Archive | Theater Matters

Election as Entertainment

primary colorsAs we head into the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign, election ennui has become a problem. Regardless of how you’re casting your ballot, chances are good that words like “rigged,” “pantsuit,” “orange,” and, of course, “Skittles” long ago lost their appeal. (Who knew candy could prove so controversial outside of dentistry conventions?) To take the edge off this malaise, I’ve nominated some political novels, television shows, plays, and films to put the entertainment back into the election.


“Primary Colors” (1998)
The gold standard of modern election entertainment, this thinly disguised account of Bill Clinton’s first run for U.S. President is adapted from a Joe Klein novel. Directed by Mike Nichols from a screenplay by his old comedy buddy Elaine May (swoon), in a genius bit of casting, it stars John Travolta as Governor Jack Stanton (aka Bill) and Emma Freaking Thompson as Susan Stanton (aka Hillary). Continue Reading →

Read It and Weep: ‘Hamilton’

golden ticketLast night I saw Hamilton, which has been my biggest dream for more than a year. Every day I have participated in the Hamilton lottery, and every day I have lost to people I always imagine participated on a whim and felt ambivalent about winning. Every day I have struggled womanfully to not grow bitter about this fact, and every day I have failed. During this time, friends sometimes have stumbled onto tickets and returned from what was obviously the best live theatrical experience of their life, saying things like “Gee, I wasn’t even that interested in going but it was amazing!” Continue Reading →

Venus Approaches


July approaches, and peonies still preside on my bedside table though their season used to end in May. I chalk it up to the unseasonably mild weather, and complain not.

The baby doves on my fire escape are not babies anymore but also are still hanging out, peep-peep-peeping while their mother fusses over them like all the other Brooklyn mommies. Every morning as I drink my coffee I watch her nag them into flying a little further while their father observes from on high. Grace watches too, ears flattened, a burr forming low in her throat. Twice I’ve had to snatch her mid-air lest she hurl at them through the screen window; she seems to have located her predatory instincts quite nicely, thank you very much. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy