Monday, February 22, 2010

From 1996: Review of "Tooth of Crime"

A Clash of Rock Stars In an Existential Mode

By BEN BRANTLEY
NY Times | 12.24.96

It is reported that in the unenlightened year of 1972, angry audience members fled in disgust from the American premiere of Sam Shepard's ''Tooth of Crime'' at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., when intermission arrived. That was, of course, before the play's author had won a Pulitzer Prize, become a movie star and been on mainstream magazine covers and people figured it was important to at least pretend to understand him.

Twenty-four years have passed, and ''Tooth of Crime'' has been restaged in a new, revised version by Mr. Shepard at the Lucille Lortel Theater. And in the enlightened year of 1996, audience members are fleeing in disgust at intermission.

Is this because Mr. Shepard's play is still too provocative and disturbing for traditionalists and philistines? Are those leaving the theater like the concertgoers who booed the first performance of Stravinsky's ''Rite of Spring''?

excerpted...Moreover, the play -- in which Hoss (here portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio), an aging rock star, battles to the death with Crow (Kirk Acevedo), a punkish challenger -- relies heavily on songs that capture the clashing styles of the two men. It was generally agreed that the original music, by Mr. Shepard, fell way short of the author's literary imagination.

With an aim to remedying this, the new ''Tooth'' has music and lyrics by T Bone Burnett, the estimable music producer, composer and folk-rock performer. Mr. Shepard has condensed and, in some cases, entirely rewritten the two-act work. Mr. D'Onofrio, a magnetic movie actor (he's in the forthcoming film ''The Whole Wide World''), was brought in as the star.

Visit our Tooth of Crime pages to read the full article.

1 comment:

val said...

OH, I wish they'd filmed it - he sang! I'd love to hear it. I'd love to see him in the leather (I shouldn't like that, I'm a vegetarian!)

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