I meant to write this last week, but was caught up in decorating duty. And actually, if I’m going to be honest, this is actually being written on Sunday, since I was on decorating duty yesterday also. But today the Empress of Decorating has gone on an excursion, and I am free to get some other stuff done. For example, after I write yesterday’s post, I will work on something for today.
This is another entry in my “With My Lottery Winnings” series, something I haven’t done in a long while. But last Friday’s Times Arts section got to me. So let’s see what I would have been doing if I had been in New York last week. We’ll just go through the two sections page by page and see what’s up.
First of all, I’m not so sure about David Hare’s new play, The Vertical Hour. It got so-so reviews from most everybody, although everyone agreed Bill Nighy is a force of nature. We might go see that just to see his performance and to see if Julianne Moore, whom I do admire, has found her sea legs yet.
The MirÃ³ Quartet is playing an interesting program, with some Shostakovich and Dvorak, two of my absolute favorite composers, one gloomy and one sunny by dispensation. Also, they’re playing a quartet by one Juan CrisÃ³stomo Arriaga, called the “Spanish Mozart,” and that sounds intriguing. Chamber music is an acquired taste, and I’ve acquired it.
Ah, Company. The new Broadway triumph of John Doyle, the Scottish director whom I actually know from his exchange student days at UGA all those years ago. I like Sondheim, so we’ll add that to the list. I’m curious to see how John’s much-touted style, of having the cast play the score on a variety of instruments, actually works. I’ve heard the cast album of his Tony-winning Sweeney Todd, and while the reduced score highlighted a lot of the pungency of the writing, I was left thinking that it must play better onstage than it sounds in my van.
The Manhattan Theatre Club has a trio of offerings, none of which really appeal: Paul Rudnick’s new Regrets Only (although Christine Baranski got glowing reviews: “Is it cold outside? Will I need a bracelet?”), Brien Friel’s Translations, and David Greig’s The American Pilot. We’ll pass.
On the other hand, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House sounds a treat, thoroughly post-modern in its comedy. We’ll take that over Cynthia Nixon in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which got disparaging reviews.
The Paul Taylor Company has a few shows. We’ll catch those, because he’s a vigorous, virile choreographer whose work I have long admired.
The Manhattan School of Music’s Opera Theatre is doing two works that I don’t know: Lord Byron’s Love Letter, Rafaello de Banfield, a mid-50s work with a libretto by Tennessee Williams, and The Village Singer, by Stephen Paulus. We can catch those, but if they’re just modern tone-cluster-jerks, we can leave during intermission.
Broadway. Hm. Room Service is fun, let’s do that. (Although it will remind me that I ought to be working on my own Marx Bros. musical, A Day in the Moonlight, book by Mike Funt). High Fidelity sucks, so we’ll skip it. Spring Awakening has hot teenagers in love, and Grey Gardens has Christine Ebersole. We’ll catch both of those.
The Coast of Utopia. Tom Stoppard. Eight hours of 19th-century Russian intellectuals. What’s not to like?
The Little Dog Laughed, by Douglas Carter Beane, recently transferred to Bway, with rapturous reviews of Julie White as the agent of the sexually confused movie star. Also, it has Johnny Galecki, whom I’ve liked since his days on Roseanne.
The Voysey Inheritance is a period piece, Harley Granville Barker, given a nip-and-tuck treatment by our own David Mamet, and sounds like good clean fun, if you like captains of industry mired in corruption. As long as they have good manners, right?
Oooh, and Heartbreak House! Philip Bosco and Swoosie Kurtz in Shaw. Gotta see that.
Bill T. Jones’ dance company is performing in the new Gatehouse performance space, and Alvin Ailey is kicking off their season with a gala, including a piece by Twyla Tharp, my hero. Those could be fun.
I was going to suggest the exhibit on the Biedermeier period, but that’s in Milkwaukee. Makes sense, actually. Middle-class Germans and Austrians didn’t settle in the Upper East Side, after all.
However, the Brooklyn Museum has a retrospective of Annie Leibovitz’s work, 1990-2005, so we can leave the island for that, surely. Also, the ad for the exhibit of a sculptor named Ron Mueck looks intriguing, so we’ll hang around the borough for that.
And that’s what I would do last week in NYC. Now on to today’s creative work, preparing orchestral scores for printing.