Weill let Anderson get away with one unwise maneuver: This New Amsterdam's stuffy burghers speak, and sing, in the "Dutch comedy" accents of 1890s vaudeville, still audible on 1930s radio shows. Trust me, a little of Anderson's "Ve vouldn't goink to do it" goes a long vey. But this is a small flaw. Martin Vidnovic, carrying off Stuyvesant's role with immense panache at the York concert, demonstrated that, with careful handling, even the script's double-Dutch can be made playable. And when Weill's extended numbers are in full swing, the piece works as if fulfilling his dream: Teasingly foolish, it allows you a temporary laughing-gas escape from the woes of our world without ever letting you lose sight of them for one minute. A recording of the York performance is rumored; I'm ready to hear it again.

Don't tell Americans what to do: Maxwell Anderson
Eileen Darby
Don't tell Americans what to do: Maxwell Anderson

Details

Knickerbocker Holiday
By Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson
York Theatre (Closed)

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