Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Need Critics, But Some I Abhor

Naturally I sympathize with Sondheim's views, but they are not exactly my own. I need critics, especially when I've written something new. It is quite normal that I am unsure about it. I think it's fantastic (1%), miserable (20%) or so-so (79%), without knowing where I failed. Usually my wife, Roswitha, or my co-author, the composer, tell me upfront what's wrong, later maybe the director or a total outsider who happens to visit the rehearsals. Often I find some grain of truth in what musical fans write about the previews online or tell me during intermission. Professional critics see the work only when I regard it finished. Some of them sense weaknesses I denied, others may detect some real flaws I never saw. Unfortunately many don't even try to understand what I've written, and those are not helpful at all. A few intellectuals even pride themselves on their ignorance, indicating more or less explicitly they hate all musicals (or entertainment in general) and find it degrading to write about it. Those are the critics I abhor. No newspaper would send a reporter who detests sports to a football game. I'll never understand why they let opera buffs review musical openings.

1 comment:

  1. I’d give three reasons why such people don’t like musical theatre:

    1. They will not engage in a 'willing suspension of disbelief' that people would sing, instead of talk, in a drama.

    2.They are discomfited by the lack of intellectualism in the idea that a musical number on its own, can move an audience.

    3. They couldn’t do it themselves.