Theater: Dead Serious

James Joyce with songs? If only it were wackier

Chances are slim that you will soon be hearing the following line spoken in theatergoing homes across America: "Hey, honey, let's grab the kids, fly to New York and catch that new musical The Dead!" Yet, oddly, a musicalized version of James Joyce's somber short story has been one of the most anticipated events of the off-Broadway season. A star-filled cast (Christopher Walken, Blair Brown, Sally Ann Howes) has perked up interest in what is either the most intriguing or the stupidest idea for a musical in years.

Alas, James Joyce's The Dead (adding the author's name still won't boost the...

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