Theatre yesterday and today



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An odd thing happened to me in late 2017: I was approached by a lovely woman, Sandi Durell, who runs a theatre website after a talk on my book Up in the Cheap Seats. After hearing me speak for an hour, her question to me was that she didn’t understand why I wasn’t writing theatre criticism. My response was that I never wanted to be a critic, to which she replied, “But you’ve been writing reviews since you were twelve!” (which is true). So now it’s over a year and a half later and thanks to Sandi, I’ve been writing reviews from everything to Broadway to off and off-off Broadway, cabaret shows, dance and even stand up comedy. And in that time, it has become increasingly clear to me that it’s n


There will always be an inherent sadness whenever the date 9/11 comes around. Not to suggest any measure of equivalency to the horrors of the terrorist act forever associated with it, but when I looked up theatre history for today, I was surprised to see we lost three extraordinary theatre artists on this same date within a fifteen-year span: Jessica Tandy (1994), Fred Ebb (2004), and Larry Gelbart (2009). How much did I love and admire these three? Let me count the ways. Larry Gelbart (top), Jessica Tandy and Fred Ebb. First, I had the good fortune to meet all of them, beginning with Ms. Tandy, when I impulsively waited by the stage door for her and longtime stage partner (and husband) Hume


It’s difficult for me to believe that it was thirty-four years ago tonight that I attended the first of two sold-out performances of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center. With no hard evidence to back this up, I would stake that of the 2,700 who bought tickets, an overwhelming majority had seen the original production sometime during the fifteen months it ran on Broadway between 1971 and 1972. And if this wasn’t our chance to see Follies again, it was a sacred opportunity to hear it sung the way it was supposed to when the original was recorded — backed by no less than the orchestra of the New York Philharmonic. Lee Remick as Phyllis Stone in Follies in C

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© 2016 Ron Fassler - All rights Reserved

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