The Playgoer: Blog rec: Mark Steyn

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Blog rec: Mark Steyn

Yet another quirky conservative voice in the field, Mark Steyn is always a good read. His site is a collection of published writing on many fields, but I recommend skipping over the directly political stuff on the war, etc. and going straight to Steyn on Stage--which, unfortunately, right now is limited to his once-a-month pieces in the (gulp) New Criterion. His latest there, on Spamalot, is a must-read for anyone interested in an intellectual assessment of its meaning in terms of contemporary Broadway and musical theatre history. (Or maybe that very formulation about such a show just made you laugh right now.) While appreciative and balanced about the show, he makes a compelling case about the bankruptcy of our increasing gravitation toward a Theatre of Parody. I'm on the record (see below) as liking Spamalot but I also think there's something to this argument.

Along with his fellow right-wing-media bedfellow Terry Teachout (on whose blog I found the Steyn link) these guys certainly make no secret of their distaste of liberal orthodoxy and embrace of the free market (while elitists, they easily accept the dictates of the commercial theatre), I find in each a strong aesthetic sense and great historical grasp. If you haven't read Steyn's Broadway Babies Say Goodnight then do. (As they say, If you love musicals--or even if you don't!) He is often acerbic, wrongheaded, and annoying, but it's a great rambling journey through twentieth century stage biz--with lots of rigorous musical analysis to boot (ie., not just a gossip book).

Any Steyn-detractors? Write in!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Steyn is a really destructive right-wing smartass who does not take serious work seriously.