Bob Dylan Musical Tangled Up in Bad Reviews
Mon, 30 Oct 2006 08:52:41
New York theatre critics are pounding The Times They Are A-Changin', a new Broadway musical based around famed choreographer Twyla Tharp's re-interpretation of Bob Dylan's song catalog. Tharp previously worked her dance magic on the Billy Joel songbook, turning it into the Tony-winning Movin' Out, which was a mainstay on the Great White Way for three years.
"How bad could it be?" asked the Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout. "Now I know: The Times They Are A-Changin' is so bad that it makes you forget how good the songs are."
From the lyrics of some of Dylan's best-known songs, Tharp molded a performance piece about a struggling circus. The result is a "heart-rending episode," according to Ben Brantley of the New York Times, who called Tharp a genius, but said she "goes down in flames."
The New Yorker's Joan Acocella took umbrage with Tharp's "silly plot" and cartoonish characters, and went on to wonder whether the Dylan-Tharp partnership was doomed from conception. "Her idea of teen rebellion is hot rods and hormones, jitterbug and juvie, the world of 'Rock Around the Clock,'" Acocella wrote. "Dylan belongs to the real sixties, to sit-ins and drugs and apocalypticism."
Dylan, however, remains a champion of his interpreter. He had initially approached Tharp about doing the show, and he stands by his decision.
"I have no talent for flattery whatsoever," he said. "But Twyla Tharp's artistry knocks me out. Her production…is the best presentation of my songs I have ever seen or heard on any stage."
--The ARTISTdirect Staff