Monday, January 31, 2011

Blogging Again: Once More, With Feeling

After a rather long break, I am resuming the Musicals101 blog. The reason for the time off was simple, if not downright clich├ęd: yours truly spent the last two years going through his midlife crisis. Dumped by my longtime companion of 20-plus years, and beset by a resulting swarm of financial and emotional challenges, I found it impossible to create new posts. (To those who wrote in, my sincere thanks for your kind concern – it was reassuring to know so many people cared.) It was all I could do to maintain and continue a reduced lecture schedule. Lecturing is one of the sustaining joys of my life, and the talks I gave over these past two years were a constant source of motivation and emotional renewal.

As 2011 dawns, I am happy to report that life is much brighter. On a personal note, I now am in a new and very rewarding relationship. Professionally, I am getting busier. Along with the course I teach at NYU’s Steinhardt School each spring, I am now offering a year-long course at the Brind School, part of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I am also offering several talks for members of the National Council of Jewish Women NY Section, and a course on “Musicals as History” for the Five Towns Senior Center’s adult education program in Hewlett, NY. And I continue a longstanding series of afternoon talks for the Golden Age Club at the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills.

Along with these, I am continuing my multi-media “Theatre Chat” series at New York’s Sutton Place Synagogue on Sunday, Feb. 27th with a 1:30 PM talk entitled “Screen to Stage: When Films Become Broadway Musicals.” There was a time when critics and ticket buyers were hostile to movies adapted for the stage . . . now it is rare to find a new musical that is not based on a hit film. What changed, and why? With Sister Act, Catch Me If You Can and Priscilla Queen of the Desert coming to Broadway, this is certainly a timely topic, and you can count on me to pull no punches in discussing the best and worst musicals to come from this ongoing trend. (Admission for the general public is $10; for reservations or further information, call 212-593-3300).

Speaking of “pulling no punches,” you can expect the same from me in this blog. My goal is to post new articles here on a weekly basis, offering my take on events in musical theatre and other topics of interest. So please stop by regularly, and I’ll do my best to make it worth the effort. You may not always agree with what I have to say, but odds are you won’t be bored. I’m ready to make new friends, and even to risk making some new enemies . . . and that’s as good a definition of “being alive” as any I can think of.

Now what’s this I hear about Beyonce doing a remake of A Star is Born? Won’t it be fun to stick with Garland's glorious version on DVD and stay away from this new cinematic abortion . . .

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