Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Glimpses of the Moon Musical: Reviews

From Variety:

Glimpses of the Moon
(Oak Room, Algonquin Hotel; 81 seats; $50 top)

'Glimpses of the Moon'
Stephen Plunkett and Patti Murin both want to marry millionaires in 'Glimpses of the Moon,' a Jazz Age tuner at the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room.
A Lemon Tree Prods. presentation of a musical in two acts with music by John Mercurio, book and lyrics by Tajlei Levis, based on the novel by Edith Wharton. Directed by Marc Bruni. Musical direction, John Mercurio. Choreography, Denis Jones.

Ellie Vanderlyn - Beth Glover
Nelson Vanderlyn - Daren Kelly
Ursula Gillow, Coral
Hicks - Laura Jordan
Winthrop Strefford - Glenn Peters
Susy Branch - Patti Murin
Nick Lansing - Stephen Plunkett
Guest Star - KT Sullivan

The Oak Room at the Algonquin has come up with a novel way to fill winter Monday nights; not a one-shot by an upcoming or faded cabaret singer, but a fully realized mini-musical comedy. "Glimpses of the Moon," from Edith Wharton's 1922 novel (which immediately followed her Pulitzer-winner, "The Age of Innocence"), fits reasonably well in the hallowed room and makes a pleasant evening's diversion.

Wharton's Jazz Age tale tells of a likable dancer-girl and novelist-boy, members of the underfed upper class who subsist from house-party to house-party. Their plan: to marry solely for the purpose of accumulating lavish wedding gifts from their gilt-edged friends, which they figure will bring enough at the pawn shop to get them through a year. They mutually agree to step aside as soon as one or the other finds a bona fide millionaire of their own, but you can pretty much guess what happens.

From Broadway World

It is always a pleasure to see a well-crafted, witty musical comedy. Glimpses of the Moon, an original musical based on an Edith Wharton novel and created specifically for the intimate wood-paneled Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, delivers in spades. Produced by Lemon Tree Productions and written by Tajlei Levis (book and lyrics) and John Mercurio (Music), it is a sparkling valentine to the jazz age.

It is 1922, and Susy Branch (Patti Murin) is a Bright Young Thing, who is popular but penniless, living off rich friends and being delightful, hoping to marry a rich man. At a party hosted by Ellie Vanderlyn (Beth Glover) and her husband Nelson (Daren Kelly), Susy meets the handsome Nick Lansing (Stephen Plunkett), a student of Greek pottery who is equally charming and impecunious. The two hatch a plot to marry each other and then sell off the wedding gifts over the course of a year, for once able to support themselves in the style to which they desperately want to become accustomed. After their honeymoon in a fishing camp owned by their well-connected but also basically poor friend Streffy (Glenn Peters), the two are invited to Ellie's mansion in Newport for the Summer, but when they arrive they find that Ellie is not there. She's off having an affair, and she's tasked Susy with mailing four letters to her husband over the course of the Summer to make him think she's still at home. This was brilliantly dramatized by the hilarious "Letters To Nelson", sung by Ellie getting more and more dishabille with each succeeding missive. Nick takes the time to write an archeological adventure novel (a precursor to Indiana Jones?).

Friday, January 11, 2008

CFP: Edith Wharton Panels at MLA 2008

The Edith Wharton Society will sponsor two sessions at the MLA conference in San Francisco on December 27-30, 2008.

1. WWWD? What Would Wharton Do? Edith Wharton and Politics

What do we know about Edith Wharton’s politics? Her political persuasions? Her views on personal and institutional political responsibility in the modern world? What political concerns did she have? Was her writing ever meant to put forth any political thought, position, or agenda that she might feel important? What were her views on war? On the social problems facing the American public in the 1920s and 1930s? How applicable are her views to the current American scene? Please send abstracts (about 500 words) and short CV's by March 15th to Linda Costanzo Cahir ( or Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave. Willis 103B, Union, NJ 07083).

2. Edith Wharton and the ‘Other Half’

This panel seeks to explore all aspects of Edith Wharton’s relationship to urban poverty. All approaches are welcome, as are papers connecting Wharton to other figures. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words and 1 page cvs to Hildegard Hoeller at by March 10th. This panel is organized by the Edith Wharton Society.

Edith Wharton Walk

New York Times:

ADVENTURE ON A SHOESTRING Saturday at 2 p.m., “The World of Edith Wharton,” features a walk in Gramercy Park, meeting on the southwest corner of Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street. (212) 265-2663. $10.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Wharton's copyrights in "life plus 70 years" copyright countries

From John Mark Ockerbloom of the Online Books page:

Much of the world gets to celebrate today as Public Domain Day as well, the day when a whole year’s worth of copyrights enter the public domain for anyone to copy or reuse as they like.

In countries that use the “life plus 50 years” minimum standard of the Berne Convention, works by authors who died in 1957 enter the public domain today. That includes writers, artists, and composers like Nikos Kazantzakis, Diego Rivera, Dorothy L. Sayers, Jean Sibelius, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

In countries that use the “life plus 70 years” term, works by authors who died in 1937 enter the public domain, including works by J. M. Barrie, Jean de Brunhoff, H. P. Lovecraft, Maurice Ravel, and Edith Wharton. Since many countries with this term recently extended it due to trade agreements, they’re often seeing these works re-enter the public domain after being removed from it, but their return to the public is still appreciated.