Richard Puts the Moves on Martha Graham, Who Emerges Unattainable


Since 1996 the actor Richard Move has been impersonating Martha Graham, putting on cabaret-style shows in atmospheric venues, his seductive, bitchy monologues alternating with capsule versions of the lady’s great works. A man of parts, he has choreographed these himself and stars in them (fabulous slow back fall!), supported by a bevy of authentic Graham crackers, some moonlighting from MGDC itself. Added piquancy comes from guests such as the recent one-night-stand’s Isaac Mizrahi (funny and oh-so-well and cheekily dressed). In dance genius and diva chutzpah, Graham was indeed a phenomenon ripe for travesty. But her real-life act contained so much unintentional self-parody (of her works as well as her persona) that Move, though he’s escalated to making a movie, Ghostlight, about his obsession, can’t hope to compete. While he’s observed his source with care and love, his response lacks variety and edge—to say nothing of wit and brevity.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 13, 2004

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