Monday, August 02, 2010

Soundtrack! Soundtrack!

For theater lovers there can be no greater current pleasure than to witness Bernadette Peters perform the show’s [“A Little Night Music”] signature number, “Send In the Clowns,” with an emotional transparency and musical delicacy that turns this celebrated song into an occasion of transporting artistry. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced with such palpable force--or such prominent goose bumps--the sense of being present at an indelible moment in the history of musical theater...

The halting phrases of the song suggest the overwhelming emotion Desirée is just keeping in check. Ms. Peters invests each brittle line with a full measure of feeling without losing the arc of the music or any of the delicate irony in the lyrics. Despite her sadness Desirée is too generous and too sophisticated to make a melodrama even of her own heartbreak. And yet while Ms. Peters’s Desirée erases her tears with flashing smiles, the inner devastation comes through with moving clarity. Ms. Peters transmits with equal force the sense of Desirée growing into new wisdom about what matters in love--and in life--at long last, and much too late.

-- “Desirée, Making Her Entrance Again,” by Charles Isherwood, in the NYTimes

[Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times]

PLUS: All about that Clowns song. Stephen Sondheim: “I wanted to use theatrical imagery in the song because she's an actress. But it's not supposed to be a circus; it's supposed to have that circus reference--but a theater reference, meaning, if the show is not going well, let's send in the clowns. In other words, let's do the jokes.”

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

if someone from the nytimes came over and gave a rapturous review of cats, gibbs will love it too.

-babygirlatang

gibbs cadiz said...

then you haven't done your basic research. frank rich in the nytimes gave cats an enthusiastic review when it opened on broadway. so did michael billington in london. your point?

Anonymous said...

duh. my comment isn't about the show.

-babygirlatang

gibbs cadiz said...

duh. now you're weaseling out. typical.

Anonymous said...

what i said has got nothing to with cats manila being a good or bad show, sweetie. anyone can see that but you, apparently. mi-yaw.

-babygirlatang

beektur said...

oooh. (channeling the voice of addison dewitt)"kitty's got claws!"

gibbs cadiz said...

oh, well then, let's parse what you're trying to say.

'if someone from the nytimes came over and gave a rapturous review of cats, gibbs will love it too.'

what is IT?

1. if you meant the show, then your statement could only mean my approval/rejection of the show depended on what the nytimes reviewer would say. i assumed that's what you meant, so i had to point out that, in fact, the nytimes critic did praise cats highly, while i had a more mixed reaction to it, which is plain enough in my review.

2. but now you're saying that's not what IT meant--that it had nothing to do with the show. so that could only mean you're referring to the review itself--that whatever the nytimes critic said, whether he panned the show or not, i'd still like the review, post excerpts of it even in my blog.

as a matter of fact, i do like the nytimes reviewers. brantley and isherwood for theater, tomassini for classical music, kakutani for books, etc. and i like them irrespective of their views. meaning, i like them because they're good writers. i can distinguish between their individual choices, and how they express those choices. between what they like or not like, and how they explain that preference.

so, yeah, if they do give a rapturous review of cats, while i myself end up not liking it--BUT the way they write their review is in their usual intelligent, cogent manner, why should i not like that? i don't have to believe everything they say. but i can admire the way they said it.

so, my question again: YOUR POINT?

but don't bother answering. i know you from your past comments. typical, as i said, to weasel out when caught.

mojacko said...

kinanta rin ito ni catherine zeta jones sa tony awards(?) but she seemed angry. haha!

Anonymous said...

MIGHT BE OUT OF TOPIC BUT JUST TO POINT OUT: then you haven't done your basic research. frank rich in the nytimes gave cats an enthusiastic review when it opened on broadway. so did michael billington in london. your point? --> ah, siempre the view on some shows changes with time. Hair, at its original form, if staged today might be considered dated. an opposite example, merrily we roll along was not well received during its original staging, but its merit was realized soon after...

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