Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Period, Not Full Stop

intermission = a period during which action temporarily ceases; 
an interval between  periods of action or activity.
Too much things to do this upcoming year. I will continue posting whenever I feel like sharing experiences, feelings or ideas, but not daily as up to now. So please drop by every now and then, but don't expect to find a new blog post every morning.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Begging For A Break

“I didn't have to think up so much as a comma or a semicolon; it was all given, straight from the celestial recording room. Weary, I would beg for a break, an intermission, time enough, let's say, to go to the toilet or take a breath of fresh air on the balcony. Nothing doing!”
Henry Miller

Monday, December 29, 2014

Girl From The North Country

If you're traveling the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
For she once was a true love of mine.

If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she has a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin' winds.

Please see if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair's hanging long
For that's the way I remember her best.

I'm a-wonderin' if she remembers me at all
Many times I've often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day.

So if you're travelin' the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was the true love of mine.

Bob Dylan

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dylan & Cash

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Being A Friend

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus

Friday, December 26, 2014

From Broadway To Havanna

A new production of Rent opened in Havana, Cuba, on Christmas Eve. The Broadway musical is the first to open in Cuba in decades. Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson[1] loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City's East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Three years ago the Cuban Ministry of Culture invited NWE (a veteran American entertainment business and prolific Broadway producer) – to "explore what was happening creatively in Havana". Nederlander responded by bringing Broadway Ambassadors – a revue of Broadway hits sung by Broadway actors – to the 14th Annual Havana Theatre Festival, and the reaction was so positive that he was encouraged to return with something more ambitious: Rent.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

How To Find Harmony

Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand.
Baruch Spinoza (1632 - 1677)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Dog

"Tonight’s my first night as a watchdog,

And here it is Christmas Eve.

The children are sleepin’ all cozy upstairs,

While I’m guardin’ the stockin’s and tree.

What’s that now--footsteps on the rooftop?

Could it be a cat or a mouse?

Who’s this down the chimney?

A thief with a beard--

And a big sack for robbin’ the house?

I’m barkin’ I’m growlin’
I’m bittin’ his butt.

He howls and jumps back in his sleigh.

I scare his strange horses, they leap in the air.

I’ve frightened the whole bunch away.

Now the house is all peaceful and quiet again,

The stockin’s are safe as can be.

Won’t the kiddies be glad when they wake up tomorrow

And see how I’ve guarded the tree."

Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ready To Rock Broadway

The Really Useful Group, Warner Music Group & Access Industries, The Shubert Organization, and The Nederlander Organization announced today that School of Rock The Musical, will have its World Premiere on Broadway.

Previews will begin on Monday, November 2, 2015 at the Winter Garden Theatre, with an opening set for Sunday, December 6th. Based on the smash hit 2003 film of the same title, School of Rock will feature music from the movie, as well as new music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater, with a book by Julian Fellowes. School of Rock—The Musical will be directed by Laurence Connor (currently represented on Broadway by Les Miserables).

Produced by Paramount Pictures, the 2003 film was directed by Richard Linklater and starred Jack Black in a career-defining performance. The film received universal critical acclaim and was hailed by The New York Times as an “irresistible comic postscript to the rock revolution.” The film went on to gross more than $130 million worldwide.

In School of Rock—The Musical, down-on-his-luck wannabe rock star Dewey Finn poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to make ends meet. When he discovers his students’ musical talents, he enlists his fifth-graders to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands.

Three-time Grammy Award-winner Rob Cavallo also joins the creative team. Cavallo is one of the top-selling record producers in the world, has been involved in albums that have sold more than 150 million units and has worked with Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Goo Goo Dolls, Phil Collins, Cary Clark Jr., among others.

Cavallo said “School of Rock is a wonderful film, a rock and roll story that transcends the genre with passion and heart. To be able to creatively collaborate with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater, Julian Fellowes and the rest of the team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I can’t wait to see School of Rock take on a whole new life.”

Co-producers The Shubert Organization and The Nederlander Organization issued a joint statement: “This partnership is an extension of a longstanding and productive relationship between our two organizations, and it gives us the exciting opportunity to work with Andrew again. We are thrilled to be on the producing team with The Really Useful Group and Warner Music Group to bring School of Rock The Musical to Broadway.”

“I am excited to be working on bringing Jack Black and Mike White’s iconic movie to the stage,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber. “It is a joy for me to return to my Jesus Christ Superstar roots – when Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan was recording Jesus for Tim Rice and me at London’s Olympic Studios, Led Zeppelin was recording next door and a glimpse of a Stone or two was routine! School Of Rock is hugely about how music can empower kids. Tim Rice and my first performed piece, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, was written for a school. Ever since then I and my Art Foundation have been actively involved in music education back home in Britain. It will be a joy to discover and work with talented musical kids in the USA and, who knows, maybe discover a rock star or three of the next generation.”

School of Rock will feature Choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, Scenic and Costume Design by Anna Louizos, Lighting Design by Natasha Katz, and Sound Design by Mick Potter. Nina Lannan serves as Executive Producer.

Casting for the show will begin in January in cities across the country, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Monday, December 22, 2014

X-mas Joy

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.
Dave Barry

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Udo Jürgens, a dear friend, wonderful human being and great musician, passed away today. I’m too sad to find appropriate words. The world is bit colder now.

Seinfeld's Acceptance Speech

Last October Jerry Seinfeld received a Clio award for co-staring with Bill Gates in commercials for Microsoft, writing the ads for Acura cars and promoting American Express. The Clio is a well-respected international advertising award. Seinfeld’s acceptance speech was a comic masterpiece. “I love advertising, because I love lying,” Seinfeld told his audience of of advertisment bosses: “We know the product is going to stink. We know that.”

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tam Mutu Is Dr. Zhivago

Tam Mutu, the West End leading man known for his roles in Les Misérables, Love Never Dies and the upcoming Donmar Warehouse production of City of Angels, was supposed to play Maxim in the Broadway production of Rebecca that was cancelled due to financing problems. He had to wait for more than two years to get another chance to present himself on Broadway. Now he's got it. He will star in the new musical Dr. Zhivago, playing the title role. The show will also feature Barrett (Wicked, Rock of Ages) as Lara Guishar, Tony Award nominee Hewitt (Rocky Horror Show, Dracula) as Viktor Komarovsky, Nolan (Once, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Pasha Antipov and Josh Canfield as Liberius. The musical Dr. Zhivago features the work of bookwriter Michael Weller (Moonchildren, Loose Ends), composer Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden) and lyricists Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Amy Powers (Lizzie Borden). It will begin performances March 27, 2015, at the Broadway Theatre.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

An American, Back In Paris

Stuart Oken's production of An American in Paris just opened - in Paris, naturally. It will play at the Théâtre du Châtelet through January 4, 2015. The Broadway run of the production will begin previews Friday, March 13, 2015 for a Sunday, April 12, 2015 opening night at the Palace Theatre (Broadway at 47th Street). The musical's romantic story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl and the city of Paris, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war, was inspired by the legendary movie of the same title. The original was put together by writer Alan Jay Lerner, choreographer and star Gene Kelly and director Vincente Minnelli from a selection of George Gershwin classics 14 years after the composer's death. The new musical is directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, music and lyrics are, of course, by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. The new book is by Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominee Craig Lucas. The Paris critics who had mixed feelings about my Dance Of The Vampires love the American in Paris.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Adam Gopnik

Since Adam Gopnik wrote his first essay in The New Yorker, "Quattrocento Baseball", which  appeared in May of 1986, I am one of his dedicated readers. I loved his Paris To the Moon, the New York Times rightfully called one of “the finest book on France”. In 2009, Gopnik completed Angels And Ages: A Short Book About Lincoln, Darwin And Modern Life, which became a national best-seller and which the Telegraph in London called “the essay every essayist would like to have written.” I love this book, though reading it makes me feel inferior. Adam Gopnik is my ideal of the writing intellectual.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


“I’ve decided that gratitude – rather, gratefulness – is the essence of joy, the basic emotion, what we feel when we hear music we love, or look at our loved ones, or simply breathe; and growing old means only losing that emotion. The retention of gratefulness is the guarantee of continued youth.”
Leonard Bernstein

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bleeding Edge

"One ought to be accustomed, by now, to Pynchon’s leaving his mysteries unresolved, or at least prepared to give him credit for having done so on purpose. Incompleteness is the inherent vice of paranoid theories of history, the limitation of such theories that Pynchon has always freely acknowledged. Criticism of Pynchon’s “shaggy dog” or sloppy plotting neglects the emphasis that he has always laid on the dual meaning of the word plot. From V. forward, nearly all his novels have been founded on a bedrock of detective fiction and underlayed with science fiction, boy’s adventure, westerns, spy fiction, and other genres that rely, like conspiracy theories, on plotting. His broken plots expose the epistemological brokenness of paranoid systems, which are, after all, nothing but attempts, grander but no less doomed to failure than anyone’s, to make sense of a broken world."
Michael Chabon

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Problem

"The world is at fault, not because it is inherently good or bad or anything but what it is, but because it doesn't prepare us in anything but body to get along with."
Thomas Pynchon

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Copyright Extension Albums

Since 2012, when the European Union passed a revised copyright law, extending the copyright on recordings from 50 years to 70 – but only if the recording was published during its first 50 years – record companies have been exploring their vaults for potentially marketable material in danger of losing its copyright protection if it is not released. That first year, Motown released a series of albums packed with outtakes by some of its major acts, and Sony released a limited-edition collection of 1962 outtakes by Bob Dylan, with the surprisingly frank title, “The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. I.” In 2013, Sony released a second Dylan set, devoted to previously unreleased 1963 recordings. Similar recordings by the Beatles and the Beach Boys followed. For collectors, these sets are a boon, and they are becoming increasingly plentiful as the 50th anniversary of each year of the 1960s rolls around, moving deeper into the rock era. Record labels, however, have complied with the publication requirement reluctantly, releasing the sets in small quantities, or making them available only as digital downloads. This year’s trawl is starting to shape up. Sony has told European retailers that it will release a nine-LP set of 1964 recordings by Mr. Dylan, possibly as early as next week. Only 1,000 copies will be available, but if past years are any guide, collectors who obtain copies are likely to make copies available online before the year is out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

There Is An Audience

"There is an audience for every musical; it's just that sometimes it can't wait long enough to find it"
Harold Prince

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Official Recognition

The Library Of America has just released a boxed set of two volumes featuring the complete books and lyrics of 16 Broadway classics, such as Show Boat, As Thousands Cheer, Oklahoma!, On the Town, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Gypsy,  Fiddler on the Roof and Cabaret. Each of these classic musicals has evolved over time, receiving many important revivals and new productions. This Library of America boxed set offers readers unprecedented insight into this living history with a selection of hard-to-find or previously unpublished supplementary items, including lyrics of songs dropped out-of-town or added in later revivals. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and other images drawn from the original productions, the set also contains biographical sketches of the book writers and lyricists; cast lists and other information about the shows’ Broadway openings; and detailed accounts of the path each show took on the road to Broadway. As a special feature, the box includes 16 full-color postcards reproducing the original show posters.

Monday, December 8, 2014

On Musical Lyrics

Musicals are often lampooned for not minding their language at all. Detractors highlight how irritating it is when characters burst into song arbitrarily. Then, they claim, the lyrics they belt are cursory, cheesy and slapdash. Rhyme swallows meaning; melodrama gulps away feeling. Lyn Gardner made the point on the Guardian’s theatre blog that musical theatre haters are often snobs, like the Evening Standard’s David Sexton, who dismissed musicals as repellent, embarrassing and stupid – even Sondheim’s work: “The cleverer such an innately idiotic form tries to be, the more annoying it is.” Musicals are often lampooned for not minding their language at all. Detractors highlight how irritating it is when characters burst into song arbitrarily. Then, they claim, the lyrics they belt are cursory, cheesy and slapdash. Rhyme swallows meaning; melodrama gulps away feeling. Lyn Gardner made the point on the Guardian’s theatre blog that musical theatre haters are often snobs, like the Evening Standard’s David Sexton, who dismissed musicals as repellent, embarrassing and stupid – even Sondheim’s work: “The cleverer such an innately idiotic form tries to be, the more annoying it is.” (Gary Nunn, The Guardian)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Be A Rainbow!

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.
Lord Byron

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rando Says No To King Kong

John Rando, who won a Tony Award for “Urinetown” and directed the ill-fated Broadway production of the mutilated "Dance Of The Vampires", has turned down the offer to sign on as director of the new big-budget musical “King Kong”. He had been in advanced negotiations for the job and spent several days last month with the musical’s producer and artists in Australia, where the show – and its 20-foot-tall Kong puppet – was developed and had a world-premiere run in 2013 that altogether cost a reported $30 million, a far higher sum than most Broadway shows.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mick & Martin's Rock Project Takes Shape

Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese‘s ambitious, as-yet-untitled “rock project” is on its way to the screen.
Initially conceived by Jagger, it was originally planned as a film before making its way to HBO as a series concept in 2010. Titled ‘History of Music’ at one point, the show was supposed to use 40 years of pop culture as the backdrop to a long story about the long relationship between two friends. Over time, the focus was narrowed and shifted; according to the network, the series now “will explore the drug- and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out, all through the eyes of a record executive trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound.” Anyway, the volatile rock music scene of 1970s New York will live again in this series created by a couple of contributors who know a thing or two about rock music. It’s just the latest collaboration between Scorsese (who has already directed the pilot) and Jagger: The duo recently worked together on the 2008 Rolling Stones documentary ‘Shine a Light.’ The director also has a healthy relationship with HBO; along with Terence Winter, who’s also producing this new series, he’s part of the brain trust behind the network’s hit show ‘Boardwalk Empire.’

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rehabilitate Luther!

Martin Luther was condemned for heresy and excommunicated in 1521 by Pope Leo X, who had initially dismissed him as “a drunken German” and predicted he would “change his mind when sober”. Luther never intended to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices. Nevertheless he came very close to being burned alive.
I'm neither a protestant nor a catholic, but I think it's about time the Pope rehabilitates the courageous monk from Wittenberg.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How To Succeed As A Writer

“Rise early. Write. Disappoint your sons. Read the newspaper. Go to bed early. Success."
Arthur Miller

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finding Neverland

The upcoming Broadway musical Finding Neverland tells the story of playwright J. M. Barrie who found a family to inspire the 1902 novel Peter Pan. It is an adaptation from the 2004 film, which starred Johnny Depp. Cast members offered a performance and a special behind-the-scenes look at the new production as part of the Nov. 27 Thanksgiving Day coverage on ABC's "Good Morning America." Songwriter Gary Barlow, who created the score for the Broadway production, performed alongside the musical's leading lady, actress Laura Michelle Kelly. The musical features music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and a book by James Graham. It will begin previews on March 15, 2015 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Opening night is set for April 15.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Galileo On God

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Luther On Music

Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
Martin Luther

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bad Time For New Broadway Shows

Most new musical productions on Broadway struggle at the box office. Sting's “The Last Ship,” grossed only $497,208 last week, only 40 percent of the maximum amount. The new musical comedy “Honeymoon in Vegas” had also low ticket sales for its first set of preview performances. “Side Show,” which opened last week to positive reviews, grossed $419,203, or 41 percent of the maximum possible amount; another revival, “On the Town,” which opened in October and also received strong reviews, grossed $795,604, only 44 percent of the maximum amount. Is it a bad time for new Broadway productions, or have the producers chosen the wrong shows to stage?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Leonardo On Success

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


"Why don't you write books people can read?"
Nora Barnacle Joyce to her husband, James Joyce

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

State Of The Union

Gore Vidal's State of the Union: Nation Essays, 1958–2005 is now available in paperback and digital format for tablets, smartphones and computers. Gore Vidal was the pre-eminent essayist of his generation, and he wrote for The Nation over a span of forty-seven years, becoming a contributing editor in 1981. That same year, The Nation published his explosive first essay for editor Victor Navasky, "Some Jews and the Gays," which is included here. This collection also exemplifies the best of his critical vision with other great essays like "Requiem for the American Empire," "Monotheism and Its Discontents," "Notes on Our Patriarchal State" and "The Birds and the Bees"—and its Monica Lewinsky–era sequel, "The Birds and the Bees and Clinton." Editor Richard Lingeman's advice: "Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged. Prepare also to smile or laugh out loud."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another Kind Of Rock And Roll

The 90-minute documentary Valley Uprising examines Yosemite National Park’s 60-year legacy of revolutionary rock climbing and thriving counterculture.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Jimmy Ruffin

The soul singer Jimmy Ruffin had a Top 10 hit in 1966 called “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”. Other hits were I've Passed This Way Before, Gonna Give Her All the Love I Got and Hold On To My Love. Jimmy Ruffin was not one of the biggest stars in the Motown stable of the 1960s and ’70s, which also included, among many others, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, the Jackson 5 and the Temptations — whose million-selling 1965 single “My Girl” featured his brother David as lead singer. This younger brother David, one of the early members of the Temptations, died in 1991 of a drug overdose, prompting his sibling to become an anti-drug campaigner. Aged 78, Jimmy Ruffin died on Monday in a Las Vegas hospital.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hannah Arendt On Fame

Fame, that much-coveted goddes, has many faces, and fame comes in many sorts and sizes - from the one-week notoriety of the cover story to the splendor of an everlasting name. Posthumus fame is one of fame's rarer and least desired articles, although it is less arbitrary and often more solid than the other sorts, since it is seldom bestowed upon mere merchandise. The one who stood most to profit is dead and hence it is not for sale.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Home is where you feel at home and are treated well.
Dalai Lama

Monday, November 17, 2014

Too Dangerous

Clif Bar, a maker of nutrition bar with a climber on its logo, used to be a major sponsor of extreme sports such as base jumping and free soloing. Now the company has canceled all contracts. “We concluded that these forms of the sport are pushing boundaries and taking the element of risk to a place where we as a company are no longer willing to go,” Clif Bar wrote in an open letter to the climbing community. “We understand that some climbers feel these forms of climbing are pushing the sport to new frontiers. But we no longer feel good about benefiting from the amount of risk certain athletes are taking in areas of the sport where there is no margin for error; where there is no safety net.” Among those whose contracts were withdrawn were Alex Honnold and Dean Potter, each widely credited with pushing the boundaries of the sport in recent years. How far they are pushing the boundaries can be seen in a new documentary about the evolution of rock climbing in Yosemite National Park that was just released ("Valley Uprising"). The film shows both of them climbing precarious routes barehanded and without ropes and Dean Potter walking across a rope suspended between towering rock formations.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nietzsche On German Historiography

There is an imperial German historiography, indeed, I fear, an anti-Semitic one, — there is a court historiography, and Mr von Treitschke knows no shame… recently an idiotic judgment in historical matters, a sentence by the Swabian esthete Vischer, now fortunately faded from the scene, made its rounds in the German newspapers as a “truth” which every German should recognize: “The Renaissance and the Reformation must be joined together to make a whole—the esthetic rebirth and the moral rebirth.” – I lose patience when I hear such sentences, and I feel a desire, indeed, a duty, to tell the Germans all the things they have on their conscience! All the great cultural crimes of four centuries are on their conscience!… And always for the same reason, because of their internalized cowardice in the face of reality, which is also a cowardice in the face of the truth, which they have made into their instinctive untruth, from “idealism.”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saving The Last Ship

Sting's first musical The Last Ship, opened a week ago on Broadway. The reviews were mixed. Newsday's Linda Winer, wrote: “If sincerity and noble intentions were enough to make a good musical, The Last Ship would be a smash. If haunting folk-tinged melodies and choruses of rousing determination could float this boat, Sting’s heartfelt debut musical would justify the years he devoted to the $14 million epic about a depressed English shipbuilding town very much like the one where he grew up…Alas, The Last Ship is a ravishing concert with passionate singers buried in a monotonous, improbable story and surrounded by dark rusted metal with grim industrial scaffolds (by David Zinn)…Unlike many other pop stars who try Broadway but only sound like themselves, Sting creates different voices for different characters. We hope he tries again.” Other reviews were quite positive, but the ticket sales are low. The musical has been running at a loss since its first previews six weeks ago. Weekly operating costs are around $600,000, and the musical is losing just under $100,000 a week. So Sting is considering joining the cast to save The Last Ship from troubled waters. If he steps in, he likely would replace the star, Jimmy Nail, in January—a month when Broadway ticket sales tend to flag. It's an admirable decision, worthy of this outstanding artist. "I've never wanted to fall off the lowest rung of any ladder I ever started to climb," Sting said in a tv interview a few days ago. "I'm here to take risks. Nothing of value is without risk. And I'm only risking my reputation." Hats off!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Time Well Used

There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished. Instead of singing like the birds, I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune. As the sparrow had its trill, sitting on the hickory before my door, so had I my chuckle or suppressed warble which he might hear out of my nest.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden Chapter 4)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Steve's Mantra

"Don't be afraid. You can do it!"
Steve Jobs

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dawn in New York

The Dawn! The Dawn! The crimson-tinted, comes
Out of the low still skies, over the hills,
Manhattan's roofs and spires and cheerless domes!
The Dawn! My spirit to its spirit thrills.

Almost the mighty city is asleep,
No pushing crowd, no tramping, tramping feet.

But here and there a few cars groaning creep
Along, above, and underneath the street,
Bearing their strangely-ghostly burdens by,
The women and the men of garish nights,
Their eyes wine-weakened and their clothes awry,
Grotesques beneath the strong electric lights.

The shadows wane.
The Dawn comes to New York.

And I go darkly-rebel to my work.

Claude McKay

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

King Kong

According to Patrick Healy of The New York Times the Australian musical “King Kong” will soon come to Broadway. I will be directed by John Rando, who earned critical acclaim last month for staging the Broadway revival of “On the Town”.  Mr. Rando is in Australia right now for several days of discussions with the producer about overhauling the show for New York.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hunger Games To Become Stage Musical

The film studio Lionsgate has announced plans for a stage version of The Hunger Games, the bestselling books that have become an equally successful franchise of films. The studio is teaming up with entertainment companies in the US and the Netherlands to create a live version of the series about a dystopian world in which teenagers are forced to fight to the death. Lionsgate, Dutch media company Imagine Nation and US-based Triangular Entertainment said on Friday that the stage version featuring “innovative and immersive staging techniques” will open in 2016 at a new venue beside Wembley Stadium in London. Producers include Robin de Levita, who created a rotating auditorium for the Dutch musical Soldier of Orange and a rotating set for the Anne Frank play Anne. Mockingjay – Part I, the third film based on the novels by Suzanne Collins, opens this month. Jennifer Lawrence returns to the lead role as the character Katniss Everdeen.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Birthday Cake

If you look over the years, the styles have changed - the clothes, the hair, the production, the approach to the songs. The icing to the cake has changed flavors. But if you really look at the cake itself, it's really the same.
John Oates

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Self-Control Can Be Learned

The Marshmallow Test, created by Mischel in the 1960s, was at the heart of an investigation of the ability of young children to delay gratification. A marshmallow was placed in front of them as they sat alone in a plain room. The child could choose to eat the one treat — or wait about 15 minutes to receive two treats. More monumental findings followed: The psychologist observed that the children who waited for the second treat did better at school, and formal research confirmed this. Those who waited enjoyed better health too. These discoveries prompted further investigation into where the ability to control oneself comes from. This book, a compendium of his life's research, is Mischel's attempt to demonstrate that self-control can be learned. It is published by Little Brown & Co. The book is somewhat light on practical, usable advice. Author Charles Duhigg's 2012 book, "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business," is perhaps more useful in this regard.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Adapting An Underlying Work

The worst mistake that a fledgling musical book writer can make is to remain absolutely faithful to the movie or whatever he or she is attempting to turn into a musical, for the Broadway musical is a unique genre of its own, and the original work, like Shaw's Pygmalion, has to be completely taken apart, rethought and utterly transformed in order to be turned into a singularly shimmering and brilliant musical like My Fair Lady.
Thomas Meehan

Thursday, November 6, 2014


The London Guardian writes today: "According to criminologist James Tully, the author of Jane Eyre was not the secluded, intellectual spinster we imagine, but a violently envious and lustful murderess. All was peaceful in the Brontë household, Tully says, until the 1845 appearance of a (debatably) handsome and wily curate named Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls. Tully claims that Nicholls encouraged Charlotte’s already envious disposition, and together they poisoned each one of her siblings. Emily and Branwell (who another theory says wrote Emily’s Wuthering Heights) died in 1848 at ages 30 and 31 respectively. Anne died in 1849 at 29. The common conception is that they all contracted tuberculosis or cholera, but Tully, who is also an expert in 19th-century poison, is convinced that they were murdered. A few years later Charlotte’s father “angrily chased” Nicholls from their estate. Soon after that, Charlotte eloped with Nicholls, only to die a year later. Tully claims that it was Nicholls’s plan all along to inherit the Brontë estate, and thus Charlotte met the same bleak fate as her siblings. Tully originally wrote his theory as non-fiction, but was unable to find a publisher; so he retold the story as fiction from the point of view of real-life maid Martha Brown. His book, The Crimes of Charlotte Brontë, gained some recognition, but was generally rejected by Brontë enthusiasts."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.
David Frost

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rebecca Is Still Haunting Seoul

Here's a blurb from the Korea Times:

The musical "Rebecca," on stage at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul, grabs audiences with a thrilling storyline, gloomy stage setting and magnificent music sung by top-notch Korean actors.

The Dutch musical penned by Michael Kunze and composed by Sylvester Levay had its Broadway production cancelled last year due to a lack of financing, but the Korean version is to the original creators' satisfaction.

Based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier and the movie by Alfred Hitchcock, the musical portrays the tragic tale revolving around Manderley, a stately mansion owned by Maxim DeWinter ― played by Ryu Jung-han ― who lost his wife in a boating accident.

The musical is narrated by "I" (Lim Hye-young), the young woman who starts the show by singing "I Dreamt of Manderley." Her life changes when she meets Maxim DeWinter at a hotel in Monte Carlo and he asks her to marry him.

However, instead of being a conventional Cinderella story, Rebecca takes audiences to what happens after the heroine marries the prince, or Maxim in this case, and how Cinderella is swept up by the dark secret of the DeWinters.

When the newly-weds arrive in Manderley, timid "I" is overwhelmed by Mrs. Danvers, the haughty housekeeper of Manderley, who is obsessed with keeping the memory of the former lady of the house, Rebecca DeWinter, alive.

Shin Young-sook, who plays Mrs. Danvers, steals the limelight whenever she appears on stage dressed in black, her hair cinched in a tight bun. Though Shin is not a household name compared to Oak Joo-hyun, a singer-turned-musical actress who alternates as Mrs. Danvers with Shin, she shines with her vibrant charisma and powerful voice.

Mrs. Danvers tries to keep the house how it was when Rebecca was there and Rebecca's favorite Cupid statue is her treasure. The housekeeper is stone cold to the new wife "I" and even tricks her into wearing the same dresses as Rebecca, putting her into the shadow of Rebecca. Shin portrays Mrs. Danvers' unconditional love and loyalty to her former mistress Rebecca to a powerful extent.

Kunze and Levay have a strong fan base here in Korea with their works "Mozart!" and "Elisabeth," and Rebecca once again proves their musical power.
When Mrs. Danvers sings "Rebecca," which is reprised three times throughout the show, she captivates the house with dark charisma. The highlight would be "Rebecca" and "Just One Step" in the second act, where Mrs. Danvers menaces "I" not to take over the position of Mrs. DeWinter. The voice of Mrs. Danvers and "I" intertwine charmingly as they sing of love and hatred toward the late mistress together. The revolving window set and mist effect maximize the gloomy atmosphere of Manderley.

The musical is not as absorbing as the book or movie storywise, since it fails to foreshadow enough or reveal the secret in a more engaging way, but the riveting music and elegant set complement the stage version. The use of video projections is successful in portraying the sea behind Manderley.

Rebecca was scheduled to run through March 31. Due to the huge success it is now running until November 9th, 2014. Tickets cost from 50,000 to 130,000 won. Yu Jun-sang and Oh Man-seok alternate the role of Maxim DeWinter; Oak Joo-hyun, Mrs. Danvers; Kim Bo-kyung, I.

By Kwon Mee-yoo / The Korea Times, Seoul

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Answer


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Marie Antoinette Reborn

Yesterday's opening of Marie Antoinette at the Charlotte Theatre in Seoul/Korea was a big success. Here are two stills from the show: The mob at Marie Antoinette's chamber at Versailles, and the meeting of the Jacobins who decide to let Margrid spy on Marie Antoinette to find proof for high treason.

I am very pleased that the show has found its definite form at last. Based on the historic events of the French revolution it tells a complex and dramatic story. The actresses and half of the audience were in tears when the curtain came down. Nevertheless they jumped up to gave the cast and creative team a long and loud standing ovation.