Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I saw a staged reading tonight of a musical called "The Times," written by Frasier writer/executive producer Joe Keenan (book and lyrics) and Brad Ross (music).

It was terrific.

I decided to go see it because I'd heard the soundtrack from one of Ross's other musicals, "Little by Little," and liked it a lot. So when I came across an article about this one, I was psyched to go. I'm glad I did.

Basically, it's the story of a dissolving marriage. The wife is an actress who gives it up and becomes an advertising exec. The husband is a writer who can't get anything published. He resents her for giving up the dream; she resents him for not giving it up. He turns bitter, she turns selfish, they fall out of love.

There's a background concept involving stories from the New York Times and how their lives interact with the media, but that's just color and the real core of the story is the relationship.

And it's all done so well.

The lyrics are really clever and well-crafted. They fit the music, nothing feels forced or contrived, the rhymes are basically flawless. The music is melodic, catchy, and almost every song has a hook. The songs stand alone but fit together. You end up feeling for the characters. Or at least I did. I could identify with them. I thought the ending was a little too easy, but that's barely a quibble. This was a terrific show. I didn't miss the costumes and lights and set at all, and hardly noticed the scripts the actors were holding. The singing was great. This was a really talented cast.

There's no reason why this shouldn't be given a real production, off-Broadway somewhere. It's good enough that I'd be tempted to see it again if it wasn't just running this weekend. It reminded me what good musical theater can be. It won't change your life, but it's not trying to. It's just a terrific, expertly-crafted, entertaining and thoughtful musical.

It finishes its weekend run on Saturday and Sunday. If you're looking for something to do, I can't recommend it more highly.