Thursday, March 30, 2006

Back By Popular Demand

It’s an all-to-often overlooked fact that composer Giacomo Puccini based two of his most successful operas, Madama Butterfly and La Fanciulla del West, on plays by David Belasco. Often called The Bishop of Broadway, Belasco - a playwright, stage manager, actor, producer, director and all-around impresario – was a notable force in the New York theater world around the turn and the early decades of the 20th century. And while he was a prolific (and popular) playwright in his day – notably The Girl I Left Behind Me, Hearts of Oak and Zaza – nearly all of his work is overlooked by 21st century dramaturgy.

If an artistic genius the magnitude of Puccini was able find enduring merit in the vernacular of Belasco, perhaps we all might be well served to read a play of two of his.

Can’t you just see it up in lights now?

The Guthrie Theater (or the Goodman, or the Seattle Rep, or Arena Stage, or La Jolla Playhouse, or ...)
Lord Chumley
(back by popular demand)

- P. B.

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