Thursday, May 19 –
Romare Bearden! The exhibit at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery (24 W.57), showing 22 of his insightful collages, runs only through this Saturday, so you’re probably out of luck, but you can see all 22 images on the website. For me, seeing it in the flesh was pure serendipity, or rather, Mary’s good planning (I plan the plays, she plans everything else).
Of course Bearden is especially interesting to me because he was an inspiration to August Wilson, who said that “Joe Turner” and “Piano Lesson” began as responses to specific Bearden works. What I would give to own one! – but not as much as it would take. Even if you took off the final zero from the prices, they’d be far beyond our range unless we mortgaged our house. But we can look. And there are books. And in Pittsburgh, there’s the huge mural at the downtown subway stop, once it reopens.
Then off to the Met for “A Room with a View,” the exhibit of early 19th century paintings that feature a window, creating drama with the contrast between what you see outside and in. It is striking but not surprising how many of the artists were also designers for the stage.
And then, finally, “Spider-Man Turn off the Dark.” You know what? It’s not bad! All the prognostications of catastrophe (artistic, I mean) have been exaggerated. Replacement “creative consultant” Philip Wm. McKinley has apparently slimmed down original director Julie Taymor’s gargantuan production, and after a rather tepid Act 1 it turns legitimately exciting in Act 2.
That’s partly because of the ebullient wit of the villain, the Green Goblin, and absolutely because of the astonishing stage designs (love that Chrysler Building!), which are pretty strong in Act 1, as well. My severest criticism goes to the score, which most of the time sounds mainly like noise, but you can partly chalk that up to my age. Over-all, this is one I’m looking forward to review.
When will that be? "Spidey" No. 2 is still in previews, not opening until June. But that hasn't stopped others, including our Sharon Eberson, who wrote about No. 1, so I'll probably have something to say in a week or so. Most important, if our Post-Gazette theater tour group is representative of the marketplace, I’d say “Spidey” has a future.
Tomorrow: If you think “Spider-Man” is astonishing, wait till you see “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”
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