Pulitzer Prize

A London Summer with Huntley Dent

A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre

Shaken and stirred. The mid-century denizens in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance must have seemed immortal at the time, 1966, when the play was premiered. They are Dorothy Parker's gin-soaked contemporaries, morphing into Stephen Sondheim's ladies who lunch. Along with their Wall Street-country club husbands, they prowled the veldt from Westchester to the Upper East Side, confident that they were at the top of the food chain, putting down stakes at a private table at "21" and needing only a five-to-one martini in their canteens, seven-to-one if the terrain got rocky. Brought back as the cast of the hit retro TV series, Mad Men, this New York City type arouses nostalgia, but Albee experienced the real thing—and his reaction was pitiless.
New York Arts

Lewis Spratlan’s Opera “Life is a Dream” Premiered at the Santa Fe Opera

The story has been well told in the musical press by now about the delay in production of Lewis Spratlan’s great opera Life Is a Dream — commissioned in the late 1970s by an opera company that went out of business before the opera could be produced; rejected numerous times by other American and European companies; awarded the Pulitzer Prize a decade ago for a concert performance of Act II; more rejections for a full staging… Congratulations and thanks are due at last to General Director Charles Mackay and the Santa Fe Opera for taking a new look at this work, seeing its intrinsic worth and its great potential as staged music drama, believing in it, and now giving it a committed and brilliant production. This occasion is a triumph for all concerned. Here palpably, for the eyes and ears and mind, is one of the great American operas, one of the great modern operas, one of the great operas.
A London Summer with Huntley Dent

Beyond the Horizon, by Eugene O’Neill at the National Theatre

Hard scrabble. America’s two greatest playwrights, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams, both met horrible ends that mirrored their world views. O’Neill, the tragic fatalist, was imprisoned by Parkinson’s disease, struggling to finish his last masterpiece in a crabbed, undecipherable hand. Williams, the perfumed fantasist of flesh, waned in a haze of drugs and alcohol (he died, with pathetic ignominy, by choking on the cap to a medicine bottle). They shared the same dread of life‘s inexorable cruelty. Williams was perhaps the more coyly sadistic artist. He lets his characters lull themselves in a warm bath of delusion until it’s time to destroy them. O’Neill is more cold-eyed and frank. In the current revival of his early success, Beyond the Horizon, magnificently brought to life on the Cottesloe stage of the National Theatre, the three main characters descend into bitter disillusionment while watching every inch of their slide. They grow to have some pity for each other but none for themselves.
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