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Articles by Jonathan Spira

Miss Broadway? Here’s How to Stream Great Theater to Your Home

Socially distanced and sequestered.  New phrases entering the vocabulary reflect the reality of the Broadway world.  No doubt composers of musical theater are already thinking of songs featuring those very words.
What survived hurricanes, blizzards, and SARS, hadn’t met Covid-19:  The promiscuous way in which the virus spreads led to an almost worldwide closing of live theater and there is no end in sight.
Fortunately, the pandemic is occurring in an age …

Theater Review: ‘Amadeus’ at Syracuse Stage via Webstream, A Study in Envy

When Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” came to the stage, first in 1979 at the National Theater in London and in 1980 at the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway with Ian McKellar, Tim Curry, and Jane Seymour, it took the world by storm. It was a play infused with and about music, yet it wasn’t a musical, a play with murder and intrigue, yet it wasn’t a whodunit.
Syracuse Stage’s brilliant production …

World’s Happiest Country is (Once Again) Finland – But What Does This Mean in an Age of Coronavirus

In the midst of a pandemic, the idea of the world’s happiest country takes on new meaning.
If anything, the criteria the creators of the rating system used in the World Happiness Report, prepared by the United Nations, are even more relevant in the age of the coronavirus, with considerations that include the social safety net and other support systems a country has in place before trouble strikes.
Perhaps not to anyone’s …

Working From Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you are at work right now and you stop to look around for a moment, you probably see… home.  Hundreds of thousands of knowledge workers, managers, and administrative staff have found themselves doing just that.
Covid-19 is creating a mass experiment, the likes of which were never envisioned by telecommuting advocates.  Yet, here we are, separated from our colleagues by just a click on IBM Sametime, Slack, or Apple iMessage, …

Review: ‘Leopoldstadt’ – Tales of a Vienna Family – at Wyndham’s Theatre

If a measure of success of a play is that it can make the theatergoer want to flee the theater in abject terror thanks to the emotions it stirs up, then Tom Stoppard’s new play, “Leopoldstadt,” which just opened at Wyndham’s Theatre, is an unbridled success.  It’s also quite good by more ordinary measures.
The play is a sweeping portrait of a Viennese Jewish family – one not terribly dissimilar from …

Theater Review: ‘My Fair Lady’ is ‘Wunderschön’ at the Volksoper

Considering that Shaw’s “Pygmalion” – one of the most erudite comedies in the English language – had its world premier at Vienna’s Burgtheater, the staging of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” – which is based on the play – in Vienna should not be surprising.  Indeed, while the first musical whose cassette tape I listened to incessantly as a child was “Hello, Dolly!” with Carol Channing, the second was …

Flight Review: WestJet Premium Class New York-LaGuardia – Toronto

With apologies to another North American airline, the friendly skies may also be found at WestJet, Canada’s second largest carrier. From my telephone call to the reservations center, where I spoke with an agent, Pam, who – despite my lack of status with the airline – treated me like a valued passenger and customer, to the gate agent with the engaging smile, it was a refreshing change.
My flight – a …