Tag Archives: Charles Dickens

Clue for a great 2017 read: “Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes”

Want to start the New Year off with an exciting new chapter in your reading? It’s elementary dear readers.

In Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes (Bloomsbury, $27), acclaimed author Michael Sims traces Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s circuitous path to becoming the father of the modern mystery. Follow Doyle’s early days in Edinburgh surrounded by poverty and violence, through his escape to university to study medicine, his first several years of limited success in both medicine and writing, and finally, the emergence of the character of Sherlock Holmes, in Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet.

Sims deftly shows Holmes to be a product of Doyle’s varied adventures in his personal and professional life, as well as built out of the traditions of writers Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Émile Gaboriau and (one of our faves, and still so underrated!) Wilkie Collins—not just a skillful translator of clues, but a veritable superhero of the mind, reminiscent of Doyle’s esteemed teacher, Dr. Joseph Bell.

Sir Arthur . . . penning another Sherlock saga?

As a young medical student, Doyle studied under Dr. Bell, a veritable diagnostic genius and Doyle’s favorite professor. Bell could often identify a patient’s occupation, hometown, and ailments from the smallest details of dress, gait, and speech. Although Doyle was training to be a surgeon, he was impressed and inspired by Bell’s detective-like abilities, which laid the groundwork for Doyle’s creation of Holmes several years later. Filled with details that will surprise even the most knowledgeable Sherlockian, Arthur and Sherlock is a literary genesis story for detective fans everywhere.

Masterworks Broadway raises the curtain of three top-notch CDs

Once again, Masterworks Broadway has raised the curtain on a triumvirate of classic albums from the archives. Each CD is accompanied by new album pages and photos. Brava!

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Claudia McNeill rehearsing “Simply Heaven,” May 19, 1958

Starring Claudia McNeil and Melvin Stewart, Simply Heavenly was written by Harlem renaissance poet Langston Hughes based on his novel “Simple Takes a Wife and Other Simple Stories.” With music by David Martin, Simply Heavenly was originally produced for the Off-Broadway 85th Street Playhouse. The show transferred to Broadway’s Playhouse Theatre on August 20, 1957, when fire violations forced the closure of the original venue.  Hughes continually looked to the musical stage for success following the groundbreaking 1947 original production of Kurt Weill and Elmer Rice’s Street Scene for which he wrote lyrics. Set in Harlem of the ‘50s, Simply Heavenly follows Jess Simple as he tries to raise enough money for a divorce so he can marry his new love and eloquently captures the color, humor and poetry of that time and place.
McNeil had made her Broadway debut as a replacement cast member in the groundbreaking original Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. She would later originate the role of Lena Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun both on Broadway and in the feature film.

Based on Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic novella, A Christmas Carol was presented annually at New York City’s Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden from 1994 through 2003.

Over its nine years, A Christmas Carol featured a slew of notable actors as “Scrooge” including F. Murray Abraham, Tim Curry, Tony Randall, Roddy McDowall (in his final role), Frank Langella, Tony Roberts, Jim Dale and Roger Daltrey.

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The cast of “Spoon River Anthology”; Joyce Van Patten (left) and Betty Garrett (center) . . . their backs, at least!

Charles Aidman adapted and starred in Spoon River Anthology, a play with music based on Edgar Lee Masters’ renowned collection of short free-form poems. With music by Naomi Caryl Hirshhorn and Hal Lynch, Spoon River Anthology weaves the epitaphs of the residents of fictional small town Spoon River into a chilling history of turn-of-the century America. Also starring Betty Garrett, Joyce Van Patten and Robert Elston, the show opened at the Booth Theatre on September 29, 1963 and ran for 111 performances. This original Broadway cast recording of Spoon River Anthology is making its CD debut.