Category Archives: Uncategorized

“American Buffalo” on Broadway

In 2001, I served on a grand jury. At one point, an ADA played for us a recording from a wiretap. It was a conversation between two members of a violent drug gang. One was assigning the other to kill … Continue reading

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Reviewing or Criticism?

I’m going to make a purely personal discrimination. It seems to me that reviews and pieces of criticism are different things. A review exists to give the reader advice on whether or not the work being covered is worth attending. … Continue reading

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“Plaza Suite”

Neil Simon wrote a lot of plays I admire and have watched with pleasure multiple times. But inevitably there are some that appeal to me more than others. I saw the original production of Plaza Suite. It was directed by … Continue reading

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“The Weissensee Saga”

It’s common for the author of historical fiction to want to cram in as many aspects of the period being covered as can be managed. Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War and War and Remembrance moves various branches of “Pug” … Continue reading

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ALICE ADAMS — book and film

Finished reading Booth Tarkington’s Alice Adams recently and watched George Stevens’s film adaptation. The racism in the book is dismaying but not entirely surprising for a book that was published in 1921. The good stuff in it is very good … Continue reading

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Thoughts on “Prayer For the French Republic”

At a time when we’ve gotten used to tasty 90-minute hors d’oeuvres, it’s exhilarating to encounter a play with enough on its mind to hold the attention for three hours (including two 10-minute intermissions). Joshua Harmon’s Prayer For the French … Continue reading

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Richard Christiansen

I wrote a piece for American Theatre about the late, great Richard Christiansen, a critic who had a major part in the Chicago theater renaissance.  And also a friend of mine. Here’s the link — Remembering Richard Christiansen

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Thoughts after watching THE VERDICT

Just watched The Verdict for the first time since it came out forty years ago in 1982. Sidney Lumet at the top of his game, a perfect damn script by David Mamet (I can’t say how much it owes to the … Continue reading

Posted in Chicago theater, drama, film adaptation, movies, off-Broadway, playwriting, Pulitzer Prize, Second City, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

AUTUMN SONATA (2 Bergmans)

Just watched Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata again (with Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann) for the first time in decades. There are things in it that drive me crazy. The characters explain stuff endlessly in the past tense, and that’s usually … Continue reading

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Review: “The Visitor”

For about the first half of its 90-minute running time, The Visitor, the new musical playing at the Public Theater based on Tom McCarthy’s 2007 film, works very nicely indeed. Kwame Kwei-Armah and Brian Yorkey’s script effectively translates McCarthy’s screenplay … Continue reading

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