Monday, April 06, 2009


I drove into work this morning with the piercing "severe weather" alarms sounding on WCVE, forecasts indicating the potential for tornadoes in Virginia. As ominous as they were, the noisy signals resonated with a weekend that was a true whirlwind of activity. Two big shows closed (Mindgame and Mona’s Arrangements), two big ones opened (Normal and SCM’s Altar Boyz), and Theatre IV’s Fairy Tale Ball brought the buzz downtown.

Even more ominous and disorienting for me was the story from Style that the job-cutting hatchet was going to sweep another wide swath of people from the staff of the T-D. As I perused the comments about the story, I was driven to both amusement and melancholy by the reader who said, “My thoughts go out to everyone at the TD who got laid-off (even Dan Neman...).” I’ve given Mr. Neman a hard time in this space but when it comes down to it, I respected his somewhat thankless role and his attempts to keep reviews of the 57th or so lame horror movie he’s seen this year fresh. Whether he is really gone from the T-D or not (I’m not convinced he is), no self-respecting journalist likes to see another journalist kicked to the curb.

Speaking of reviews, Ms. Lewis’s rave on “Altar Boyz” make it into print today. While we wait for her take on “Normal,” there is the fine feature story that Ms. Wren had on the production in Sunday’s paper.

Another disorienting event was the announcement that Jam Theatricals is bringing a new series of touring shows through Richmond in the coming year. The two big musicals they’re bringing are among my favorites and the exceptionally long run of Wicked marks a surprising hopefulness on the part of Jam as far as the Richmond market goes. I hope their hopes pan out with good results because I’d love to see more big shows coming through town. Well, truthfully, I’d love to see two big GOOD shows come through a year, enough to bolster people’s interest in theater without overrunning the market.

As I compiled my review of “Normal” last night, I realized that, more so than any other show I've seen this year, the word count I had at my disposal was criminally limited. “Normal” is a challenging show and is hard to sum up in three paragraphs. So, barring inconvenient interruptions from life, work, school, etc., I’ll be looking to blog about it further in the days to come. Stay tuned…


Susie said...

Dan is indeed gone. One might not have agreed with his reviews, but he is a really fine and funny writer and a serious film connoisseur. And he'd been working hard, doing cookbook and restaurant reviews and what have you. Many fine, hardworking people lost their jobs at the T-D last week, and I feel for them.

Dave T said...

Wow. I still find it hard to believe. I have been told by at least two people who have worked with Mr. Neman via James River Writers that he is a fine person, generous with his time, articulate and committed to his work. I was never a fan of his reviews but I find myself sorry to see him go. At least he was here in Richmond. Why should I care what Roger Moore or some other Knight-Ridder or AP reviewer has to say about something? I can get to the reviewers I respect at EW or the New Yorker or the NYTimes just as easily. It's just one more reason NOT to get the paper. It's very sad.