The Times They Are A-Changin' Review Roundup
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The Times They Are A-Changin' opened on Broadway last night, the new musical collaboration between Twyla Tharp and Bob Dylan. So what did critics think of that collaboration?
For the Associated Press, Michael Kuchwara writes that "What is one to make of "The Times They Are A-Changin'," the murky
musical misfire that combines the considerable talents of
director-choreographer Twyla Tharp and pop superstar Bob Dylan. It is hard to tell what Tharp, who conceived the show, had in mind,
judging from the confusing, surreal production on stage at Broadway's
Brooks Atkinson Theatre."
Ben Brantley in the New York Times writes that "Ms. Tharp found unexpected depths in Mr. Joel’s music. Using a whole lot more scenery, props and special effects to create a circus-themed allegory of fathers and sons, Ms. Tharp single-handedly drags Mr. Dylan into the shallows." He sums up noting that "if the choreography at times defies gravity, the show itself may be the most earthbound work Ms. Tharp has produced. Even as the dancers seem to fly, Mr. Dylan’s lyrics are hammered, one by one, into the ground."
For Variety, David Rooney writes that "Choreographer Twyla Tharp has frequently and successfully looked to unorthodox musical inspirations to create her distinctive dance pieces, among them the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, David Byrne and, notably, Billy Joel in her first foray into musical theater, "Movin' Out." While that show was a danced narrative set to music performed live by a singer and band separated from the action, Tharp attempts to expand her range by integrating song and movement to the music of Bob Dylan in "The Times They Are A-Changin'." But the mercurial dance innovator slips up badly in a plodding, literal-minded fable that's vibrant and busy but also chaotic and narratively incoherent."
For Reuters and the Hollywood Reporter, Frank Scheck writes that " "The Times They Are A-Changin," her follow-up effort
featuring the oeuvre of the commercially resurgent Bob Dylan,
is a far less accessible work that never coalesces into the
fantastical theatrical experience she had intended."
Elysa Gardner for USA Today writes that "Part of what makes Dylan's songs so compelling and enduring is that their appeal transcends his personal style, and those of his more famous folk and rock interpreters. His melodies and lyrics, as much as Stephen Sondheim's or Rodgers and Hart's, are as open to different artistic approaches as they are universally moving. So it shouldn't surprise that Times, which opened Thursday at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, is, if uneven, more imaginative and intriguing than Tharp's last Broadway outing, the Billy Joel showcase Movin' Out. "
Linda Winer, for NY Newsday writes that "Tharp, a task-oriented perfectionist, has dreamed up extreme circus
tricks, then transforms them from tricks to art. Even when she loses
her way - which she definitely does - her failures are more interesting
than most of theme-park Broadway."
Joe Dziemianowicz for the NY Daily News opines "Now she takes on Bob Dylan in "The Times They Are A-Changin,'" which
she conceived, choreographed and directs. Tharp ups the ante in light
of Dylan's stature (an icon to all and "God" to many) and the
nontheatricality of his music. A long shot. Unfortunately, Tharp sabotages herself this time. She makes dance
secondary and concentrates on the music. The result is a standard-issue
jukebox show (he sings; she sings; they sing; repeat) set in a shabby
circus dreamworld (who knows why?). Tharp's clown car runs out of gas
an hour into the show's 90-minute length, which is strange, since Dylan
is such a provocative and infinitely soulful songwriter."
Clive Barnes for the NY Post gives the show 2.5 out of 4 stars and writes that "WILL Twyla Tharp do for Bob Dylan what she did for Billy Joel - make
him a Broadway star? Can lightning strike the same place twice? In this case, well, no.The director/choreographer's "The Times They Are A-Changin' "
was unveiled last night, and at best I would call it a brave, if
Overall, even though The Times Are A-Changin', they're not doing so with the best of reviews. That said, the show's been selling in the upper 80s percentage wise, so this one will rest on Dylan's fans and the audience response...
Posted on October 27, 2006 - by
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About the Author:Robert Diamond founded BroadwayWorld.com in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 30 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more.
The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine.
Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.)
As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the BroadwayWorld.com 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need.
Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week.
Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on BroadwayWorld.com and he also writes weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog.
In December of last year, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.