Former Democrat-Gazette columnist Kyle Brazzel, who wrote a preview and a review of “Billy Blythe” for the Times in recent weeks, has a great “Talk of the Town” piece in this week’s New Yorker on the opera and its creator, Bonnie Montgomery.
I haven’t talked to Bonnie since the debut, but Kyle said that he’d heard a Russian TV station was interested in an interview. I’ll look out for footage.
Just about every major news outlet picked up a story Suzi Parker wrote for Reuters in advance of the premiere, but aside from the “Talk” piece, the only other reporting on the show itself I’ve found was in the New York Observer.
Some 20 minutes into the play, a sultry, Rubinesque Virginia Blythe (Jessica Bowers) beckons her son to “come visit,” and to bring her a cup of coffee while he’s at it. Bright eyed, the eponymous hero (Alex Krasser), rushes over with a mug and sits at her feet.
“Did you know you make your coffee just the way I like it best?” Virginia sings as the piano accompaniment drops an octave. “Your father was the only other one who seemed to get it riiiight.” She sips. “Thiiick as syuuuuurrrppp. Oooo yeahhh this coffee oozes of your father’s zest for liiiiife.”
It was the most risqué moment in reading, but it put one in mind of another theatrical prince faced with his widowed mother’s sexuality. Unlike Hamlet, Billy accepts his greatness readily.