-in-detail, without Anesthetic.


These Sessions he had taped for Posterity!


I had never before seen Mel Gordon in action. I think it would be an Exciting—as well as InspirationalExperience to take a Class with him!


Chimichangas in the Google-Building: Atlantic-Theatre Also Provides Zoloft…

Oddly enough, the demanding, exacting, furious father, Alejandro Lopez [Alfredo Narciso], in Chimichangas & Zoloft, is rather like the Rigid-Dad in Rangoon.


But there are some Differences


His haunted Wife, Sonia [the excellent Zabryna Guevara],  has run-off from Home, Hearth, Husband, & Daughter.


Zoloft is not really enough to deal with her Alienation & Fears


Of course, their Union was somewhat doomed from the Outset, as Alejandro is at least Bi-Sexual.


It’s unfortunate for Daughter-Penelope [Xochitl Romero] that the Father [Teddy Cañez] of her Best-Friend, Jackie Martinez [Carmen Zilles], is the Passionate-Object of Alejandro’s Violent-Affections.


Fernanda Coppel’s Hispanic-American Family-Drama is brilliantly Structured, with the Agonies of the various Characters sensitively—even amusingly—explored.


The Drama is set in Los Angeles, California!


But this fascinating Atlantic-Theatre-Production takes place in the Sub-Basement of what’s now the Google-Building on West 16th-Street.


Jaime Castañeda has staged the swift-moving-scenes with Wit & Brilliance. The Interactions of the two Teen-Age-Girls seems especially Authentic.


The necessarily-repressed Passions of the Two-Dads is explosively astonishing


Strange-Man in a Strange-Landscape: Will Eno’s Title & Deed at the Signature.

New-Yorker Drama-Critic John Lahr raved & raved about this show.


That may be because the Monologist, Conor Lovett, is essentially a Clown.


Something like Lahr’s famous Father, Bert Lahr, who said of Lay’s Potato-Chips: "I’ll only eat one more.”


Although Will Eno is extravagantly-admired by some Playwriting-Mavens, he is no Sam Beckett.


Nor is Title & Deed anywhere near the circuitous-insightfulness of Krapp’s Last Tape


My-Kin, Sir Winston Churchill, Demonstrates His Rhetorical-Genius at the Morgan.

Of the Rhetorical & Oratorical-Gifts of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, the famed Broadcast-Commentator Edward R. Murrow once said: "He mobilized the English-Language & sent it into Battle!”


Even before the Battle-of-the-Blitz, when Nazi-Bombers destroyed Coventry & laid-waste of much of the City-of-London, Prime-Minister Winston Churchill was rhetorically-rallying the British-People to the defense of their Historic-Liberties.


The handsomely-designed exhibition now at the Morgan-Library is simply titled: Churchill: The Power of Words.


But it is not all Faded-Manuscripts or Printed-Texts.


There are two Visual-Centerpieces. One is the Two-Page Illuminated-Citation for Sir Winston’s Nobel-Prize for Literature. Complete with the Nobel-Gold-Medal


Both the Morgan’s Director, William Griswold, & Allen Packwood—Director of the Churchill-Archives-Centre in Cambridge—agree that the Morgan is the Right-Venue for this exhibition.


Many of the Morgan’s remarkable First-Editions & Rare-Manuscripts contain Ideas & Verbal-Formulations that inspired Churchill, both as a Man-of-Action & an Author of much-admired Histories.


The second Visual-Centerpiece is the Award-of-US-Citizenship, created by Act-of-Congress & signed by President John F. Kennedy in April 1963.


Churchill’s Special-US-Passport is also on-display.

The former Prime-Minister of Great-Britain was the First-Foreign-National to be so honored.


But many people may not know that Churchill was at least Half-American, for his Mother, Jennie Jerome, was born in Brooklyn!


Jerome-Avenue in the Bronx is named for her Wealthy-Dad, Leonard Jerome, who is buried in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery


Jennie was one of those American-Heiresses, married-off by Rich-&-Socially-Ambitious-American-Parents to European-Titles.


Like Conseulo Vanderbilt, who was married to Churchill’s Illustrious-Relative, the Duke-of-Marlborough.


An outstanding Media-Feature of this exhibition is an Audio-Visual-Space, where you can see Vintage-Photos, as well as Major-Churchill-Texts on three screens.


Because Churchill—as a Young-Man, launching a Career—had No Money & No Real Title-of-Nobility, he resolved to make himself financially-independent through writing Books.


So, as a British-Army-Officer, he got himself posted to such far-flung Outposts as Cuba, what’s now Pakistan, & he fought in the Boer-War in South-Africa.


The Title of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, did not pass to him when Dad died. Churchill was, instead, "The Honourable” Winston Churchill.


Even after Hitler was defeated, Churchill declined being made a Lord. He wanted to sit in the House-of-Commons, where he had always proved a pugnacious & witty Debater.


The Exhibition is divided into what could be called The Eight-Ages of Churchill: The Child, The Soldier, The Young-Tribune, The Locust-Years, The Finest-Hour, The Grand-Alliance, The Elder-Statesman, & The Twilight-Years, when Churchill painted Landscapes & was often a Guest on Aristotle Onassis’ Yacht


The various Artifacts in this show come from Churchill’s Country-House, Chartwell, in Kent & more importantly from the Churchill-Archives-Center, in Cambridge.


This is, of course, the Real-Cambridge, not that one near Boston


In fact, the Archives are lodged in Churchill-College, of Cambridge-University, where the genial Allen Packwood is also available for Questions about Churchill & Requests-for-Research in the Churchill-Papers.


Log-on to DiscoverChurchill.org, a Website jointly-created by the Morgan-Library & the Churchill-Archives-Center to generate interest in Churchill, especially for Educators & a Younger-Audience.


Churchill’s most famous American-Address—in which he invoked the Image of an Iron-Curtain descending across Europe—was made an a small, virtually-unknown College in Fulton, MO.


"Why in Fulton?” I asked Allen Packwood. "Why not at Harvard or Yale?”


"Your President, Harry S. Truman, with whom he’d developed a close personal friendship, invited him. Truman, after all, lived in Independence, Missouri!”


Well! I should have figured that out for myself.


When I went to Independence, to visit Truman’s Presidential-Library, I also went into town to look for Truman’s Family-Home.


There he was, out mowing-the-lawn! Bess called from an Upstairs-Window: "Harry, don’t miss that grass in the corner!”


Or did I just Dream this scene…


Incidental-Intelligence: Nonetheless, as I am Related-by-Marriage to Sir Winston, I’d like to share the following Memoir, made for members of my family in California, who had No-Idea about where we came from…


MY KIN: WINSTON CHURCHILL!



NOTES ON DANGERFIELD-BUSHER FAMILY-CONNECTIONS!



BY GLENN LONEY


©GLENN LONEY 2008


[RECORDED IN-RESPONSE TO FAMILY-REQUESTS FOR GENEALOGICAL-INFORMATION!]



Through Grandma Alice Dangerfield-Busher—who was Mother & Uncle Fred’s step-mother—we are related to George Cornwallis-West, a direct-descendant of General Cornwallis, who surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown.


Called "the handsomest man in Europe,” George was Alice’s first-cousin. He married Brooklyn-born Jennie Jerome, widow of Lord Randolph Churchill.


This made him Sir Winston Churchill’s step-father, even though he was ten-years-younger & Sir Winston disliked him intensely.


Because of this tenuous Family-Connection & Sam Wanamaker’s intervention, I was allowed to photograph the great portrait of Sir Winston which graces the 400-year-old Speech-Hall at Harrow-on-the-Hill.


This is the historic Public-School where both Sir Winston & George Gordon, Lord Byron, were "Old-Boys” & had carved their names in the wall of an ancient classroom, which I was also permitted to photograph.


When Jennie tired of George—who was apparently something of a "Lounge-Lizard,” sleeping-around, as the Married-Edwardian-Elite so often did—he then married the celebrated Actress/Manager, Mrs. Patrick Campbell.


"Mrs. Pat” was famed for her dictum about Sex: "It’s all right, as long as you don’t do it in the street & frighten the horses!”


When Mrs. Pat tired of George, she divorced him, but he was still in-play, so he married a teen-age-heiress, Georgette Hirsch.


She was not Jewish, but had married a very old Jewish-Financier, who promptly died, leaving her very rich.


George used some of this dowry to restore the Cornwallis Family-Castle, in Denby, Wales. 


I would never have found out our Cornwallis-West-Connection had I not needed to have a Xerox-copy made of one of Mrs. Pat’s Prompt-Scripts, preserved in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Theatre-Collection.


It was a play by our celebrated American-Novelist, Edith Wharton, which I discovered Mrs. Pat had virtually re-written for London, after its failure in New York.


I needed to document her revisions, but the Curator said the Manuscript was too fragile to put on the machine.


Defeated—although they would have permitted me to copy-it-out-by-hand over several weeks!—I went up to Yorkshire to visit Uncle Arthur & Aunt Margaret Dangerfield.


Uncle Arthur was Grandma Alice’s brother: his health having been adversely affected by his Medical-Studies at the University of Edinburgh, his Professors had advised him to emulate Theodore Roosevelt, author of The Strenuous Life


President Roosevelt had recovered his own health by going out West to work on a Cattle-Ranch in Montana.


Uncle Arthur became a "Limey-Cowboy”—he used this title on a BBC-Broadcast about his romance with the State-of-California!—on the Black-Brothers’ High-Sierra Summer-Cattle-Range.


Curiously, the Black-Pastures were next to the Loney-Brothers’ Summer-Range & the Blacks were also our cousins.


But at that point, Uncle Arthur could have had no idea he’d eventually have a kind of family-connection with the Loneys!


He returned to Britain, but he had no money to "buy a practice,” as young doctors had to do at that time: see AJ Cronin’s The Citadel for background…


So he came back to California, taking the first-day of the State-Medical-Exam on 17 April 1906.


That evening he went to see Enrico Caruso as Don José in Carmen, at the San-Francisco-Opera.


In the middle of the night, the front-wall fell off the rooming-house where he was staying.


It was the Great San Francisco Quake & Fire!


He was immediately certified as a Surgeon & appointed by General "Black-Jack” Pershing to serve at the Presidio-of-San-Francisco, overseeing the Chinese-Refugee-Camp there.


[I have given Pershing’s Orders-in-Chinese & other Dangerfield-Artifacts to the Bancroft-Library at UC/Berkeley, but I also deposited some California-Items in the American-Museum, in Bath, England. These include his Western-Saddle & Bridle from the High-Sierras!]


Subsequently, Uncle Arthur set up a Surgery in North-San-Juan, above Nevada-City.


Aunt Margaret actually came out to California to see her Intended-Mate, but she had to return to England to care for her aged-mother.


So Uncle Arthur also had to go back to Britain, to marry his sweetheart.


But his Tombstone—in the Parish-Churchyard, in Sinnington, in the Yorkshire-Dales—records him as a Citizen-of-California!


On my annual summer visit to the 18th-Century "Overbeck-Cottage” in Sinnington that was the Dangerfield’s home in retirement, I mentioned my Problem with the V&A Xerox-machine.


"Now that Stella is dead, you are as close as anyone in the family to Mrs. Pat!”


I was astounded: "I am related to Mrs. Patrick Campbell?”


"Yes,” Aunt Margaret said. "George Cornwallis-West was your grandmother’s first-cousin!”


Neither Uncle Arthur nor Grandma Alice had ever mentioned Cousin George. 


The reason?


"He was a cad! An embarrassment to the family…”


"But, if I had known that, I’d have asked Sir Winston for an interview!”


"Yes, we were afraid of that. So we said nothing at all about this relationship.”


The next summer, when I arrived in Sinnington, I was reading the sad memories of Princess Daisy, officially known by the Style-&-Title of Princess-Henry-of-Pless.


She was married to Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Henry of Pless, who was the Nominal-Ruler of a Principality somewhere in Germany.


Princess Daisy was a Belle of Aristocratic-Victorian/Edwardian-Society, but her goatish-husband treated her swinishly. Or so it was said…


Her painful marriage was rather like that of her American-Counterpart, Consuelo Vanderbilt, who had been married-off to the piggish Duke of Marlborough, Sir Winston’s cousin.


Consuelo freed herself eventually, to marry an admirable Frenchman, Jacques Balsan, becoming Consuelo Vanderbilt Marlborough/Spencer Balsan!


When I told Aunt Margaret how moving I found Princess Daisy’s memoire, she told me that Daisy was George’s sister!


The next summer in Yorkshire, i was reading about the Duke of Westminster’s yacht, in a scene from Noël Coward’s comedy, Private Lives.


I shared this with Aunt Margaret, who said: "George & Daisy’s sister was Constance, Duchess of Westminster!”


So our remote-relatives, the Cornwallis-Wests, seem to have done very well for themselves in the Edwardian Marriage-Market!


In addition to the Cornwallis-Connection, the Dangerfields were also related to Sabine Baring-Gould, who is most famous for writing Onward, Christian Soldiers!


Then there’s our Edinburgh Barrister-Cousin, Nigel McVicar, who was a Queen’s-Counsel, or QC.


During World War II, as a British-Paratrooper, he helped liberate Greece from the Nazi-Occupation!


Subsequently, he married the lovely Marina, whose late father had a Castle on the Island-of-Corfu!


[When I was teaching Classic-Drama in Athens in 1958, I went to visit Marina’s mother, Madame Roussaki—she had divorced Marina’s dad—who lived on a Santa-Barbara-Style-Estate, complete with Pool, in Psychico, the most exclusive-suburb of Athens.]


When I came down to London from the Yorkshire-Dales, the Xerox-copy was waiting for me!


I didn’t have to invoke my family-connection with Mrs. Pat.


The reason was that the two most important Trustees of the Theatre-Collection were my friends, Ray Mander & Joe Mitchenson, who had edited that Collection of Coward-Plays!


In which the Duke-of-Westminster’s-Yacht had a Small-Role…


End of notable-family-connection-tales!


Anyone Seen a Giant-White-Rabbit Around Here? Jim Parsons & Harvey Delight Jaded-Playgoers

It may look easy to play a Guileless, Open-Faced, Generous, Simple-Man, but Jim Parsons’ impersonation of Elwood P. Dowd is on a level of Charm that’s hard to match.


As for the Performance of his almost Constant-Companion, it is difficult to asses the Talents of the Pookah, Harvey, as he is invisible to the Audience & most of the large Cast on-stage.


Pookahs—as most Rabbit-Raisers may already know—are Giant-White-Rabbits, who cannot be seen by those who do not have Pure-Souls. But they are sometimes Visible to people who are a little bit Crazy


Elwood—who does like a Drink or Two or Three—inherited the Magnificent-Mansion in which he lives with his Frantic-Sister, Veta Louise Simmons [an hilarious Jessica Hecht], & her Boy-Friend-Starved-Daughter, Myrtle-May [a supercharged Tracee Chimo].


Veta Louise conspires to get Elwood committed to a Local-Clinic/Asylum, so she can sell the Mansion & launch Myrtle-May properly In-Society, with a View to a Good-Marriage.


But she acts so completely Unhinged when she arrives with Elwood—plus the Unseen-Harvey—that she’s immediately Processed


The Entire-Cast acts with such Outrageous-Bravado that they all seem to be contending for Tonys.


Notable are Charles Kimbrough, Larry Bryggman, Carol Kane, Morgan Spector, & Holly Fain.


Also a Star-of-the Show is the remarkable Three-Turntable-Setting of David Rockwell, who designed the New & Improved FAO-Schwartz Shop.


From the Handsome-Victorian-Dowd-Drawing-Room, the Turntables silently revolve to reveal an equally Handsome-Art-Deco-Clinic!


Kudos also to Costumier Jane Greenwood, as well as to Tom Watson for Wigs & Hair-Styling


When Elwood explains to the baffled Psychiatrist that he made a Choice between Reality & the Way-He-Lives-Now, a Laugh & a Sigh emerges from an Audience that may well wish it could make the Same-Choice


In its day, Mary Chase’s Harvey was a Big-Hit.


Her next play, Mrs. McThing—even starring Helen Hayes—was a flop. Go Figure…


The apparent success of the new, somewhat re-tooled Harvey suggests that in these Bad-Times, it may be a Good-Idea to revive some other Comic-Masterpieces of American-Theatre-History?


How about Life with Father


Or Gene O’Neill’s only comedy: Ah, Wilderness?


You Can’t Take It With You, anyone?


Not Spamalot, but Medieval-Play, Written & Directed by Kenneth Lonergan…

If you are a Devout-Catholic, Ken Lonergan’s Vision of the Middle-Ages may not be Your-Show

Even as a Lapsed-Methodist, I was both surprised & shocked to hear the word Motherfucker emerge from the Sainted-Lips of St.-Catherine-of-Sienna!


Indeed, it’s a bit unsettling to watch Two-Brave-Knights-in-Armor discuss their Knightly-Obligations to Rape, Pillage, Burn, & Murder for the Greater-Glory of a Papal-Faction.


If you have ever read any of the Magnificent-Illuminated-Medieval-Texts in the Morgan-Library, nowhere will you find—even in Vulgar-Latin—such words as Shit & Fuck.


Nonetheless, in Longergan’s Medieval-France & the Italian-Papal-States, these are Common-Currency.


Thanks to the Comic-Book-Scenes of Walt Spangler, we are Morgan-Libraried to such Famous-Places as Avingnon & Rome.


We have Popes & Anti-Popes, as well as Corrupt-Cardinals, with their Sexy-Wenches


Both Popes & Cardinals are Hilariously-Outfitted by Michael Krass, who is also to be congratulated on achieving Bulky-Medieval-Armor that will permit not only fierce Sword-Play but the occasional Jig.


Unlike the Monty-Python-Funsters, Lonergan is not mocking Our-Received-Idea of what the Middle-Ages must have been like.


No, indeed!


He is really trying to cram Several-Hundred-Years of Military & Social-History into the Two-Hours-&-Forty-Five-Minutes-Traffic of the Signature-Stage.


But it’s really Too-Much.


We don’t need to hear the Advice of a Medieval-Venetian-Emily-Post on Table-Etiquette.


Especially when Our-Knights are going to end the Feast by Raping & Slaying their Hostess & Host


Still, it is amusing to hear one Valiant-Soldier—or was it one of those Peasants the Knights were always Slaying—ask plaintively: "When is this Hundred-Years-War ever going to be over?”


Ken Lonergan—who also staged, so no-one at Signature could tell him to cut, cut cut!—has obviously read Too-Much about the Middle-Ages.


It’s rather like Peter Shaffer with The Royal Hunt of the Sun.


When Peter first let me read the Unproduced-Script, it was about Eight-Hours-Long in Playing-Time.


Peter confessed: "I put in everything I’d learned from Prescott’s Conquest of Peru!”


Nonetheless, Lonergan has been blessed with a Marvelous-Fun-Loving-Cast, led by Josh Hamilton & Tate Donovan as Two-Comely-Knights, with Anthony Arkin—among other Roles—as Pope Urban VI.


John Pankow is both Villainous & Hilarious as the Blood-Thirsty Cardinal-Robert-of-Geneva, later Pope Clement VII, as well as a badly-blowing Horn-Bearing-Herald.


What a shame Signature cannot take this production intact to Vatican-City, so Pope Benedictus could savor its Message


Two Pairs of Siblings—One Female, One Male—with Serious-Problems about Home…

Alberto Bassetti has crafted two Two-Handers about Siblings with Problems: Two-Sisters—Two-Brothers.


The Really-Big-Problem about the Sisters-Play is that they seem to be Stranded-Actresses who are Infected by Chekhov.


Notably by his Uncle-Vanya, but also with overtones of The Three-Sisters, The Seagull, & The Cherry-Orchard


Director Mark Schneider keeps his Two-Sisters—the admirable Nicole Lowrance & Lindsey Gates—in constant, frenetic Action, but the Play is mostly about what has happened in the Past. Not a Conflict or Inter-Action generated by a Present-Problem.


Although one Sister seems to have lost the Family-Home to Loan-Sharks


Cut-down those Cherry-Trees or Move-to-Moscow!


Valentina Fratti has sensitively staged the Two-Brothers-Interlude, with moving performances by Joel Repman & Jeffrey Parrillo.


Here, a Family-Home has almost been stripped of Furnishings, to provide for the Needs of an Out-of-It-Dad who hasn’t the decency to die.


The Stay-at-Home-Brother despairs of his Foot-loose-Younger-Sibling, who has been to India & other Fabled & Mythic-Lands in the Search for Enlightenment.


Also, possibly Pot & other Substances to achieve the Nirvana-Sensation



Give Me That Ole-Time-Religion! Praying In John Patrick Shanley’s Storefront-Church

This is the Third-&-Final-Drama in John Patrick Shanley’s "Church & State Trilogy.”


Doubt was doubtless the Best-out-of-Three: it was even a very good Film!


Unfortunately, Shanley—who also directed for the Atlantic-Theatre, in its newly-renovated HQs—has constructed a Confrontational-Drama which seems, finally, Contrived


A really taut play about Sub-Prime-Mortgages has still to be written, although it’s at the Center of Shanley’s Religio-Socio-Political-Bronx-African-American-Latino-White-Guy-Banker-Tsurris.


At the Close, almost everyone seemed to have Got-Religion


The excellent cast included Tonya Pinkins, Bob Dishey, Zach Grenier, Jordan Lage, Ron Cephas Jones, & Giancarlo Esposito!


Stop-the-Presses! Women-War-Correspondents on the Italian-Front in World-War-II.

Even in the midst of a Very-Dangerous-Situation—in which American-Troops are besieged by the Nazi-Wehrmacht—there’s Time-for-Romance in the Allied-Press-Room at the Front!


War-Reporters Virginia Cowles & Martha Gellhorn long-ago crafted a charming World-War-II Formula-ComedyLove Goes To Press—which has been wonderfully-recreated, with Period-Details, at the Mint-Theatre


Outstanding among the Strong-Cast are the Three-Central-Women: Heidi Armbruster, Angela Pierce, & Margot White.


Also admirable are Brad Cover, Curzon Dobell, & Rob Breckenridge


Among the Newspapers represented by War-Correspondents are the San-Francisco-Dispatch, the New-York-Bulletin, & the San-Francisco-World.


Whether Male or Female-Playwrights, they don’t write Sure-Fire-Comedies like this anymore!


Hurry-off to the Mint for some real Theatre-Coinage!


That Martha Gellhorn was once married to Ernie Hemingway—also a Noted-War-Correspondent—adds a certain Frisson to the Proceedings.


[Walter Gellhorn—the Son of that Famous-Match—was once in one of my English-Classes at Stanford.


[Our Prof—wanting to Show-Off—asked Walter if he’d heard from his father recently?


[Annoyed, Walter replied: "Oh, he’s probably in Pamplona, running with the Bulls, or something. Maybe the Matador will give him Two Ears from the Bull…”]

Do You Really Want-Back the Man-Who-Got-Away? Gina Gionfriddo Offers Some Warnings!

Previously, I’ve admired some of the dramas of Gina Gionfriddo, especially her After Ashley & Becky Shaw, both shown at the Humana-Festival in Louisville.


But Rapture, Blister, Burn—shown at Playwrights-Horizons—failed to Enrapture or even raise a Blister.


An Ex-Alcoholic-Housewife long-ago stole the Boyfriend of her Chum, now a Single-College-Professor. With a Very-Wise-Old-Mother


Getting that Lazy-SOB back isn’t worth the Effort, as he has No-Ambition-Whatsoever.


It was an Interesting-Idea to have a Feminist-Grad-Seminar with only Two-Students—fortunately, both Female—taught in the Prof’s Home


Do you get MA-Credits for such Studies?


Good-Cast, directed by Peter DuBois. Cleverly-designed Scooting-Settings by Alexander Dodge!


Gourmet-Cooking in Bethlehem, Under Israeli-Occupation: Food & Fadwa

Lameece Issaq—who wonderfully anchors Food & Fadwa, at the New-York Theatre-Workshop—began this fascinating Family-Drama, co-authored with Jacob Kader, as a film-audition for Be The Next Food-Network Star.


As Fadwa Faranesh—the Family-Caregiver for their Demented-Old-Baba [Laith Nakli]—she charmingly welcomes the Theatre-Audience into her Arab-Christian-Kitchen in Bethlehem, where she is Cooking-Up-a-Storm of Hummus & other Arab-Goodies.


This is, of course, the Real-Bethlehem—in the so-called Holy-Landnot the one in Pennsylvania.


Old Baba’s beloved Olive-Grove was cut down by Israelis & Life is very Difficult for both Christian & Muslim-Arabs who must, somehow, manage to live with Israeli-Walls & Multiple-Checkpoints & Body-Searches.


America seems to offer the only Avenue-of-Escape for these Disenfranchised-Palestinians.


But Fadwa believes that she cannot live a Fully-Arab-Palestinian-Life outside the old Family-Home in Bethlehem, despite frequent Israeli-Imposed-Curfews, Food-Rationing, & Israeli-Snipers, who are desperately trying to protect New-Settlers from Arab-Terrorists.


The fact that Arab-Palestinians had been living in the Holy-Land for hundreds & hundreds of years does not protect them from the current Zionist-Israeli-Expansionism, in which even Super-Orthodox-Jews from Brooklyn are welcomed back to Biblical-Lands left hundreds & hundreds of years ago.


The Mantra is that "You cannot live a Fully-Jewish-Life outside Israel!”


But where does that leave the Palestinian-Arabs, be they Christian or Muslim?


Food & Fadwa is not confrontationally about such Questions. It’s more of a Family-Problem-Play.


Love & Betrayal, plus lots of Good-Food! Stuff like that…


The fine-tuned Cast has been stunningly directed by Shana Gold!



Slowgirl Inaugurates the Brand-New Claire-Tow-Theatre on Top of the Vivian-Beaumont!

The Slowgirl in question does not actually appear onstage in Greg Pierce’s peculiar tale of Hiding-Out in Costa-Rica.


This Retard has been the Fatal-Victim of a Teenage-Prank, urged on her by Becky [Sarah Steele], who encouraged her to believe that she could fly on Gossamer-Wings.


No-Way, José!


Splat! Crunch!


So the anguished & fearful Becky has fled to her Alienated-Uncle-Sterling [Zeljko Ivanek], now living in Isolation in the Jungles of Costa-Rica, owing to a Long-Ago-Scandal & Disappointment-in-Love.


The most Interesting-Event of the Evening occurs when his Makeshift-Shack rises into the air, to reveal a Maze, or Labyrinth, into which Sterling likes to Penetrate & then Meditate.


This Odd-Adventure—staged by Anne Kauffman—opens the new bare-bones LCT3, or Claire-Tow-Theatre, atop the Vivian-Beaumont, which is, itself, atop the Mitzi-Newhouse-Theatre.


This is essentially a Black-Box-Theatre, which works OK.


What do not work, however, are the Brass-Seat-Numbers, deeply embedded into the front-edges of the Plushy-Seats, where they cannot easily be deciphered


These all need to be removed & screwed into the Tops of the Seats, where they can be read!

Going Crazy at MAD: New Shows Feature American-Indian-Art & Elegant Jewelry!

Sited on the South-Side of Columbus-Circle—facing that Conventional-Columbus-on-a-ColumnMAD, or The Museum of Arts & Design was once the Huntington-Hartford-Gallery.


But that’s Another-Story: How this Rich-&-Feckless-Heir squandered Millions on Personal-Pecadillos & Arts-Fantasies


In fact, Hunt so loved the Performing-Arts that he founded a magazine devoted to them: SHOW, it was called, during its all-too-brief Life. Indeed, Your Roving Arts-Correspondent was one of SHOW’s Contributing-Editors.


For a time, as no one seemed to know what to do with this Odd-Shaped-Structure—with a bizarre Real-Estate-Footprint on the Circle—it was the Foster-Child of New York City’s Cultural-Affairs-Department, giving Office-Space to the Former-Miss-America, Bess Myerson.


Bess—who then lived in my Co-op—was appointed Cultural-Commissioner by Mayor Ed Koch, whose Campaign she had aided by demonstrating that he, although a Confirmed-Bachelor, was Not One of Those Guys…


When MAD took over the Premises, an ingenious re-design finally made the Gallery-Floors viable.


A handsome Restaurant is now on the top-floor, with Magnificent-Views of Central-Park, Broadway, & the Twin-Towers of Time-Warner!

On the floor-below, the Sixth, open Artists’-Studios invite MAD-Visitors to watch Art-at-Work


Special-Shows are attractively deployed & displayed on the floors below. Two are especially worth-a-visit:


Changing-Hands: Art without Reservation 3…


Once, on the Road in Arizona, I saw a Sign that read: FRIENDLY INDIANS BEHIND YOU!


With Arizona’s Drastic-Immigration-Policies, you certainly do want to Watch-Your-Back out there!


When I turned the Volkswagen around, I found Shack festooned with Indian-Banners & Native-Artifacts.


These Navahos—or were they Apaches?—were indeed Smiling, ready to exchange my Gringo-Wampum for Beaded-Moccasins & Many-Feathered-Charms.


Now, right here in Manhattan, you can also see some Beaded-Moccasins, but they aren’t from the American-Southwest, nor are they For-Sale.


They are among the many Fascinating-Creations—not all of them directly-inspired by Sacred-Rituals or Ancient-Traditions—of Contemporary-Arts by American-Indians of the Northeast & the Southeast


Off-the-Reservation, indeed! Not quite the same thing as Without-Reservations


Here are some Stunning-Examples of Works-on-View!


[Insert Parade-of-Dazzling-Images here!]


If you are unable to visit MAD for this colorful, imaginative show, do get the handsome colorfully-illustrated Catalogue: Changing Hands: Art without Reservation 3.


It has a Foreword by Holly Hotchner, Director of MAD, as well as an instructive essay by Ellen Taubman, who—with David Revere McFadden—curated this Magnificent-Exhibition.


The Catalogue costs $42.95. It can be ordered from MAD: Google their Website!



Space-Light-Structure: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta…


As an Old-Timer at the Oakland-Museum—on-hand for its Opening all those years ago—Your Roving Arts-Correspondent was both surprised & pleased to note that this splendidly-mounted show originated at what’s now known as The-Oakland-Museum-of-California!


Possibly, this Re-Naming will prevent it from being confused with any similar Institution in, say, Oakland, Michigan?


But the remarkable Jewelry, Ceramics, & Flatware that Margaret De Patta designed—when she was at the Height of her Powers in the Bay-Area—are Not-To-Be-Missed!


De Patta was what we Art-History-Students at UC/Berkeley used to call a Bay-Area-Artist.


She was Bay-Area-Based & best-known to Museums & Collectors there.


She had an unusual Home in the Napa-Valley & her Archives are now located in Point-Richmond!


What is especially notable is the Influence that the Weimar-German-Bauhaus & the Chicago-Bauhaus had on her transformation from an Easel-Painter into an Innovative-Designer of Rings, Brooches, & Pendants who transformed Translucent-Stones & Silver-Mountings into Works-of-Art, rather than mere Adornments.


Laszlo Moholy-Nagy—a fortunate Bauhaus-Fugitive from Nazi-Germany—captured her Imagination, so much so that she even went to Chicago to study the Bauhaus-Aesthetic.


Fortunately, Moholy-Nagy came to the Bay-Area, teaching at Mills-College—where French-Composer Darius Milhaud was also in-residence.


But his Examples & Exhortations were also enlarged by De Patta’s interest in Soviet-Constructivism, which offered her New-Inspirations.


Margaret De Patta was, in effect, a Modernist—even a Post-Modernist—before any Art-Pundits began to use the term.


I was at UC/Berkeley from 1946-50, so I missed Moholy-Nagy, but not his wife, Sybil, who kept the Sacred-Flame burning at the Bauhaus-Altar.


Although I worked with Milhaud on some French-Drama-Productions at UC & came to know some Outstanding-Bay-Area-Artists, I regret that I never got to know Margaret De Patta.


This may have had something to do with the fact that she & her second-husband were viewed as "Lefties.”


She was teaching at the Tom-Mooney-Labor-School, renamed the California-Labor-School.


With the Post-War-Rise of McCarthyism, anyone connected with such Socialist-Experiments was immediately tainted. De Patta & hubby were Blacklisted!


This was a Time-of-Terror at UC.


Even working as a Classroom-Janitor while a Student, I had to sign a Loyalty-Oath that I would not Overthrow the Government-of-the-State-of-California!


UC-Profs who refused to Sign were summarily dismissed


But De Patta’s Marketing-Problems with some of her stunning-designs had little to do with her Politics


She was too-far-ahead of Received-Taste


Finally, at the Dawn of the 1960s, things were not going-well for Margaret De Patta.


Deeply-Depressed, in 1964, she ended her Life.


Here are some Outstanding-Examples of De Patta’s Designs:


[Insert Parade-of-Dazzling-Images here!]


If you are unable to visit MAD for this colorful, imaginative show, do get the handsome colorfully-illustrated Catalogue: Space-Light-Structure: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta.


It has a Foreword by Holly Hotchner, Director of MAD, as well as instructive-essays by Ursula Ilse-Neuman, Glenn Adamson, & Julie M. Muñiz.


The Catalogue can be ordered from MAD: Google their Website!


Moments at MoMA: Everything You Always Wanted To See of Alighiero Boetti’s Artworks!

If you feel you have been deprived of Arte-Povera in recent years, you may well be amazed at the Profligate-Plethora of Artworks by Italy’s Alighiero Boetti, now on-view on the Sixth-Floor of MoMA.


But there’s even More!


In MoMA’s Great-Atrium—where Marina Abramovicz [sp?] once sat for hours & days, challenging Museum-Visitors to Break-Her-Concentration—you can now behold, on the Great-Floor, what looks like a Middle-Eastern-Carpet-Show


But NO!


These are Original-Designs by Alighiero Boetti which bear an Uncanny-Resemblance to those Scan-Patterns you see everywhere, available for Cell-Phone-Snapshots, making them then Apps on your iPhone [©™©™©].


There seems to be No-Art-Form—or Potential-Art-Materials—that Alighiero Boetti has not tried-out.


My Favorite is his Mappa, which exists in several editions.


The many Nations-of-the-World—encased in their Respective-Continents—are not shown in terms of Geology or Geography.


Rather, they are blanketed by their National-Flags!


There is a Catalogue, but I did not receive a Press-Copy because they Cost-Money & I am not working for the New-York-Times



The State of the European-Union: Wise-Words from Denmark, at CUNY-Grad-Center…

This is the Year of the Danish-Presidency of the European-Union


So anyone who has some Euros left-over from a recent Trip-to-Europe would have been interested in what Ambassador Jarl Frijs-Madsen had to say at the CUNY-Graduate-Center at the end of June.

All is not yet Lost, but Hard-Working, Tax-Paying Germans are determined Not to inflict Inflation on their Economy.


Which is a Distinct-Possibility if Troubled-European-Economies are Bailed-Out


Austerity is not the Answer!


A Central-Problem with the so-called European-Union is that it is not a Federation-of-States, as is the USA, where Rich-States can help Poor-States through the Federal-Government.


Nor can Uniform-Bank-Regulation work in a Confederation of Proud-Nations


This was yet another Session of the European-Union-Studies-Center at CUNY, where more such Programs will be offered in the Autumn.


Your Roving Arts-Reporter—as a Prof-Emeritus of the Grad Center’s PhD-in-Theatre-Program—is a Sponsor of sorts, as well as a Regular-Attendant



The Forest-of-Arden in Central-Park: As-You-Like-It Seems To Begin at Fort-Apache…


Lily Rabe—as Rosalind/Ganymede—is the Dynamo that Powers Dan Sullivan’s Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of As-You-Like-It…


She seems a Force-of-Nature & then some!


But the Banished-Ros is well-partnered with the lively Celia of Renee Elise Goldsberry


She’s also well-matched with the Doting-Lover, Orlando [David Furr], also banished.


This Famous-Tale of Usurping-&-Banished-Dukes—both played by Andre Braugher—has been handsomely-imagined by Designer John Lee Beatty as taking place not in the Forest-of-Arden nor in La-Forêt-d’Ardennes, but somewhere out in the Wild-West!


A Log-Fort serves for the Court-of-Duke-Senior, opening to reveal a verdant Forest-Paradise, with Musicians-in-the-Trees!


Hey! The Music was composed by no less an Expert than that Banjo-Toting-Comedian, Steve Martin!


As this Summer’s Shakespeare-Fest features both the Bard & Steve Sondheim—with Into the Woods—will the Arden-Trees also serve for Steve’s-Woods?


You won’t need Hearing-Aids for this show as the Miking & Overhead-Speakers make it seem as if all Orations originate from some Central-Point on stage.


There are No-Mumblers in this excellent Cast. Every Word, Every Phrase, Every Poetic-Image or Simile or Metaphor is deliberately & clearly Articulated.


This tends to draw-out the Performance-Span, as well as to make some of the more Memorable Set-Speeches into Oral-Gems, set somewhat apart from the Narrative-Action.


Among the Excellent-Orators are Stephen Spinella, as the Melancholy Jacques, & Oliver Platt, as Touchstone, the Clown.


Kudos for Jane Greenwood’s Western-Impelled-Costumes & the Lighting of Natasha Katz



STARS IN THEIR CROWNS:

This Month’s Rational-Ratings—


Simon Gray’s THE COMMON PURSUIT  [★★★]


Cirkus Cirkör’s WEAR IT LIKE A CROWN  [★★★★]


Mayank Keshaviah’s RANGOON  [★★★]


Fernanda Coppel’s CHIMICHANGAS & ZOLOFT  [★★★★★]


Will Eno’s TITLE & DEED  [★★]


Mary Chase’s HARVEY  [★★★★★]


Kenneth Lonergan’s MEDIEVAL PLAY  [★★★]


Alberto Bassetti’s TWO SISTERS—TWO BROTHERS  [★★★]


John Patrick Shanley’s STOREFRONT CHURCH  [★★★]


Martha Gellhorn & Virginia Cowles’ LOVE GOES TO PRESS  [★★★★]


Gina Gionfriddo’s RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN  [★★★]


Lameece Issaq & Jacob Kader’s FOOD  & FADWA  [★★★★★]


Greg Pierce’s SLOWGIRL  [★★★]


Chris Marlowe’s, or Francis Bacon’s, or Will Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT  [★★★★]


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