THEATER: Dead Ringer

A spoof of Wagner's opera cycle is feisty but crude

As one of the dafter masterpieces of Western art, rich in overreach, Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen is an obvious target for takeoffs of all sorts. The latest is Das Barbecu, which arrived last week off-Broadway after having been developed in several regional theater productions. Concentrating on the last opera, Gotterdammerung, the show is set in oil-rich Texas. Not a bad idea: like Valhalla, Texas was built by the iron whim of wealthy men. Jim Luigs, who wrote the book and lyrics, sees the gods as feuding, singing cowboys. Five exceedingly busy people manage to rush through 30 parts.


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