Feedback: An Apology on Behalf of the People of Denver

Denver playgoers may start thinking that theatre critic Michael Dale's real last name is "Riedel". First he was quoted in a Denver Post article about the harsh reception Brooklyn, the Musical received on Broadway as saying "...this is not going to be one of those 'It's really not that bad' reviews. Cause really, it is."

Then a follow-up article regarding The Immigrant's New York reception said...

"Maybe the unkindest cut of all came from Michael Dale, the critic at 'Before coming to New York, The Immigrant played its premiere engagement in Denver, the same city where Brooklyn, the Musical made its pre-Broadway debut. Denver - you're a lovely and historic city filled with very nice people. But I'm begging you - please stop sending us your musicals.'"

Shorty after those words were printed, received the following e-mail with the subject line reading "An Apology on Behalf of the People of Denver":

Dear Mr. Dale,

Regarding your November 6, 2004, review of The Immigrant:

I apologize for our town being a musical theatre crapbed. Obviously, we don't know much about this art, seeing how we're stuck out here between Kansas and some big mountains. And we are nowhere near as cultured as you in the big city. It's something I've known for years--decades even. And I apologize for our lack of style, culture and knowledge about the form.

In our defense, although Brooklyn did premiere here, it was not created here--this was merely the "tryout ground," much like the La Jolla Playhouse has been for many shows. And while our audiences loved it (judging by ticket sales), the general consensus was that the set, costumes and Ms. Espinoza were fantastic, but the score and book were rather weak. Which also seems to be the consensus out in your fair city. Unfortunately, I didn't see it, so I can't add my opinion about the show.

I did, however, see The Immigrant, and I really enjoyed it, but I thought the score was terrible. Completely unmemorable, and none of it really seemed to complement the very strong story and characters. My overall impression was that it was very good, if a bit long, but that with some tightening up, it could definitely be something great. It doesn't look as if that "tightening up" has happened, though.

Someday, I will actually get to go to New York and see what real theatre is about. Until then, I apologize for what we've been sending you, which we somehow, in our misguided, low-oxygen minds, thought was halfway decent.

Kathy Bone
Aurora, Colorado

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