Positively Broadway; When Twyla Met Bob: A Fascinating Train Wreck?

By Gates, David | Newsweek, November 6, 2006 | Go to article overview

Positively Broadway; When Twyla Met Bob: A Fascinating Train Wreck?


Gates, David, Newsweek


Byline: David Gates

Many people who revere Bob Dylan already know what they think of the Broadway musical "The Times They Are A-Changin'." Granted, it was Dylan who approached the choreographer Twyla Tharp after her hit show with Billy Joel's songs--but I planned to blame it all on Tharp anyway. To make your attitude still worse, you walk into the Brooks Atkinson Theatre and hear a band tuning up. They're not dancing to Dylan's own recordings? We have to sit through Broadway singers ? If I'd walked out, this would've been more fun to write.

So Tharp is welcome to put this in the newspaper ads: I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK--NEWSWEEK. It sure held my attention, so it must've been a success, right? But a success at what?

Tharp has strung together 26 Dylan songs, early and late, to deliver a "fable" about a father-son struggle--like the story of Abraham and Isaac, which kicks off the second number, "Highway 61 Revisited." And there's an ingenue to stir the pot--or just because you can't have a show without one. Naturally, not every word of every song connects to Tharp's sketchy plot: by theatrical standards, the numbers offer as many tangents as signposts. But they sort of get the job done. And you can always just watch an intelligent, ingenious and witty choreographer at work.

The aging Captain Ahrab (from "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream") is a sinister, cynical ringmaster, whose circus performers include his fresh-faced son Coyote and a comely runaway named Cleo. (You know she's a runaway because it says so in the Playbill.) Yep, the kids are in love and the old man is nostalgic, envious, defiant. After the setup, it gets murky: dancing, acrobatics, love duets, confrontations. We gather that Ahrab dies while singing "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." At any rate, five more numbers go by and we don't see him again until curtain call.

The fiercely energetic Thom Sesma plays Ahrab in makeup that evokes both the present-day Dylan and Christopher Lee's Dracula. In "Summer Days, Summer Nights," Sesma makes Ahrab a crepuscular hellrake, running on fumes at 90 miles an hour, even though "the girls all say, 'You're a worn-out star'. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Positively Broadway; When Twyla Met Bob: A Fascinating Train Wreck?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.