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Caroline, or Change (Original Broadway Cast)
Caroline, or Change (Original Broadway Cast)
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 42.82
6 used & new from CDN$ 41.80

5.0 out of 5 stars rebirth, July 15 2004
Quite simply, the first evidence in years that American musical theater is not a dead, decadent, utterly backward-looking art form. Kushner's talent as a lyricist matches his extraordinary skill as a playwright, and Tesori's music is remarkable (particularly surprising after her generally colorless contributions to Thoroughly Modern Millie, speaking of decadent and backward-looking). Beautifully performed too, by the way, happily preserving a performance in its lead role that, years from now, people will rightly refer to as legendary.

Price: CDN$ 20.22
13 used & new from CDN$ 12.90

2.0 out of 5 stars As a lyricist . . ., May 28 2004
This review is from: Nightingale (Audio CD)
. . . Charles Strouse is a pretty good composer. And as a composer of pseudo panto opera, he reminds one that natural melodists often turn dull when they aim to be highfalutin, if that's indeed what he's trying to do here. Jokey in an excessively juvenile fashion, reasonably well performed (Sarah Brightman's charm continues to escape me), and, well, dull, Nightingale might be picked up by inveterate Strouse fans, but I can't imagine where the interest lies otherwise.
For excellent obscure Strouse, seek out I and Albert.

I and Albert
I and Albert
Price: CDN$ 23.48
10 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars buried treasure, May 21 2004
This review is from: I and Albert (Audio CD)
Who would have imagined that the score to a London flop written by, of all people, Strouse and Adams could provide so much pleasure? I can't say enough good things about this flavorsome, witty, unusual, imaginative score, nor about the lovely performances of the Victoria and the Albert, nor about the sly, occasionally rollicking, and always appropriate orchestration. My only quibble is that the recording (or is it the score?) isn't any longer. Surely Victoria's long life might have kicked off a few more songs.
But musical theater fans desperate to hear something wonderful they've never heard before should pounce on this one.

Goat: A Memoir
Goat: A Memoir
by Brad Land
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.96
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars unputdownable, March 16 2004
This review is from: Goat: A Memoir (Hardcover)
One of those rare, wonderful books that, once begun, must be read swiftly through to the end, to be absorbed all of a piece. Land's an astonishingly mature and assured writer for one so young, and his spare, idiosyncratic style truly seems appropriate and deft, not just the affectation of someone trying to seem writerly.
The other reviews here have well covered the story, and there's no point in further dignifying the accusations from the nose-out-of-joint frat boys and former frat boys who don't like their dirty jockstraps aired in public, so I'll just say that you don't have to be a frat boy, or a former frat boy, or even a boy, to find much to ponder, and be terrified by, in Goat.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel
by Michael Chabon
Edition: Paperback
140 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better than this, Jan. 30 2004
Epic, gorgeously written, rapturously in love with language (without being in love with the sound of its own voice), and an astonishingly insightful look at the pop culture and popular mind-set of mid-20th-century America. I wouldn't shorten it by a single syllable. This is indeed a (if not the) Great American Novel.

Bombay Dreams
Bombay Dreams
Price: CDN$ 9.39
19 used & new from CDN$ 5.64

3.0 out of 5 stars well worth it for the stunning Rahman music, Jan. 30 2004
This review is from: Bombay Dreams (Audio CD)
Though the lyrics are perfectly rotten, most of the time. I can't remember a worse mismatch of great tunes to misbegotten words since Side Show.
It'll be interesting to see what happens when the show gets to Broadway, presumably (one desperately hopes) with an utterly rewritten book, since the London book is a jokey train wreck when it's not being dippily overearnest.

Laurel & Hardy:March of the Wo
Laurel & Hardy:March of the Wo
DVD ~ Stan Laurel
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 95.50
7 used & new from CDN$ 38.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Passport's March of the Wooden Soldiers, Jan. 12 2004
I was dubious, and very afraid of a substandard print, but in that the only other versions I'd seen were, inexcusably, colorized, I figured I'd take a chance, given the low cost.
What a relief!
It's a first-rate print--not crystal clear, but probably as good as this movie's looked in years, and for all I know it never looked any better. There's a more intact version of the opening "Toyland" song than I recall from most TV screenings, and the five or so minutes that commence with "Go to Sleep, Slumber Deep" are (I was holding my breath) restored--most TV screenings lately cut them.
I don't suppose the movie's to everyone's taste--it's extraordinarily fey, and creaks with antiquity that must have seemed quaint even when it was new (it's as if the makers were serving Herbert's turn-of-the-century audiences rather than their own), but for those of us who were raised on it, it's glorious.

Mr. Timothy
Mr. Timothy
by Louis Bayard
Edition: Hardcover
38 used & new from CDN$ 1.00

3.0 out of 5 stars good start, then......, Jan. 8 2004
This review is from: Mr. Timothy (Hardcover)
One might have wished that the author had used his Christmas Carol background as more than a stepping-off point for a mystery thriller that is occasionally Dickensian in subject matter but scarcely Dickensian in flavor or panache. Somehow I felt I'd been tricked, or that Tim and Uncle Scrooge had somehow been taken advantage of by a well-intentioned author who simply lacked, well, the inspiration of his inspiration. And mysteries that must, toward their conclusions, laboriously explain themselves are not high on my list of pleasures.
I didn't have a bad time by any stretch of the imagination, but I am, in the end, disappointed.

The South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet
by Arthur Agatston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.31
201 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars diet: yay! book: hmm......., Dec 9 2003
This review is from: The South Beach Diet (Hardcover)
It's a truly effective diet, though any remarkably controlled eating program is going to work, if you actually follow it. (Is it any improvement over the Scarsdale Diet I followed decades ago, last time my weight got out of control? Not really. And am I never again going to crave--or eat--the bad carbs he proscribes for life? Heck, no. But be that as it may.)
As a book, however, it leaves a lot to be desired. One needs to be very clever to figure out how to plug all the holes left behind in the editorial process, to say nothing of figuring one's way through the multiple contradictions. Some foods are peculiarly unmentioned, or mentioned, at best, in passing. (Onions, anyone?) And the fact that the book is virtually silent on the subject of exercise is a disgrace.

Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies
Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies
by Ted Chapin
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 18.67

3.0 out of 5 stars "I'm just a Broadway . . . neophyte", Nov. 10 2003
Chapin's not much of a writer, but his backstage observations are caviar to the Follies aficionado. The flaw of the book is precisely what Chapin says it will be at the outset: he's presenting only what he saw and heard, and did not--not, that is, until the "call in the critics" finale of the text--attempt a broader perspective in any fashion, including by truly investigating, then or now, what was going on in rooms he wasn't in. The book might have benefited from a stronger editorial hand as well--it's irritatingly repetitive, always introducing information to the reader as if it hasn't been introduced already--but somehow it's eminently readable (I think the "eminently" applies only to those who come to the book with their fascination already built in).

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