t was an historic day on both sides of the Pond — the 10th anniversary of the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the river, saving all 155 aboard, and the day the old Tappan Zee Bridge deliberately went down, taking with it coincidentally Theresa May’s Brexit deal dream as the House of Commons voted by a more than 2 to 1 margin to reject her plan for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.Read More
Patricia Mazzei’s recent New York TImes story on Florida Panhandlers doubly victimized by Hurricane Michael and the government shutdown ended with a quote that left many readers cold — and coldly infuriated. Crystal Minton, a federal prison secretary, is already challenged by being the single mother of 7-year-old twins and the caretaker for disabled parents. She’s facing a complicated work schedule in February but don’t cry for her, Argentina.Read More
“The Favourite” — a diabolically dotty Oscar contender about a diva of sorts supplanted by a younger rival — owes something to the 1950 Oscar winner “All About Eve.” Call it “All About Eve” for the PBS' “Masterpiece” set. Like “Eve’ it offers the reminder that life, the ultimate power player, often dictates that winners might actually be losers and losers, winners.Read More
“Miss Saigon” — which I saw over the Christmas break at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. — owes its narrative to Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” which tells the story of a innocent geisha’s fatal love for an American naval lieutenant in 1904 Nagasaki. In updating the tale to the waning days of the Vietnam War (1975), “Saigon” improves on the story by making the American serviceman — here Marine Sgt. Chris Scott — and his eventual American wife, Ellen, much more sympathetic figures, trapped by circumstances of war rather than being blinded by white privilege.
Having said this, I must add that “Saigon” is no Puccini opera. It’s melodic enough without being memorable in the vein of other one-note Cameron Mackintosh musicals like “Les Miserables,” forcing the singers to belt when they might be better off lilting, particularly in the screeching upper register. Like “Butterfly,” however, “Miss Saigon” remains a potent metaphor for an America that, despite its best intentions is thoughtless, even callous, in its treatment of foreigners, particularly those of color.Read More