The Playgoer: ALW & Shakespeare II

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ALW & Shakespeare II

Apparently Slate's Timothy Noah agrees with me about the vapidity of a certain Andrew Lloyd Webber remark in the Times recently. But if you think I'm tough on NYT, get a load of what this real reporter says:

I don't mean to hang Chmela [the reporter] out to dry. We all write something stupid now and then. But I've always believed it was impossible that the editors at the New York Times would ever let something this transparently stupid into their newspaper, except possibly during the last week of August or the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, when most smart people go on vacation.
Just to be sure, Noah took the time to scan all possible references to Lloyd Webber and Shakespeare in the same sentence, in search of anything to justify Chmela's claim, "Mr. Lloyd Webber is often referred to as the Shakespeare of his time." Here's what he found:

1) Soup-to-nuts (as in the Liverpool Daily Echo noting that Cornwall's Minack Theater hosts "a 17-week season of plays and musicals in the summer, from Shakespeare to Andrew Lloyd Webber")

2) Your-face-and-my-ass (as in Ireland's Sunday Independent observing, "You don't go to an Andrew Lloyd Webber show looking for Shakespeare.")

The only favorable comparison I was able to find between Lloyd Webber and Shakespeare was from a piece by Peter Goddard in the Toronto Star, and that focused solely on business acumen.

Noah seems that rare political commentator who actually knows something about theatre. He references Ming Cho Lee. I'm impressed!


Anonymous said...

Not to slam Ming Cho Lee or anything, but he hasn't designed a Broadway show in twenty years. He's still active (he designed the current roadshow of Annie), but it would seem that Timothy Noah name-checking him shows that Noah's knowledge of theatrical excellence is not, uh, current. (Nathan Lane, though, is a slightly more up-to-date reference. Slightly.)

June said...

Not only is Tim a theater lover, his father, also a writer, had a play on Broadway. Here's the IBDB entry, and here's one possible reason why it had such a short run--the play (pre-recorded) was shown on television on the same night it opened on Broadway.

I'm not a stalker--he's an esteemed colleague.