Saturday, July 18, 2009
Tin Pan Alley Rag
There's not much to say about Tin Pan Alley Rag, written by Mark Saltzman and directed by Stafford Armina. A fictional bio, it suffers from all of the weaknesses of the genre. In particular, there is no plot and no conflict, just Saltzman's idea of what Irving Berlin (Michael Therriault) and Scott Joplin (Michael Boatman) might have said to each other if they had ever met and if they shared the habit of occasionally speaking in blocks of awkward exposition. There are some pleasant moments, particularly when the songs take over, and the highlight is the surprisingly good-sized ensemble performing excerpts from Joplin's opera Treemonisha.