Instead of setting their minds to work in the here and now, they're always trying to relive what somebody else already did. At least, that's how things seem to be in the theater these days: Shows that aren't overt attempts to reanimate old movies all strive, covertly or unconsciously, to re-enact other artists' old theater events. Just in time for our grim new economic condition, we're facing an era of lowered aesthetic expectations, too.
That lowering doesn't include attempting to give a classic story fresh life, something artists have always done. The problem with the new Broadway musical of A Tale of Two Cities isn't its devotion to Charles Dickens, but its awareness that others made millions from a musical based on Victor Hugo.
Feingold also talks about several new Off-Broadway works in this column.