All stories by John Simon on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Who Killed Poetry? by John Simon

I write as an occasional verse writer and constant poetry lover. Also one-time teacher of poetry in a writing course. Further, poetry reciter of great distinction according to my wife, thoug…

Linked From John Simon at 02:48PM
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Heroism by John Simon

In Brecht’s “Galileo” we read, “Unhappy the land that has no heroes . . . No.  Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.” An amusing paradox, but coming from Brecht, a cowar…

Linked From John Simon at 01:42AM
Friday, August 11, 2017

Retorts by John Simon

One of the glories of language is the witty rejoinder, riposte or retort. It is the answer in a quick, witty or caustic response (The Heritage Dictionary) to someone’s comment or verbal as…

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Names, Titles and Some Usage Notes by John Simon

It is perhaps unsurprising that there should be fashions in first names, perhaps influenced by movie stars or more arcane sources. What is certain is that the fashion for Ryan is besieging u…

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

THROWAWAY TONYS by John Simon

Some Tonys are sound and meritorious, such as the 2017 ones for Kevin Kline Rachel Bay Jones, “Jitney,” Nigel Hook (set designer for “The Play That Goes Wrong”), Santo Loquasto, Gavi…

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

SEXUAL ATTRACTION by John Simon

Is there anything more elusive than what constitutes sexual attraction? It comes in a great variety of types, sometimes simple, sometimes complex, and not infrequently indeterminable, undefi…

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Canadians and Others by John Simon

I have nothing against Canadians save that their export in shows is always questionable, whether it is “To Grandmother’s House We Go,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” or now “Come From A…

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Marriage, Good, Bad and Indifferent by John Simon

Marriage, what a glorious and godawful, tremendous and terrible thing it is! Of all inventions one of the few rightfully enduring ones, but surely an invention. Not something born into one a…

Linked From John Simon at 08:54PM
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

STYLE by John Simon

In his “Books for Living,” Will Schwalbe refers to a friend as having an enjoyable style in his writing. He does not elaborate on what made it enjoyable. But whatever it was, it had to b…

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Barbara Hugo by John Simon

Her name was Barbara Hugo, and she was beautiful, and perhaps a touch otherworldly in her delicate loveliness. But let me make clear, she was no fragile, pretty-pretty China doll. Perhaps mo…

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Contra Trump by John Simon

One morning, Lord Byron woke up and found himself famous. One more recent morning, we awoke and found ourselves infamous: Donald J. Trump had been elected President. Only an atom bomb would …

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Monday, February 6, 2017

FASHION by John Simon

What a bizarre, paradoxical, self-contradictory and ephemeral thing is fashion! On the one hand, it challenges haute couture to come up with ever more unique, far out, incomparable women’s…

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

TEACHERS by John Simon

My fans sometimes ask me whether I have learned from other writers, and if so, what and from whom. This does not elicit easy answers for more reasons than one. The first probable influence i…

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bittersweet by John Simon

“Sweet Charity” is as good a musical as can lap at the heels of top tier, and can even, in the right production, make it there. It does, after all, have a book by Neil Simon, music by Cy…

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Etcetera by John Simon

So now we have “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1912,” transferred after a hiatus to Broadway and ensconced at the Imperial Theater, in a grandiose setting it does not really de…

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More Second Opinions by John Simon

“Dear Evan Hansen” was, in my view, an undeserved hit Off Broadway, and is so again on Broadway, once more harvesting critical raves as numerous and useless as fallen autumn leaves. In…

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Nicky Silver, Perky and Pointed by John Simon

All writers in general and playwrights in particular are uneven. Perfection is not a widely recognized human attribute. As the poet Horace cannily observed, “Sometimes even good old Homer …

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Monday, November 14, 2016

THEATRE: SECOND OPINIONS by John Simon

The Westchester Guardian is gone, and once again I have had the horse shot out from under me. True, it may not have been much of a mount—more like Don Quixote’s spavined nag Rosinante—…

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

CHARMING MISTAKES by John Simon

Some few mistakes are actually charming. A bunch of us Harvard undergraduates were fans of the delightful French soprano Lily Pons. So we sent her an ardent fan letter, naively hoping for a …

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Immortality by John Simon

Ever since the year one, and probably even before, people have speculated about death and what could be done to defeat it, as in John Donne’s famous sonnet. But live forever not in Donne…

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Noses by John Simon

Probably the most famous reference to the nose is the phrase “Cleopatra’s nose,”  derived from Pascal’s celebrated pensee, “If the nose of Cleopatra had been shorter, the whol…

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Morality by John Simon

Clearly, justice must be the same for all, but is this not true also of morality? Yet for some people, under certain circumstances, this is hardly the case. There exist certain persons by wh…

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Beginnings by John Simon

Like first impressions in life, and rather more so, first impressions, i.e., beginnings in fiction matter. They may not be quite all important, but they do invite and influence readership.Ta…

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fetish, Anyone? by John Simon

Fetishes are called kinks or perversions and refer to any deviance from the accepted “normal” sexual practice. But is there not a certain flexibility allowed for them? Homosexuality, for…

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

POLITICS by John Simon

Politics is a mug’s game, and by mug I don’t mean Donald Trump’s countenance that television would have me contemplate with scant respite. Mrs. Clinton looks more presentable, by which…

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Monday, May 16, 2016

ESSAY by John Simon

This was a brief introductory comment to a prize-giving dinner for student essayists at Hunter College.I would imagine that all of you have heard of the Pen Club, the premier international o…

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

FRANCE by John Simon

I have always been a Francophile, hugely fond of France. There has been only one thing that I didn’t like about it: the French. To be exact, not all the French, only the petit bourgeois va…

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rhyme by John Simon

What does the expression “without rhyme or reason” tell us about rhyme? It seems to me to mean that, along with reason, it is one of two valid alternative modes of expression, at least i…

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mistakes, Minor and Major by John Simon

Let me start with a postscript to a previous blog entry about obesity. There is a plea on ABC television for locating missing children, which provides a picture and description of them, and,…

Linked From John Simon at 10:42AM
Saturday, January 23, 2016

Obesity by John Simon

Any discussion of obesity comes down to the not particularly friendly contest between thick and thin, with the body as the chief battleground. Mostly the female nude, because that has been t…

Linked From John Simon at 06:58PM
Friday, January 1, 2016

Memory by John Simon

Memory is one of our most interesting possessions; its failure, our possibly most grievous loss. What enhances its importance is its mystery, its surprises, its ultimate inscrutability.Its c…

Linked From John Simon at 04:19PM