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The Thursday Roundup
by Jerome Weeks 12 Jan 2012

More assassins at the Sixth Floor? An El Greco (re)discovered in Texas? Hey, waddaya expect? It’s the Thursday Roundup.


ASSASSINS AT THE SIXTH FLOOR? Back in 1992, Theatre 3 had the honor of presenting the Texas premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s darkly brilliant, gun-wielding musical cabaret, Assassins (pay wall), which features, at its end, a scene with Lee Harvey Oswald set in the Texas Book Depository. But it almost didn’t have the premiere. While perusing Sondheim’s new semi-memoir, part 2, Look I Made a Hat (a Christmas gift I haven’t gotten around to yet), DMN book editor Mike Merschel discovered that Sondheim and his fellow musical creators had briefly considered debuting the musical — at the Sixth Floor itself.

At one point, we toyed with the idea of premiering the show at the book depository itself, which is now a museum and has a large room with vitrines displaying the guns used in the various assassinations. We thought, why not set up some folding chairs, improvise a stage and open the piece there for a limited run, say a week? The show lends itself to minimal scenery, as numerous productions of the last twenty years have proved. Why not, indeed, but then again, apart from the publicity, why? After a little thought, we abandoned the idea not just because of the practical problems involved but because we didn’t know what the effect of the show would be or, in fact, if it was any good. Now that it’s proved its mettle, of course, I’d like to reconsider. Or maybe not.”

No word in the book on whether Sondheim had visited the Sixth Floor when he came to Dallas for SMU’s Meadows Award in 1994.

OPERA DEATH WATCH, PT. 2: Yesterday, we noted the San Antonio Opera may be shutting down. Most of the season’s remaining performances disappeared from Ticketmaster. Now they’ve closed their offices and have reduced the staff to two people: an interim executive director and the development manager. Sounds like the fat lady is warming up to sing.

GET HER TO THE GREEK: There are El Greco paintings in Dallas (the Meadows), Fort Worth (Kimbell) and Houston (Museum of Fine Arts).  Now San Antonio officially has one. The McNay Art Museum, Texas’ first modern art museum when it opened in 1954, has had a head of Jesus for years that wasn’t definitively ID’d as an El Greco (aka “the Greek”). Now it has, after Dallas-area art conservator Helen Mar Parkin was done cleaning it up.

YOU DON’T SAY: Fort Worth Weekly’s Hearsay column forecasts the 2012 music scene, paying particular attention to new albums due this year from Telegraph Canyon and The Theatre Fire, plus an unnamed something from Tim Locke and Jordan Roberts, the duo behind Calhoun who, you may remember, played KXT’s second birthday party at the House of Blues in October