THE MET’S AGRIPPINA: STELLAR MUSIC, UNFORTUNATE STAGING

Librettist Vincenzo Grimani had a wonderful idea for a comic opera: a neo-classical comedy of manners featuring history’s most monstrous tyrants as the main characters! The comic incongruity would be enormous, as  the murderous, depraved butchers of Rome’s ancient past acted with impeccable decorum and good taste. Imagine seeing Nero and his court in a […]


THE COURT THEATRE’S THE MOUSETRAP: NEAR PERFECTION

In the late 1920s, mystery writer Ronald Knox published  “Ten Commandments for Writing Detective Fiction.” With her monumental play The Mousetrap, Agatha Christie violated the central commandment. (to reveal that commandment would be the ultimate spoiler.) Dame Christie’s flaunting of the detective mystery norms may account for the play’s record setting run. The mystery has […]


THE MET’S PORGY AND BESS: It’s Got Plenty of Vigor and Talent

The distinguished opera historian and critic Charles Osborne considers George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess to be “the most successful American contribution to twentieth century opera.”[i] Like all works for the stage, the final product is the result of a collaboration among many creative artists working to transform the play Porgy into a musical work. The […]


ON STAGE FAVORITES: 2010-2020

The fast-fading decade offered many memorable stage experiences. Here are my favorites: NEW PLAYS: GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY – The New York Public Theater KING CHARLES III – Chicago Shakespeare BURNING BLUEBEARD – The Rufffians ASSASSINATION THEATER –  Museum of Broadcast Communication GRAND CONCOURSE – Steppenwolf Theatre THE HUMANS – The American TheaterCompany SMOKEFALL […]


C.S. LEWIS DEFENDS THE LORD OF THE RING

CS Lewis’ Response to Critics of The Lord of the Rings: The Dethronement of Power Posted on January 6, 2018by Earthoak C. S. Lewis’ defence of Tolkien’s work gives insight into the types of criticism it elicited. Chief among those criticisms were its supposed lack of realism, and lack of character development or moral complexity. Lewis robustly argues […]