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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Vanity vs. Happiness


You think at the age of eighty-seven Herbert Kretzmer, who created the English version of Les Miserables,  would be laughing all the way to the bank. But no, he's not a happy man. His complaint is an ancient malady that afflicts theatrical collaborators. He thinks he deserves more credit for his work than he's getting. "The show belongs as much to me as it belongs to the French," he told John Lahr of the New Yorker magazine. To be called the translator makes him furious. "Translation - the very word I rebut and resent, because it minimizes the genuine creativity that I bring to the task. All the big songs, Empty chairs at empty tables, Stars, Do you hear the people Sing? and Bring him home were mine." Needless to say that I sympathize with Kretzmer. But isn't it a pity that his vanity prevents him from enjoying his unique success?

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