Friday, January 23, 2015


“There are at least two ways to believe in the idea of quality. You can believe there's something ineffable going on within the human mind, or you can believe we just don't understand what quality in a mind is yet, even though we might someday. Either of those opinions allows one to distinguish quantity and quality. In order to confuse quantity and quality, you have to reject both possibilities. The mere possibility of there being something ineffable about personhood is what drives many technologists to reject the notion of quality. They want to live in an airtight reality that resembles an idealized computer program, in which everything is understood and there are no fundamental mysteries. They recoil from even the hint of a potential zone of mystery or an unresolved seam in one's worldview. This desire for absolute order usually leads to tears in human affairs, so there is a historical reason to distrust it. Materialist extremists have long seemed determined to win a race with religious fanatics: Who can do the most damage to the most people?”
Jaron Lanier

Friday, January 9, 2015

Murderers Are Murderers

“Today I want to puke when I hear the word 'radical' applied so slothfully and stupidly to Islamist murderers; the most plainly reactionary people in the world.”
Christopher Hitchens

Let me add: Murderers are not martyrs.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Last Ship Down

The Broadway musical “The Last Ship” will close on Jan. 24 despite an unusual attempt by Sting, its composer, to try to increase ticket sales and spread word about the show by joining its cast last month. Two of the musical’s producers, Jeffrey Seller and Kathryn Schenker, shared the news in an email on Monday night to members of the production and other supporters of “The Last Ship.” “We have been bewildered and saddened by our inability to sustain an audience for this musical that we deeply love,” the producers wrote about the show, which cost $15 million to mount on Broadway and an additional $625,000 or more to run each week. “There are no easy explanations.”
The musical, a roman a clef set in a Northeast England shipyard marked for shuttering, will have played 134 performances at the Nederlander-owned Neil Simon Theatre, following a 5-week tryout last summer in Chicago. While most critics were enthusiastic about Sting’s songs and the staging by director Joe Mantello and choreographer Steven Hogget, there was less support for the somewhat lugubrious book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey.

Friday, January 2, 2015


On New Year’s Day New York’s number one theatre website TheaterMania peered into its crystal ball and told musical fans what may be in store for the year to come. Here’s what the editorial staff wrote:

As another year dawns, we wait with bated breath for the big news sure to come down the pike from the always dramatic and surprising world of theater. Who but the most clairvoyant would have guessed that Andrew Lloyd Webber was writing the score to School of Rock — The Musical, set to bow this year on Broadway? While few can anticipate such epic curveballs, we at TheaterMania have some hunches about the big stories to come in the next 365 days. Here are five predictions for 2015:

1. The Tony Showdown of the Season: Finding Neverland vs. Doctor Zhivago

This awards season, the big contest will be between mega-musicals Finding Neverland and Doctor Zhivago.

2. Hell Freezes Over: Rock of Ages Transfers off-Broadway

3. Hamilton Mints a Fresh New Pulitzer Prize
Lin-Manuel Miranda in rehearsal with the cast of Hamilton, his new musical set to play the Public Theater starting January 20.

4. Tony's Perennial Silver Medalist, Kelli O'Hara, Finally Strikes Gold.
Kelli O'Hara has spent the better part of the last decade racking up Tony nominations, but for some reason, she hasn't been able to seal the deal. We predict the Sweet Smell of Success will finally waft her way.

5. Last Night We Dreamt We Went to Manderley Again: Rebecca Returns
Rebecca the Musical has had a tough three years since it first announced plans to open at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre in early 2012. But even though the production still hasn't made its debut on the Great White Way, this musical (like its nameless heroine) has proved that it has an indomitable spirit. Despite four postponements resulting from lack of funding — and one bizarre case of an investor first thought to have died and then found to have never existed — Rebecca just won't say uncle. That's why we're putting our (theoretical) money behind this scrappy underdog and predicting that Rebecca the Musical will finally make its name on Broadway in 2015.