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About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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  • The Taxman Cometh

    By Kyle | February 6, 2009

    Sock Broadway with a tax increase? Noooo, cries the New York Times. (Seriously.) Why? Because tax increases make life harder for consumers and make them turn away from the thing that is being heavily taxed. This, as John Podhoretz points out in one of his typically witty and pithy postings, is the fundamental reason to oppose not just a Broadway tax increase but any tax increase. So if the Times is against this one, it should rethink its love affair with tax hikes in general.

    Topics: Broadway, Theater | 1 Comment »

    Human Thermometer Jeremy Piven Boiling Mad

    By Kyle | January 17, 2009

    Jeremy “the Human Thermometer” Piven is as steamed as the Heat Miser! The producers of “Speed-the-Plow” are suing, being among the 100 percent of earthlings who don’t believe Piven ankled the Broadway play because too much sushi caused his mercury level to spike. If Ari Gold were Piven’s agent he would have advised him that he’d be better off dropping dead onstage with mercury foaming out of his ears than suffering the mockery that would come along with pleading the Sushi Defense. Piven’s peeps fire back!

    “The claims made by the producers of Speed-the-Plow are absurd and outrageous,” Piven’s rep tells ET. “Mr. Piven’s serious medical condition has been well documented by multiple physicians. He withdrew from the play due to medical necessity on the advice of his doctors, after he was hospitalized and warned by his physicians that enforced rest was necessary in order to avoid serious medical problems, including a heart attack.

    “His symptoms included extreme fatigue, spacial problems, difficulty remembering his lines, difficulty maintaining his balance, and an alarmingly low resting heart rate. Mr. Piven followed his doctors’ advice, although his forced withdrawal from the show was an enormous personal disappointment since it was a life-long dream to perform on Broadway.”

    Topics: Broadway, TV | 1 Comment »

    A Reading from the Book of Kenny

    By Kyle | January 16, 2009


    Michael Riedel performs live! Onstage! Here is Post theater columnist Riedel reading the life-advice maxims of Kenny Loggins who tells his special lady, among other things, “I want to taste your breath.”

    Topics: Broadway, Music | No Comments »

    Ian McKellen Keeping L’il Gandalf in His Pants

    By Kyle | January 9, 2009

    Sir Ian McKellen won’t be showing his royal scepter, his magic staff, his One Tower, in the March PBS Broadcast of “King Lear,” though he went full-frontal in the stage production upon which it’s based. I guess we’ll have to get our jollies with the eyeball-gouging scene instead.

    Topics: Broadway | 1 Comment »

    Harold Pinter Is Dead

    By Kyle | December 26, 2008

    Pinter’s politics were strange, delusional, nonsensical….dare I call them Pinteresque? No matter. He was one of the great playwrights of the 20th century. In works like “Betrayal,” “The Caretaker,” “The Homecoming” and “One for the Road,” he proved that pauses could be grenades and drew a jagged map of missing information. The career of Sam Shepard, for instance, is difficult to imagine without the inspiration of Pinter. For neophytes I’d suggest beginning with “Betrayal,” a surprisingly commercial and accessible infidelity story told backwards that I saw on Broadway with Juliette Binoche, Liev Schreiber and John Slattery (later the boss on “Mad Men”), who stole the show. I also enjoyed the extra coating of hostility Pinter gave that old wing-chair of a mystery play, “Sleuth.”

    You might compare Pinter to Nabokov and Hemingway in inventing a new language. He was an actors’ dream because the texts were so vague, but even on the page (which is the only place I’ve experienced “The Caretaker,” for instance), the work can rattle you down to the DNA.

    Topics: Broadway, Movies | No Comments »

    David Mamet Slams Jeremy Piven

    By Kyle | December 18, 2008

    Piven is departing Mamet’s Broadway play “Speed-the-Plow” because of a “high mercury count”? Listen, Jeremy, save it for someone with a less finely tuned BS detector than the author of “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Mamet is already mocking Piven as “a thermometer.”

    Topics: Broadway | 3 Comments »

    Segue of the Day

    By Kyle | November 6, 2008

    From the press release announcing that “Hair” is coming to Broadway:

    Two days after the historical U.S. Presidential election, there is still more sunshine being forecast with the announcement of the theater and dates for the upcoming Broadway production of “HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”… HAIR transfers to Broadway, with previews starting February 13, 2009 prior to opening March 5 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 West 45th Street).

    I have heard the stage show of “Hair” is nothing like the movie but…the movie doesn’t exactly end with a lot of sunshine. MNore like the sun setting on the age of Aquarius.

    Topics: Barack Obama, Broadway, Movies, Music, Politics | 1 Comment »

    Review: “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”

    By Kyle | October 24, 2008

    Teenage Wasteland

    Kyle Smith review of “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
    1.5 stars out of 4
    110 minutes/Rated G

    I plan to be the father of a 9-year-old girl in about 8 1/2 years, so I went to see “High School Musical 3” for a glimpse into my future. Chilling, chilling. Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: Broadway, Movies, Music | 3 Comments »

    Video Review: “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”

    By Kyle | October 23, 2008

    “High School Musical 3” is here and I went to see it so you don’t have to.

    Topics: Broadway, Movies, Music | No Comments »

    Alms for the Rich: The Tony Kushner Story

    By Kyle | September 24, 2008

    My gimlet-eyed, gimlet-drinking colleague Michael Riedel is just back from vacation in Greece and weighs in with a witty column on why one of the richest playwrights alive, “Angels in America” and “Munich” author Tony Kushner, was just given a $200,000 “nurturing” grant.

    First, let me congratulate comrade Kushner on being the first recipient of the Mimi. I look forward to toasting his windfall with him very soon at the Paris Commune. The purpose of the prize, to quote Mimi spokesman William D. Zabel, is to “promote the American theater . . . by nurturing American playwrights.”

    I can think of no other playwright who needs more “nurturing” than Tony Kushner. After all, how much money could he possibly have made from “Angels in America”? Surely not more than a couple of million dollars.

    And I bet that indie filmmaker Steven Spielberg didn’t pay him very much for his Oscar-nominated screenplay for “Munich” – a powerful, completely unmanipulative movie that makes you weep for the injustices suffered by the Palestinian terrorists at the hands of their Israeli hostages.

    With $200,000 in Mimi money, cash-strapped Kushner can finally buy all 13 volumes of the collected correspondence of Marx and Engels (now in handsome, leather-bound editions from the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Press) he has so long coveted.

    They could have given the $200,000 to a young, unknown playwright, one who might be even more hard-up than Kushner. But instead they made the bold decision to select a writer who has only two Tonys, a Pulitzer, an Emmy and an Olivier Award on his shelf in his Upper West Side co-op.

    As Zabel said, “We wanted to make a splash!” Did they ever! They got a stand-alone story in the Times, which hardly ever covers the playwright (only 56 mentions in 2008).

    Buried in the Mimi press release is the news that in 2009 some “emerging” playwright will get $50,000. That’s a nice gesture, but let’s be honest: You can’t “make a splash!” if you give money only to obscure writers who really are struggling.

    Topics: Broadway, Comedy, Movies | No Comments »

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