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Friday, July 18, 2008


The [Title of Show] Times They Are A-Changin'...

Check out the reviews today for [Title of Show], which our good friend Steve on Broadway has so graciously gathered together for us. They run the gamut, from raves to pans.

See the pattern? Probably not...unless you know these critics by sight. Because if you did, you'd see that their reviews line up almost exactly along generational lines, with the best reviews coming from the young writers and the worst by the men well into their late 80's. (Clive Barnes is 81, John Simon is 83...and the third-worst review behind them is by Marilyn Stasio, whose age is not published on the internet but who I'm estimating is at least 70, based on having had the unpleasant experience of meeting her on numerous occasions.)

The raves? From men below the age of 50, perhaps below 45. And in the middle? Middle-aged Linda Winer, who I'll eyeball at late 50's.

Why is this important? Because it tells us EXACTLY what Broadway must do to stay relevant...and it starts with removing the geriatrics from their positions of critical power. The response to [TOS] points out quite eloquently that the world is changing, tastes are shifting, and audiences are getting younger all across the rialto (Legally Blonde, Wicked, Avenue Q, Xanadu, etc.). [Titles of Show] should be championed by the industry...here is a show packing them in with dream demographics (the audience I saw was mostly in their 20's) because, and only because, it is geared directly to their tastes. It speaks their language.

And, by default I guess, it DOESN'T speak the language of old Broadway fogies. They don't get it, in a big way. And they're *angry* that they don't. Read that Barnes review between the lines, and you can easily see his frustrated bluster is a cover for his cluelessness...he's furious that he simply doesn't get it. For chrissake, he critiques it with terminology invented to discuss Samuel Beckett in the 60's!

Time to get with the program, Broadway, and support work like [Title of Show]. Or you'll find yourself outmoded, outdated, and out in the cold with Barnes, Simon, and the rest of the codger crew.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

One remark I saw quite often was how "naked" the show was. The old critics hated it but the younger critics loved it. I'm sure if this "naked" show had some sort of gushy love story like the also "naked" "Fantasticks" the old people would have found a soft spot in their theater snob hearts.

[title of show] is new fangled and scary to the geriatrics of today's Broadway. These kids and their new fangled internet and YouTube! [title of show] changed the way a show gets to Broadway, as in, no show has ever documented their journey like [tos] did online, nor have an online fanbase the way they did with the power of myspace and facebook, and things like that make the dinosaurs very nervous. They think that now, the new generation of Broadway kids will let anything onto the "Great White Way" and we'll be stuck with a season full of "Glory Days"'s.

Let's face it, grandma and grandpa critic just aren't with the times and don't get it.

7/18/08, 7:38 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

Interesting about the ages. I didn't realize that John Simon and Clive Barnes were in their 80s. Of course, I don't think I've ever seen a picture of either one.

I think there are exceptions. Aren't the producers who brought "Passing Strange" to Broadway up there in years? Still, it sounds reasonable that there's a generational divide when it comes to [title of show], which I hasten to add, I haven't seen.

While it does sound like a fun show, and something I'd like, surely criticizing it doesn't make you a hopelessly out of touch oldster. I mean, playing devil's advocate, isn't there a possibility that some of the criticisms are valid?

7/18/08, 11:39 PM  
Blogger gabrieloak said...

Hey, I'm one of the "older" crowd and I loved TOS when I saw it at the Vineyard.

7/19/08, 12:02 AM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Esther, excellent points one and all. I don't mean to imply that young=good and old=bad, or that age is a prerequistie for liking TITLE OF SHOW. My point is that the venerable New York critics have aged beyond the audience, and are foundering by giving uninformed critiques and out-of-touch assessment with current trends. This happened with John Simon and PASSING STRANGE as well, a show he just didn't understand.

And to my namesake, GabrielOak...of course there are some cool people older than 50. And you are one of them!

7/19/08, 11:21 AM  
Blogger dthomasg said...

When I was in grad school for dramaturgy, I *always* pulled the Simon review of whatever show I was researching, if there was one, just because he was so darned nasty. I've never seen a review from him that was what I would call positive. It gave me an extreme look at the show that generally bore no relation to reality. I read the Simon and Barnes reviews for [TOS] (which I've also not seen--impoverished in Seattle), and it certainly seems they were missing something--they just didn't seem to understand how the show even existed in the first place. But I was also struck by the whiff homophobia in both of them. What's up with that?

7/21/08, 1:45 AM  
Blogger T$ said...

Fuck the critics - [title of show] rocks. Simon's review is just plain silly...given his criticisms were along the lines of "ugly scenery" and "paltry costumes" which made no sense given the nature of the show. It's as if he went in expecting "The Sound of Music" in technicolor and whined and preened that he didn't get it.

Well...clearly he didn't get it.

I think the criticisms of [title] only reconfirm its relevance.

7/21/08, 10:44 AM  

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