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Riveting, well-written work of cultural criticism
on 27 May 1999
Schulman has the uncanny ability to: a) tell a personal story about the plagiarism of her work, her attempts for resolution, her experiences as a woman, a lesbian, an author in the fight against AIDS; b) write an insightful account of the state of the commercial theatre -- a late '90s version of the type of essay Miller and Albee wrote 40-50 years ago; c) create a remarkable context for unmasking homophobia and explaining the cultural position of gays and lesbians in contempory America; and d) give the reader something that's both challenging and easy to read. I found it to be entirely engaging and incredibly smart.
I am also one of the many people who saw "Rent" on Broadway during the week it won the Tony, and I'm not ashamed to say, I loved it. But a year or so later, when it came to LA, I took a couple of friends and saw it again -- and I have to admit, it seemed fake, packaged, forced. In her role as a critic, apart from her personal connection to the show, Schulman explains why parts of "Rent" seem false. She puts into words some of the fleeting, troubling thoughts I couldn't articulate for myself.
I'm an English professor and I teach drama -- I intend to use "Stagestruck" in future courses.