Frank Rich, of course, was the famous "Butcher of Broadway", who
could close a show with a single review.
But his successor, Ben Brantley, has his moments as well. Remember The
Capeman, the $11 million flop from Paul Simon? Brantley tore
it apart: "it may be unparalleled in its wholesale squandering of illustrious
But Brantley outdoes
himself today, with his review of Lord of the Rings, the musical.
It opened in Toronto, so maybe Ed Mirvish was hoping Brantley wouldn’t hop on
a plane to review it – but $25 million musicals are rare enough beasts
that he obviously had to go.
Brantley clearly had much more fun writing this review than he did eviscerating
The Capeman. He even starts to channel his inner Anthony Lane at points:
You may be interested to know that, according to a news release, the dress
worn by the beauteous Galadriel (Rebecca Jackson Mendoza, who sings of Elvish
good will in the style of Celine Dion) has more than 1,800 hand-sewn beads.
(The release does not stipulate whether nuns were the seamstresses or if they
lost their vision to the work.)
And this from a man who liked the film version! I fear to think what
he would have written were he to have hated