Friday, May 11, 2012

LIZ SMITH: Exercising The Right to Vote ...

Exercising The Right to Vote — Dumbbells Want To Take it Away!
Re-Visiting Three Broadway Hits ... Remembering Gerald Schoenfeld ... and "Game of Thrones" sex-symbol Peter Dinklage on the cover of Rolling Stone.
by Liz Smith
Friday, May 11, 2012

“TWELVE YEARS after its hanging-chad fiasco, Florida has decided to tighten voter access and threaten, with stiff fines and possible jail, groups that help voters register ... Nine states now have laws requiring government-issued photo ID cards to vote ... All this in the name of fighting voter fraud that has yet to appear ... These initiatives target the poor and the older voter—as many as 8,000,000 people over 65 no longer drive or lack approved ID forms,” warns Jim Toedtman, the editor of the AARP Bulletin.

This just simply can’t be. These new laws are the most egregious insult that conservative Republicans have ever given to its older generations.

You have to move heaven and earth and get yourself in a position to legally vote. These laws are literally taking away your right to vote.
WAY BACK on April 24, I wrote here about what a great experience I’d had seeing the revival of Gore Vidal’s political masterpiece The Best Man at the Schoenfeld Theater on the Great White Way.

I spoke of the “prescience” of this drama. It first bowed back in 1960 and I spoke to the way things were when black-and-white TV ruled the political airwaves. I said the play is “a cautionary tale about being unprincipled and unethical and making sacrifices and killing off your enemies with rumor and scandal.” (I also noted that although there were two intermissions — something almost unheard of these days — the evening passed in a flash!)
Now comes my theater pal, Ben Brantley — the sometimes dreaded intellectual critic from the New York Times — and he does a re-review of the humor and wit in this production, noting Gore’s bon mots as well as those of other plays now on Broadway. Ben added Other Desert Cities and Venus in Fur, along with The Best Man. These plays all have lines for the actors, proving that really good “stars” or “celebrities” onstage are not “just like us.” They speak better, using the playwright’s intelligence.

Anyway, if you like confronting your I.Q. in the theater at night, I’d suggest you take Brantley’s word for it and go see these three plays mentioned. I wish The Best Man would run until next November. It might make all of us feel better.
SPEAKING OF the theater, I have now read the late Gerald Schoenfeld’s memoir and “Mr. Broadway” is a must for those who value the history of theater. He was the big bad front man-lawyer and entrepreneur and he and his wife Pat put their heads together and brought out an amazing remembrance.

Gerry didn’t much like or love the Shubert brothers who ruled Broadway with iron fists, but he learned a lot from them and ended up with their fame. (Sometimes, too, with their infame!)

This book is just full of Gerry’s run ins with the biggest stars from Liza Minnelli to Alec Baldwin to Kathleen Turner and the directors, choreographers, musicians and those famous behind the scenes – Gower Champion, Jerry Robbins, Michael Bennett, Andrew Lloyd Webber, to name a few.

We owe Patricia Schoenfeld a debt of gratitude for all she did in making Gerry’s life so important that he ended up with a theater named after him. (This was after the New York Landmarks people had already made him a “Living Landmark” and none other than Patti LuPone sang him right into his award. I wish this Landmark were still “living.”)

This year, Jimmy Nederlander of another noted theater family, will get the “Landmark” treatment on Nov. 8th at the Plaza and another “Living Landmark” – Liza Minnelli, will also be named. That wouldn’t have pleased Gerry Schoenfeld who had his ups and downs with Liza, but you’ll have to read the book for these dishy details.
I HAVE been raving about Peter Dinklage since the very first episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” By the second episode, I was confidently predicting he’d win the Emmy, for his characterization of acid-tongued Tyrion Lannister. He did.

Now I’m not claiming credit for his success or his awards—he also won a Golden Globe—but I feel I was at least slightly ahead of the moment. Prescient, again, if you want a ten-dollar word for it.

Now the handsome Mr. Dinklage is on the cover of Rolling Stone, interviewed by Brian Hiatt. The actor is just as amusing as himself as he is in “Game of Thrones.” He talks about the dragons on the show—“I met ‘em, they’re nice guys. They like to party” ... about his adolescence which wasn’t too cheery—“Now I am so depressed. Can’t we talk about ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ or something? ... and his resistance to appearing on talk shows, venting over his problems as a little person—“I have a friend who says ‘the world doesn’t need another angry dwarf!’”

Peter’s not angry, however. He’s happy with his career, wife and new baby.

And wait till you see the Rolling Stone cover. He looks like a sexy rock star. 

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