Saturday, January 22, 2005


Harvey Fierstein is the new Tevya on Broadway.

FIRST JEW REVIEW: According to The Times:
Tevye must to some degree be an everyman, albeit in exaggerated, crowd-pleasing form. And Mr. Fierstein, bless him, shakes off any semblance of ordinariness as soon as he opens his mouth. Every phrase he speaks or sings, as he shifts uncannily among registers, becomes an event... This can be quite a bit of fun. Tevye's first solo, "If I Were a Rich Man," takes on a fascinating new life, as Mr. Fierstein slides and rasps through its wordless connecting phrases. But it is sometimes hard to credit this exotic spirit as that of a tradition-bound father who has trouble making the adjustment to changing times.
SECOND JEW REVIEW: Al Pacino Stars as Shylock in a new film of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.(trailer) Said the inestimable Stanley Kauffman in The New Republic
With Pacino's past in mind, we might have expected that he would make the sulphurous most of the role's raging moments. (I remember George C. Scott in the my-ducats-and-my-daughter speech: I thought he had literally gone crazy.) Pacino, presumably with Radford's guidance, in the main does otherwise. Excellently made up and costumed, he takes the part inward and makes it tight, bitten, soul-scarred--a man rather than a collection of scenes.
The last word, however, goes to Harold Bloom, eminent Shakespearean, who said: "One would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to recognize that Shakespeare's grand, equivocal comedy The Merchant of Venice is nevertheless a profoundly anti-Semitic work"