by Brenda W. Clough
The perpetual balance in the arts is between novelty and tradition. Originality is essential. But all the customers like, the artist complains (in Sunday in the Park with George, the quintessential show about creativity), is what they know. So the trick is to be new, but not too new. Or, alternatively, do the old in a new way.
A grand example of this might be A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, which closed last week on Broadway. It is now on tour nationwide. A multiple Tony and Drama Desk Award winner in 2014, this show retreads an ancient plot (if you’ve seen Kind Hearts and Coronets you know the story) with a delightful score, fantabulous staging, and enormous charm.
Monty Navarro learns that he is actually a D’Ysquith, with only eight others between him and the title and estate. A merry round of mass murder ensues, with lots of plot twists and witty lyrics. Go to the first link and lick on some of the show’s videos — it’s a riot! Shakespeare or Beckett this is not — but it is perfectly OK to have fun!
The show opened to rave reviews and has never looked back. It shows that if you can combine old and new perfectly, the world is your oyster.