Not the New York Times -- The following is an open letter to Michael Bowen regarding his recent review (9/12/02) of the Lake City Playhouse production of The Fantasticks. I find it difficult to understand how a reviewer who declares this show obsolete and unworthy of production can find yet another production of Oklahoma! "A OK" or some such clever superlative.
You're right, Mikey, it ain't Broadway (never was) but guess what? You're not reviewing for the New York Times!
You might, however, try getting your facts straight. First, check the last few pages of the score. El Gallo does, indeed, at least according to Schmidt and Jones, sing the reprise of "Try To Remember" at the end of the show, solo, with the cast humming along.
I've done and seen a lot of theater, and I know a good show when I see one. This one is a lively and entertaining production of a story that will long outlive the petty scribbling of a pseudo-intellectual Cleveland Amory wannabe.
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Fanstasticks was Great -- I have gone to local and regional plays for decades, as a pleasant way to support local efforts. The Fantasticks I saw opening night at Lake City Playhouse was the brightest, most energetic and enjoyable play I've seen in many years. Not without some very minor flaws, of course, but it was opening night -- lighten up! The voices were strong, the timing excellent, and the enthusiasm overflowing. The packed audience roared with delight at the finish, putting the lie to what was later written by Mr. Bowen.
If he has to show his vast sophistication by looking down his nose at a 40-year-old play, that is fine. Keep his comments on the follies of what play was selected to a paragraph, so we can all be suitably impressed with his grasp of theater history, and then move on. He should get over that he wasn't consulted on the choice, and talk fairly about a hometown production by a hometown cast.
My hat's off to the Playhouse Players, and I thank them for the pleasure I had that night. Each night of this production deserves to be sold out.
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Phasing in Some Debate -- I feel blindsided by the "phases" of the North/South Freeway. No way is widening I-90 justified by the new freeway. And using the heart of Spokane as a commerce thoroughfare for Mexico to Canada? It is idiotic. This is too high a price for us to pay. This would decimate our downtown, leaving a struggling economy even worse. It would take out 400 low-income homes. Where are these people to go?
The project would destroy much of what has been accomplished in the downtown core. Historic buildings are being restored by Walt Worthy, Rob Brewster, Ron Wells and others. Taking out all the homes and buildings would destroy the reason for this restoration. And destroy our quality of life. We need time for another look, and an open study of the economic and environmental results of any plan, with input from the citizens.
Missing Venue -- Hey, what's up with the Kids' Art section in the Fall Arts Preview? I was looking for something to do with my niece and nephew during the artwalk and noticed a wonderful family-oriented art venue was noticeably lacking... that being Art By Yourself.
I mean, come on -- Spokane professes to try to embrace the arts, but by omitting Art By Yourself, you are really kind of missing the point, that Art Is For Everybody. It is probably the best family-oriented art venue in the Inland Northwest, and I find it shameful that it was omitted from this section in the arts preview.
Applause for Valley 49 -- Winston Churchill once said, "Democracy is a very bad form of government, but let us not forget that all the others are so much worse."
Those who see the most important of our American freedoms -- voting -- as a hassle, unimportant and not worth the effort should really take the time to ponder their thinking. There is no sadder testimony than being apathetic about our freedom and our country's less-than-perfect form of government. How sad that we would think that way. Even sadder yet, that we not be ashamed to say it.
Yes, our political system, like the making of sausage, is probably not the most appetizing process to watch. But it is our system and a direct testimony of every American citizen's attitude toward our country, our forefathers, and those who have died to provide us the freedoms we have today.
Certainly for some it would be much easier to live under a dictatorship where they had no freedom and did not have to be bothered with the privilege and inconvenience of voting. How simple and effortless their lives would be then. Interesting enough that those around the world who live under that tyranny each day would give almost anything for the right we have as Americans to vote and the privilege to exercise our responsibilities as citizens of a free country, participating in keeping it free.
The 49 Spokane Valley candidates willing to step up and take responsibility for those of us too apathetic and irresponsible to do so should be congratulated. We should be thankful for them and that there is more than one choice, because what would be even worse, is no choice at all.
Bill Williams, Jr.
Liberty Lake, Wash.