Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This is a blurb from the British Guardian that made me smile when I found it yesterday:
Five Swedish-based scientists have been inserting Bob Dylan lyrics into research articles as part of a long-running bet. After 17 years, the researchers revealed their race to quote Dylan as many times as possible before retirement. The bet began in 1997, following Nature’s publication of a paper by Jon Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg, Nitric Oxide and Inflammation: The Answer Is Blowing In the Wind. “We both really like Bob Dylan so when we set about writing an article concerning the measurement of nitric oxide gas in both the respiratory tracts and the intestine ... the title came up and it fitted there perfectly,” Weitzberg recently explained. That was as far as it went until several years later, when a librarian pointed out that two of the scientists’ colleagues, Jonas Frisén and Konstantinos Meletis, had used a different Dylan reference in a paper about the ability of non-neural cells to generate neurons: 2003’s Blood on the Tracks: A Simple Twist of Fate?. Soon the bet was struck: “The one who has written most articles with Dylan quotes, before going into retirement, wins a lunch at the [local] restaurant Jöns Jacob,” Lundberg said. Word spread quickly through Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, where all four men work, and before long there was a fifth competitor: Kenneth Chien, a professor of cardiovascular research, who is also keen to win a free lunch. By the time he met the others, he already had one Dylan paper to his name – Tangled Up in Blue: Molecular Cardiology in the Postmolecular Era, published in 1998. With five competing rivals, the pace of Dylan references accelerated. Lundberg and Weitzberg’s The Biological Role of Nitrate and Nitrite: The Times They Are a-Changin’, in 2009; Eph Receptors Tangled Up in Two in 2010; Dietary Nitrate – A Slow Train Coming, in 2011. The bet is not for strict scientific papers, Weitzberg said. “We could have got in trouble for that,” he said. “[This is for] articles we have written about research by others, book introductions, editorials and things like that.” All the scientists are great fans of Dylan – he ought to win the Nobel prize for literature, suggests Weitzberg – but they are also realistic about his role in their careers. As Weitzberg told the Local: “I would much rather become famous for my scientific work than for my Bob Dylan quotes.”

Monday, September 29, 2014

Into Neverland

The first attempt by the film mogul Harvey Weinstein at producing a theatrical show, a new musical called “Finding Neverland”, will begin preview performances on Broadway in March at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater and open on April 8.  Adapted from the 2004 film about J.M. Barrie and the creation of his early-20th-century play “Peter Pan,” “Finding Neverland” broke box-office and attendance records this summer at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., where it finished two months of performances on Sunday. The show received mixed reviews. Mr. Weinstein has spent roughly $3 million to enhance the budget of the Cambridge production, and is expected to spend an additional $11 million to mount the show in New York – on the medium-to-high-end of budgets for new Broadway musicals.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Streisand's Ego

I've been called many names like perfectionist, difficult and obsessive. I think it takes obsession, takes searching for the details for any artist to be good… To have ego means to believe in your own strength. And to also be open to other people's views. It is to be open, not closed. So, yes, my ego is big, but it's also very small in some areas. My ego is responsible for my doing what I do - bad or good.
Barbra Streisand

Saturday, September 27, 2014

72 And Still Number One!

“Partners” (Columbia), Ms. Streisand’s 34th studio release, featuring duets with stars like Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Josh Groban — as well as one with her son, Jason Gould — opened at No. 1 on Billboard’s new chart, with 196,000 sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Ms. Streisand, 72, has now had a total of 10 No. 1 albums in her career, and, as Billboard notes, she is the first artist to reach the top of the chart in each of the last six decades. The first time was with the album “People” in 1964, and most recently “Love Is the Answer,” in 2009. (Her last release, “What Matters Most,” from 2011, went as high as No. 4.)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Smart Decision

Nick D'Aloisio is a British teenager who developed the app News Digest and sold it for millions of pounds to Yahoo. He was offered to join the tech department of Yahoo in California, but now has decided to go rather to university in the UK. "I am thrilled to be attending Oxford University in England where I will study computer science and philosophy," the 18-year-old told a BBC reporter. Boy, you're really smart.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marie Antoinette Reborn

In Seoul/Korea rehearsals for a completely rewritten version of the musical Marie Antoinette have started, directed by American director Robert Johanson and starring some of the country's best musical protagonists. The show will open on November 1st, 2014 at Seoul's Charlotte Theater.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

“The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace” By Jeff Hobbs

"One man is Shawn, born to a sweet-talking, drug-pushing father named Skeet, who tries to keep his son from books, fearing they will make him too soft for a hard world. Instead, Skeet teaches Shawn how to fight, intimidate, know everyone on avenues where it’s lethal not to. When Skeet is imprisoned for killing two women, Shawn inherits his friends. He becomes a dealer, too, eventually sleeping in his car, wearing a Kevlar vest.
The other man is Rob, son of a feistily aspirational mother, who, while toiling in kitchens, wishes for her child the escape she never had. She borrows books from the local library to read to her small son, and later buys him the first volume of an encyclopedia, getting additional ones, letter by letter, when she can afford them. She navigates their bleak world to find institutions and people who will help him. A Benedictine school rescues Rob. A bank executive offers to pay all his college expenses. Yale accepts him. He majors in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and works in a cancer and infectious disease laboratory.
What makes this book so devastating is that these two men, Rob and Shawn, are really one: Robert DeShaun Peace, who went from a New Jersey ghetto to Yale to wherever men go after dying face down, knees bent, in a drug-related murder."
From a NYT book review of Anand Giridharadas

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
Albert Camus

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Song

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Leonard Cohen At 80

I saw some people starving
There was murder, there was rape
Their villages were burning
They were trying to escape
I couldn’t meet their glances
I was staring at my shoes
It was acid, it was tragic
It was almost like the blues

I have to die a little
Between each murderous thought
And when I’m finished thinking
I have to die a lot
There’s torture and there’s killing
There’s all my bad reviews
The war, the children missing
Lord, it’s almost like the blues

I let my heart get frozen
To keep away the rot
My father said I’m chosen
My mother said I’m not
I listened to their story
Of the Gypsies and the Jews
It was good, it wasn’t boring
It was almost like the blues

There is no G-d in heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I’ve had the invitation
That a sinner can’t refuse
And it’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues
Leonard Cohen

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Soon: Freddy Mercury's Metropolis Song

A new CD collection from Queen, will include Love Kills, a song of Freddy Mercury’s Giorgio Moroder collaboration. This song, never-before completed, was originally recorded for the soundtrack to Moroder’s restored version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The album, called Queen Forever, will feature also other unreleased Freddie Mercury tracks, including the Queen frontman’s collaboration with Michael Jackson. The concept for this album was shaped after Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor discovered a stash of unreleased material in the Queen source archive. Although May had hoped to release the songs last year, they “found a few more tracks with Freddie singing and all of us playing”, he recently told BBC Radio Wales. “They are quite beautiful … [and they have] the big, big ballads and the big, big epic sound.”

Friday, September 19, 2014


Lecrae, a Christian Rapper, hit Billboard's No. 1 on the top 200 album chart for the week ending Sept. 14. His latest album called "Anomaly" is also No. 1 on two other Billboard charts – gospel and Christian. “Anomaly” is the first album to hold the No. 1 spots on both the gospel and Billboard 200 charts at the same time.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

No Guarantee

We have no reliable guarantee that the afterlife will be any less exasperating than this one, have we?
Noel Coward

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


"Well, Luther isn't exactly cool," I said spontaneously when I was asked to write an oratorio to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the posting of his thesis. On second thought I added: "Why not. I think I can make him cool." Falk's music will help.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Last Five Years

A couple sings its way through the exciting beginning and the difficult unraveling of a relationship in “The Last Five Years,” Richard LaGravenese’s film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s Off-Broadway musical. In this video, we see Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan in a first clip from the film.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Amy In Bronze

A lifesize statue of Amy Winehouse has been unveiled in London on what would have been the singer's 31st birthday. Fans and relatives attended the unveiling in Camden, north London, where Winehouse lived before her death in July 2011 after a public struggle with addiction. The 175cm bronze statue in Stables Market portrays Winehouse in high heels and with her trademark beehive hairdo. It was sculpted by the London-based artist Scott Eaton after he was introduced to Winehouse's father, Mitch.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

American Psycho

The highly anticipated Off Broadway production of the musical “American Psycho” has been canceled after the show’s commercial backers pulled the rights from Second Stage Theater. “We are disappointed that we will not be producing American Psycho this season, but the rights holders, Act 4 Entertainment, have decided to not move forward with the production at Second Stage,” Artistic Director Carole Rothman said in a statement. “We will be announcing a new production in its place in the coming weeks.” No explanation was given. Two Broadway executives said on Friday that the California-based Act 4 had been talking to New York producers recently about shifting gears and bypassing Second Stage in favor of a Broadway run, which has long been a goal of the Act 4 producers and the show’s director, Rupert Goold. The Second Stage production would have cost Act 4 Entertainment an undetermined amount of money in development costs.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Irving Berlin

I want to say at once that I frankly believe that Irving Berlin is the greatest songwriter that has ever lived.... His songs are exquisite cameos of perfection, and each one of them is as beautiful as its neighbor. Irving Berlin remains, I think, America's Schubert.
George Gershwin

Friday, September 12, 2014

Born A Genius

The talent of this woman still give me goose bumps. Watch the early performance of an already perfect genius.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

One Of The Finest Song Lyrics Ever

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere,
I've looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun,
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done,
But clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels,
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real,
I've looked at love that way.
But now it's just another show,
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know,
Don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud,
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds,
I've looked at life that way.
Oh but now old friends they're acting strange,
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

By the great Joni Mitchell

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thanks For The Kick In The Teeth

All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
Walt Disney

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hunchback In California

More than a dozen years ago Disney's musical " The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" had its world premiere in Berlin/Germany (I had the honor of writing the German adaptation then). Only now will the show by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz have its U.S. opening. La Jolla Playhouse has announced casting for its upcoming premiere. The production, which is produced by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, will run from October 26-December 7 in the Mandell Weiss Theatre.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Doctor Zhivago On Broadway

Lucy Simon is best known for her wonderful musical "The Secret Garden" which was a huge worldwide success. I've known her for a dozen years now, and I can say she's not only an incredibly talented composer but also a wonderful person. It's hard to understand why Broadway ignored her for many years. But no longer. Early next year she will have another show on the rialto. Lucy's musical adaptation of Doctor Zhivago is expected to begin performances at the Broadway Theater in the spring of 2015. She had to wait long enough. The show is in the pipe since at least ten years. After a long creative period of work with with lyricists Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Amy Powers (Sunset Boulevard) and bookwriter Michael Weller (Spoils of War, the movie "Hair"), Doctor Zhivago premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in 2006. After extensive rewrites it ran in 2011 at Sydney's Lyric Theatre in Australia. Anita Waxman, a longtime Broadway producer, is right now completing deals to start Zhivago in New York.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Code Of Life

“My code of life and conduct is simply this: work hard, play to the allowable limit, disregard equally the good and bad opinion of others, never do a friend a dirty trick, eat and drink what you feel like when you feel like, never grow indignant over anything, trust to tobacco for calm and serenity, bathe twice a day . . . learn to play at least one musical instrument and then play it only in private, never allow one's self even a passing thought of death, never contradict anyone or seek to prove anything to anyone unless one gets paid for it in cold, hard coin, live the moment to the utmost of its possibilities, treat one's enemies with polite inconsideration, avoid persons who are chronically in need, and be satisfied with life always but never with one's self.”
George Jean Nathan

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Nathan The Wise

Who says I don't like critics? Some I even admire. George Jean Nathan (1882-1958) was the leading American drama critic of his time. Active from 1905 to 1958, he published thirty-four books on the theatre, co-edited The Smart Set and The American Mercury with H. L. Mencken, and zealously practiced "destructive" theatre criticism. He  liked very little, but when he decided to champion a playwright--or a performer--there was nothing he would not do. He never hesitated to use his influence with producers to get plays put on, nor did he hesitate to give suggestions to authors or directors about revisions or casting before plays went into rehearsal. Nathan wrote during the most important period of our theatre's history and set critical standards that are still being followed. I love to quote his wonderful aperçu that “an actor without a playwright is like a hole without a doughnut”. And I like his description of the theatre as "a place for the intelligent exercise of the emotions". 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Going To England

Usually musicals travel from London to New York. At the moment the direction has changed. Four major musicals first seen in New York in recent years are headed to London, including British premieres for Memphis and Here Lies Love and West End transfers for productions of The Scottsboro Boys and Urinetown that were previously seen Off-West End.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Medal For A War Horse

The theatrical homage to a War Horse has made me aware of the role horses played in World War I. This is why I find it interesting that only now one of those British world war horses has been awarded with a medal for bravery. No joke. Yesterday the honorary PDSA Dickin medal was presented posthumously to war horse Warrior, dubbed "the horse the Germans could not kill" at a special ceremony in London, as a recognition of the gallantry showed by all the animals that served on the frontline during the conflict. No doubt that would not have happened without that marvellous and unforgettable West End show.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You Got To See It Working To Know

“I still don't know what works until it works, until I see it working. It wasn't through seeing other playwrights or reading other plays, because I haven't done much of either of those. Again, you have an intuitive sense that this is dramatic or a nice shape to a scene; you intuitively know how to tell a good story... where the highlights are, what information to withhold, and how to reveal things.”
 August Wilson(1945-2005)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Setback For The Future

A musical stage adaptation of Back To The Future will be hit by delays after the director, Jamie Lloyd, walked out in a bust-up over creative differences with writer Bob Gale, who penned the movie, its sequels and the upcoming musical script. The sci-fi adventure comedy, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, was a smash hit movie in 1985, and a musical stage version was scheduled to premiere in London's West End in 2015 to coincide with the film's 30th anniversary. Announced in January, the musical was due to have a book by Lloyd, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. It has music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard. Workshops for the show were due to be staged but now Gale will rewrite the entire script and send the new version to directors next year. The musical production is now expected to remain in development until 2016.