Theater archives

Dear Broadway Stars: I Have To Apologize To You


I’m basically bowing and scraping before your fabulous feet and saying “I’m so sorry”.

And why am I apologizing? Because I’m old!

I’ve been around.

I’ve seen revivals upon revivals upon revivals of the shows you’re currently reviving.

In fact, I even saw the originals!

So I’m always writing stuff like, “So-and-so had some very fine moments, but she couldn’t hold a candle to the role’s originator, Dorothy Loudon.”

Or, “Miss Movie Star is a natural actress and never false, but excuse me, Cherry Jones was galvanizing in the role 16 years ago, and Miss Movie Star can’t make me forget that for a moment.”

And it’s not fair to people attempting classic roles to have to be compared to those who previously shone in them!

Many years ago!

It’s not right that they should have to be held against that imbalanced measuring stick simply because people like me have roamed the earth for decades and have seen (and remember) it all.

To new theatergoers, the current batch are the best ones in the roles–in fact, they’re the only ones they’ve ever seen.

But then again…wait a second, let me think this through….it’s probably good to have a sense of history color one’s look at new things.

It’s hard to evaluate a production without noting the ways it was previously attempted while discerning what’s been jazzed up, dumbed down, or maintained.

And besides, if an actor can’t sparkle in a part that was magical when someone else did it, they should probably stick to the non classics and just do revivals of the shroud of Turin musical.

Then no one needs to worry about unfair comparisons.

Apology rescinded.