Archive for December, 2010

Roger Ebert: Penrod Fan

“A great American comedy based on the jaundiced view of human nature by its hero, Penrod Schofield. Penrod is in rebellion against teachers and adults in general, frank about his value judgments. His narrative voice is as distinctive as Huckleberry Finn’s, and like Huck he says more than he realizes. If you read six pages you’ll keep going. Penrod won’t grow up to be a wimp like Holden Caulfield.”

Collecting Tarkington

“Booth Tarkington as collectible author is an enigma, wrapped in a contradiction, and drizzled with irony. Ask any book collector or dealer who have been around for a long time and they’ll probably shrug — who cares about Booth Tarkington?” One of my collections was Ennio Morricone soundtracks on LP… and there are hundreds, many of them very, very expensive. I was soon acquiring more LPs than I actually had time to listen to, and I was going broke! Collecting Tarkington was a good alternative. He’s dead, so the list isn’t open-ended… and he only wrote a few dozen books.

Tarkington, Terrorism, and Broadway

1920. September 9: Tarkington’s play Poldekin, a polemic tragicomedy-satire about a Bolshevik who is sent to America to foment revolution but instead learns to love democracy, opens at the Park Theatre on Broadway. September 16: a blast rips the corner outside the J.P. Morgan bank on Wall Street. 38 people die, with another 143 wounded.

YouTube Trailer for Staged Beasley

“Beasley’s Christmas Party adapted by C.W. Munger from the story by Booth Tarkington running November 26 - December 19, 2010 at Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Directed by Carl Forsman featuring Joey Collins, Crystal Finn and Tony Ward. Scenery designed by Beowulf Boritt, costumes designed by Theresa Squire, lighting designed by Josh Bradford, sound designed by Will Pickens and stage managed by Emily F. McMullen.” This is the last time this year I’ll post about this production. I swear it!

Beasley “is a heart-warmer”

“In keeping with its horse-and-buggy setting,” says critic Don Aucoin, “‘Party,’’ now receiving its New England premiere at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, is an old-fashioned work whose appeal depends on your willingness to have your heartstrings tugged by a story of simple human kindness.” Okay, I’m willing. Aucoin almost makes that sound like a bad thing… but then they’ve been saying that kind of thing about Tarkington for years.