Author: Joe Nocera

Pacific Overtures

For Sondheim aficionados (as I’m guessing most VDP members are), a new revival of “Pacific Overtures” opened last night at Classic Stage Company. As directed by John Doyle in his trademark minimalist style, it is pared back in every way—10 actors …Read More


  “Privacy,” a new play by James Gorman showing now at London’s Donmar Warehouse, is better -— much better -— than it has any right to be. Essentially a meditation on privacy in the age of Google and the NSA, …Read More


I saw this Sondheim-Lapine show last week, loved it (of course!), but wound up having a somewhat different take from many of the VDP reviewers who have already weighed in.  The original “Passion” was an extremely stiff, impossible-to-love, 1994 production …Read More

Paquito D’Rivera

Sorry to do this again, folks, but I’m going to review another concert that has come and gone.  (Then again, in non-virtual dinner parties, don’t people do that all the time?)  Last weekend, Paquito D’Rivera, the Cuban-born composer, alto saxophonist, …Read More

Letter from Newtown

I want to commend the wonderful young writer Rachel Aviv, whom I now avidly read whenever she has a story in The New Yorker.  Her latest, last week, was about the hometown reporters in Newtown, Conn., who covered the Newtown …Read More

Adam Guettel

Did you get a chance to see Adam Guettel’s amazing show at 54 Below a few weeks ago?  The most talented American composer since Sondheim, with a melodic gift that ranks right up there with his grandfather, Richard Rodgers, Guettel …Read More

Anat Cohen

An Israeli reed player who plays a mean tenor and soprano sax, but whose true love is the lost instrument of jazz, the clarinet.  I have been listening to her records somewhat obsessively the last month or so  (Poetica; Clarinetwork: Live …Read More

Two Magazine Pieces

The Daniel Mendelsohn article a few weeks ago in The New Yorker about his response to the writing of Mary Renault as a gay pre-teen and teen.  It’s a beautifully evoked memoir, and in its shape and beauty and coherence, it stood …Read More


What in the world has happened to “Homeland”? Last season, I could not wait for each episode, which were taut, well-written, beautifully acted, and more or less plausible.  This season, the plot lines have run off the rails — and the actors, as good as …Read More