Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why Can’t L.A. Produce a Hit Broadway Musical?

Los Angeles Theatre Critics Toss Bouquets at Turkeys! That’s One Reason Why. You Want Others?

The New York opening this week at the Public Theatre of Henry David Hwang’s new play Yellow Face to mixed notices --- some scathing and a negative from the New York Times --- is but another example of the great divide between the critics of Los Angeles and those of New York. Yellow Face tried out last spring in L.A. at the Mark Taper Forum to generally glowing reviews, which surprised me because I saw a very flawed work in need of major rethinking and rewriting. Although Yellow Face is not a musical, it’s journey from L.A. acclaim to N.Y. disdain is typical of what happens to new musicals that are born where stars are born and fade away ingloriously under the punishing lights of Forty Second Street.

Interesting that another work by Hwang, his shamelessly self-serving rewrite and virtual obliteration of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song also traveled from Los Angeles kudos to New York bricks, where it flopped.

My essay on the subject in general -- Tinseltown to Times Square, New Musicals Face Vexing Odds -— posted elsewhere on this blog because of its length can be reached by typing “vexing odds” in the search box to your left above, and it will appear directly following this posting.

To read my own review of Yellow Face, type “Yellow Face.”

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