Rosanne Cash, Composed (Viking, $26.95). This is a remarkable piece of work, a making-of-an-artist memoir by a musician who is equally adept at writing prose. Composed is–all at once–funny and poetic and down to earth, and Cash also has a great many exceedingly shrewd things to say about the music business and its discontents. Don’t go looking for gossip, but if you want to learn about the inner and outer lives of one of our very best singer-songwriters, you won’t be even slightly disappointed (TT).
Archives for August 19, 2010
Presenting Sacha Guitry (Criterion Collection, four discs). Four films by the great French actor-playwright-director, none of which, so far as I know, has ever been available on home video in this country. In The Story of a Cheat, The Pearls of the Crown, Désiré, and Quadrille, Guitry transferred his stage-farce style to the screen with astonishing and near-unprecedented success. I can’t think of another playwright who took to film with such idiomatic gusto. If there’s any justice at all, this long-overdue box set will introduce Guitry to a new generation of film buffs who have no idea how much pure pleasure they’ve been missing (TT).
Richard Stark, Deadly Edge/Plunder Squad/Slayground (University of Chicago, $14 each). Three more titles in the University of Chicago Press’ ongoing uniform paperback edition of the complete novels of Richard Stark (a/k/a Donald E. Westlake). Parker, Stark’s diamond-hard anti-heroic heister-protagonist, has admitted a woman into his life but remains as tough and unrelenting as ever. The plots are more complex, the language richer, the canvas wider. Get them all (TT).
Here I go again, this time to Wisconsin by way of Chicago. I’m spending a week in Spring Green, where I’ll be seeing four of the plays currently being performed by American Players Theatre at its two-stage complex. One by Shaw, one by Somerset Maugham, one by Lillian Hellman, and one by Athol Fugard: I’d say that’s a pretty nice package, wouldn’t you?
As usual, I’ll be staying just down the road from Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s country home, and spending most of my days slaving over a hot word processor. This is no vacation, alas and thank you very much. Mrs. T has had enough travel for one summer and prefers not to this time around, but Our Girl plans to drive up from Chicago and see Major Barbara with me on Saturday afternoon, after which we’ll dine at one of my favorite restaurants. In addition, I intend to nibble on Pleasant Ridge Reserve Cheese while I’m in town.
More as it happens.
Here’s my list of recommended Broadway, off-Broadway, and out-of-town shows, updated weekly. In all cases, I gave these shows favorable reviews (if sometimes qualifiedly so) in The Wall Street Journal when they opened. For more information, click on the title.
Warning: Broadway shows marked with an asterisk were sold out, or nearly so, last week.
• La Cage aux Folles (musical, PG-13, adult subject matter, reviewed here)
• Fela! * (musical, PG-13, adult subject matter, closes Jan. 2, reviewed here)
• Million Dollar Quartet (jukebox musical, G, reviewed here)
• Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (comedy, G, suitable for bright children, original Broadway production reviewed here)
• Avenue Q (musical, R, adult subject matter and one show-stopping scene of puppet-on-puppet sex, reviewed here)
• The Fantasticks (musical, G, suitable for children capable of enjoying a love story, reviewed here)
• Our Town (drama, G, suitable for mature children, closes Sept. 12, reviewed here)
IN ASHLAND, ORE.:
• Hamlet (Shakespeare, PG-13, closes Oct. 30, reviewed here)
• Ruined (drama, PG-13/R, violence and adult subject matter, closes Oct. 31, reviewed here)
• She Loves Me (musical, G, suitable for children capable of enjoying a love story, closes Oct. 30, reviewed here)
CLOSING SOON IN LENOX, MASS.:
• Richard III (Shakespeare, PG-13, closes Sept. 5, reviewed here)
• The Taster (drama, PG-13, adult subject matter, closes Sept. 4, reviewed here)
• The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare, PG-13, closes Sept. 5, reviewed here)
“He has found his style, when he cannot do otherwise, i.e., cannot do something else.”
Paul Klee, diary entry #825 (Munich, 1908)