Ted Writes a Letter to God

September 18, 2011

Dear God,

I need a favor – again. This time it’s not for me; it’s for someone named John Doyle. Please, please inspire him to do something with his life that does not include directing musicals. He’s the director of McCarter Theatre’s season opener, Ten Cents a Dance. I’ve seen three other musicals he directed, and all of them have left me feeling disappointed . No, that word isn’t strong enough. Let’s try outraged.

I know that you’ve already blessed him with supreme self-confidence and a monumental ego. He’d need those to put himself and his concepts ahead of the obvious and established talents of Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, and now Rodgers and Hart.

I wonder if he’s ever really listened to the wondrous creations that Rodgers and Hart offered us, sometimes as long ago as eight decades. So many of those lovely ballads, like the title song, look into the human heart and see regret, resignation, hope and joy in the most simple and direct ways imaginable. Those songs have stood the test of time and, hopefully, will survive the disrespect and trivialization his concept and this show have subjected them to. He squandered or misused the talents of six fine performers who wandered the stage aimlessly, rushing about to pick up and discard various musical instruments to no purpose I could fathom.

I know that some people see novelty as automatically better than tradition. I sometimes do, and I have the feeling that You do as well.  Mr. Doyle has awards and a sheaf of good reviews, so it must be a matter of taste. You could give him some of that too as long as it’s closer to mine. Or Sondheim’s. Or Herman’s.  Or, especially and regretfully, Rodgers and Hart’s.

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