Paul Robeson

Memphis on Broadway

Memphis Shubert Theatre Million Dollar Quartet Nederlander Theatre Anyone in denial about the demise of the record business will find on Broadway these nights proof of death more conclusive than the disappearance of music stores from the malls or the elimination of DJs from radio stations. Two musicals staged this year—Memphis, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical, and Million Dollar Quartet, which is set in the same city in the same period and deals with many of the same themes—verify the extinction of the old-school music industry by showing it to exist now solely as sentimental myth.

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I wonder who is going to edit the Haggadah Shel Pesach, the text used to introduce and accompany the White House Passover meal, over which Barack Obama will preside when he returns from his trip to Afghanistan.  This, of course, was the golden opportunity to tone down the cacophony of his nasty disagreement with Bibi Netanyahu by going to Jerusalem and celebrating the seder there instead.

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Arthur Miller By Christopher Bigsby (Harvard University Press, 739 pp., $35) I. Arthur Miller could hardly have hoped for a more sympathetic biographer than Christopher Bigsby. He is the director of the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies at the University of East Anglia, and the author of a long commentary on Miller’s work and a book-length interview with the playwright.

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Like the older Republicans and Democrats, the young third party is more than mass meetings and platform speeches. It also has top strategists and potent local leaders whose differences must be reconciled off-stage:   C. B. “Beanie” Baldwin, with one important difference, stands in the same relationship to Henry Wallace as Jim Farley did to FDR at the beginning of their political alliance. The difference is important in explaining much about the Wallace campaign. Farley came to his task ripe in political experience and rather disinterested in the ideas his candidate was to stand for.

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