I’m going to be a little unfair to Network, the new Broadway play based on Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet’s acclaimed 1976 movie. Unfair because, in many ways, the stage version is impressive on its own terms. Adapter Lee Hall has kept much of Chayefsky’s pungent, literate dialogue and resisted the temptation to update his … Continue reading ‘Network’ on Broadway: Faithful to a Fault
“He’s not a film,” cries director Carl Denham, vowing to bring the giant ape he's discovered on Skull Island back to New York City. “He’s theater!” The guardians of New York theater, it seems, would beg to differ. King Kong, the new $35 million musical from Australia that has just arrived on Broadway, has been stomped … Continue reading ‘King Kong’: Can It Stomp the Critics?
No need for me to add to the ecstatic praise (“thrilling,” “a masterpiece,” “best play of the century”) that has poured in from nearly every critic for The Ferryman, the Jez Butterworth play that has just opened on Broadway after a much-lauded, award-laden run in London. I can understand some of the enthusiasm. The play … Continue reading ‘The Ferryman’: Broadway’s Wannabe Masterpiece
A brief movie interlude: I’ve seen a bunch of new films lately — many of them at last weekend’s Hamptons International Film Festival — and what has struck me is how thoroughly my reaction to them, even films that have little or no political content, has been infused by the Trump presidency. Also how inspiring many … Continue reading Moviegoing in the Time of Trump
Though it's not far from my hometown of Kansas City, I had never been to Branson, Mo., at least not since it became the entertainment capital of the Ozarks. But having just finished writing a book on Las Vegas entertainment, I figured it was high time to at least lay eyes on the town sometimes … Continue reading Branson: A Visit to the ‘Redneck Las Vegas’
The blog has been inactive for a couple of months. My apologies — with an explanation. I have just finished the manuscript for my latest book. It's a history of the 1960s golden age of Las Vegas entertainment — the heyday years of the Vegas show, from the Rat Pack to Elvis. I focus especially … Continue reading From Vegas to Broadway
I have to be careful talking about Straight White Men, the new Young Jean Lee play that has opened on Broadway, following an acclaimed off-Broadway run in 2014. It's hard to imagine a play more perfectly calculated for this multicultural, gender-fluid, #MeToo moment. Lee is the first Asian-American woman ever to have her work produced on … Continue reading ‘Straight White Men’: Faking It