Twice a month, critics Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal; Elisabeth Vincentelli, contributor to The New York Times, The Village Voice, and The New Yorker; and Peter Marks of the Washington Post get together for a podcast conversation on major and minorr issues brewing in the nation’s theatres.
This week starts with the subject of whether some shows are too hopelessly dated to be brought back. What prompted this? The Broadway revival of Children of a Lesser God, which they agree is not very good, as director Kenny Leon seemed unsure of how to handle Mark Medoff’s now-period piece about the conflict between the Deaf and hearing communities. Ironically, they point out that Angels in America, which ostensibly treats more topical issues, actually fares better as a timeless work.
Next is a (too-brief) overview of their picks for summer events all around the country. Terry chooses American Players Theatre in Wisconsin for its exquisite setting and on-point curating; opts for the new Amanda Peet play Our Very Own Carlin McCullough at the Geffen Playhouse and anything at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Elisabeth names the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, W.V., which she feels is turning into a new Humana, and the venerable but still vibrant Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts.
Then the critics host their first ever mailbag segment! Elisabeth goes through recent questions from listeners, prompting brief exchanges about everything from the difference between being a critic and being a playwright (that one lobbed at Terry, of course) to the importance of “small” theatre companies in helping audiences discover new work. Keep the letters coming!
To wrap things up, the critics gush about recent shows they enjoyed: Vincentelli for the Broadway revivals of Carousel and My Fair Lady, Marks for Underground Railroad Game at Woolly Mammoth in D.C., and Teachout for a revival of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer at Off-Broadway’s Irish Rep.