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To the editor:
I cannot remember ever writing a letter to any publication. Yet I cannot imagine this one going unwritten.
God knows, “reviewers” have been known to stretch the tolerance of artists since the Gutenberg press … but the comments of Lawrence Vittes in his review of the UCLA production of “On Your Toes” (HR 8/21) regarding its composers Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart go far beyond the man’s charge of “production assessor” but deep into the cornerstone of accepted and beloved American music … which is not, I would argue, up for assessment here and now by Mr. Vittes.
And I truly feel I am called upon to speak up and protect that sacred place, those sacred men and their sacred works that I believe have earned a permanent refuge from mindless and irresponsible utterances such as this in the review from Mr. Vittes:
“Lorenz Hart’s lyrics are for the most part second-rate Cole Porter”; and “Richard Rodgers’ music is mostly forgettable.”
Richard Rodgers’ music — even that of “On Your Toes” — “FORGETTABLE”? “There’s a Small Hotel”? “You Took Advantage of Me”? The immortal “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” ballet?
Forgettable? Where have you been, Mr. Vittes? And what are you listening to? And what else is on your forgettable list? Charles Lindbergh? Bob Hope? The Second World War?
Editor’s note: Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones starred in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic film musicals “Oklahoma!” and “Carousel.”
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