Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Well, we're lucky, the water has subsided, and there's some dampness in the absement, but we're using fans to dry it out, and by the weekend everything should be dry. For a lot of other people, the storm left a real disaster.

Anyway, the news just came in: Kitty Carlisle Hart died. Her impact on the arts in New York State was enormous: as the New York State Council on the Arts Chairperson for about two decades, she was a tireless advocate, and she refused to be intimidated by those who wanted to demonize the arts. But she was also a person who had a hand in some of the more interesting musicals of the 1950s: i remember listening to her talking about seeing the original full-length "A Star Is Born" and how betrayed George Cukor and her husband felt, to see their careful work cut, cut, cut. (Actually, they didn't see it; i think she mentioned how, after seeing the full-length cut at the premiere, Moss Hart refused to see it again when he heard that it had been cut by Warner Brothers.) Another story i remember hearing was how Moss Hart had to cancel a week of rehearsals for "My Fair Lady"; Julie Andrews was just not working out. She had been a radio and music-hall singer since childhood, but that's not the same as acting. And she had starred in one previous musical, "The Boy Friend", but that show was more of a revue. In "My Fair Lady", the part of Eliza Doolittle is still George Bernard Shaw's heroine, but with songs added. It's not a simple musical-ingenue part, and she was struggling. So Moss Hart decided to shut down the production, and to work with her. It was a week-long tutorial, and the only other person allowed in was his wife.

In The New Yorker, Hilton Als has a review of the new production of "The Moon for the Misbegotten"; it reminds me that a few months ago, he wrote one of the most interesting reviews of the recent revival for "Dutchman". The reason it was so interesting (and so illuminating) was that Hilton took the tack that there was merit in the work because of the specific historical consciousness (a particular moment in the development of African-American sensibility); in almost every other review, the "standards" of dramatic consctruction were invoked, as if the work were to be judged as unsuccessful....

Which reminds me of the plethora of reviews about feminist art.

Anyway, seen: Guy Maddin's "Brand Upon the Brain!" (not in full concert version, but with prerecorded soundtrack) and Robinson Devor's "Zoo"; also: "Mrs. Henderson Presents", "Ladies in Lavender" and "Hetty Wainthropp: Missing Persons". About "Zoo", i have to say that it was an experience that was more aestheticizing rather than illuminating.

Well, there has been a lot on the news (and in the news) about the massacre at Virginia Tech. The gunman turns out to be a Korean student, Cho Seung-Hsi; no matter what, it's a very sad story.


Post a Comment

<< Home