ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 02 May 2002   For week ended February 22, 2002
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 19Feb02
By Kent Larsen
Download to My Handheld!

Slover's 'Joyful Noise' in Pennsylvania

LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA -- LDS playwright Tim Slover's look at George Frederick Handel's "The Messiah" just finished a run at Lancaster's Fulton Opera House just as Slover's most recent work, "Hancock County" debut's at BYU. But a news story about the play in the Lancaster News shows how the play's shot at Broadway was killed by a bad review from a music critic, who saw the play in place of the New York Times' theater critic.

"Joyful Noise" debuted in November 1999 in Coronado, California, and was such a hit that the company took the play to New York's Lambs Theatre off-broadway the following February. The buzz about the play was so strong that the venerable Shubert Theatres were looking at producing the play on Broadway, a move that would have catapulted Slover to the top ranks of US playwrights.

But the New York Times chose to send a classical music writer to see the show instead of a theater critic. And the music writer covered the show, which used recorded music instead of live performance, as more of a musical performance. "He actually walked out on the play," Slover told the Lancaster News. The review, because it appeared in the influential Times, sealed the play's fate, keeping it off broadway permanently. Slover instead settled for an agent and publisher, and more recently an option to make the play into a movie.

In fact, observes the Lancaster News, the play has many compelling, little-known aspects. Unlike modern myth, "Joyful Noise" shows, Handel didn't write "The Messiah" in response to divine inspiration, but because his career was in decline and he desperately needed a hit. Under a tight schedule, Handel wrote quickly and actually "borrowed" some of the oratorio's themes from his own music and from other composers.

And when the oratorio was introduced, it had stiff opposition from the Church and from anonymous letters in London newspapers which called it a sacrilegious attempt to make entertainment out of the gospel. It also suffered when the oratorio's leading lady-soloist, Susannah Cibber, was caught in an adultery scandal at the time of "The Messiah's" 1741 premiere -- one that made her "the Monica Lewinsky of her day" says Slover.

The Lancaster News also mention's Slover's "Hancock County," which looks at the politics influencing the trial of those accused of killing Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and his earlier play, "God's Fisherman," a one-man play about Slover's great-great-grandfather, Wilford Woodruff.

The article also mentions that Slover taught and is good friends with Mormonism's other nationally-known playwright, Neil LaBute. But Slover modestly says he can't claim credit for teaching LaBute anything, "It is overstating the fact to say I taught Neil LaBute anything. He was enrolled in a doctorate program he never felt the need to finish, but we became close personal friends."


Getting a new Handel on 'Messiah'
Lancaster PA Sunday News 27Jan02 A2


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information