By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2017 Paul Ben-Itzak
(Author’s Note: When this review was initially sent out via e-mail on October 22, 1999, I wrote that Needcompany’s production of Grace Ellen Barkey’s version of Bela Bartok’s “Miraculous Mandarin” was “a true, one-time only, never to be repeated in this lifetime gift to the audience.” My observation proved prophetic; several months later, the Bartok estate prohibited the piece from ever being performed again and Barkey’s ‘Mandarin’ died a second death.)
NEW YORK — Shortly before the world premiere of Grace Ellen Barkey’s production of Bela Bartok’s “Miraculous Mandarin” at P.S. 122 Thursday night, P.S. executive producer Mark Russell hailed me. “It’s either going to stink or it’s going to rock,” he said — well, maybe it was me that said it, but Russell concurred. The thought that it might stink was not uttered with dread but anticipation. Stinker or rocker, Russell was excited to be giving something new to his audience and New York — new even to him.
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