The Wall Street Journal - Weekend Journal
Friday, January 23, 2004
by Terry Teachout
Amanda Green has yet to bring a show to Broadway, but it isn't for lack of trying -- or talent. She sang a batch of her songs last Friday at New York's Ars Nova Theater, assisted by a flying squadron of musical-comedy and cabaret colleagues, and I laughed so hard I thought I'd split a rib.
Ms. Green, who wrote the lyrics for For the Love of Tiffany,
one of the high points of last summer's New York International Fringe Festival, specializes in murderously witty songs that crackle with Sondheim-style wordplay, transposed into a postmodern key. (Can you imagine the composer of "Passion" turning out a Bruce Springsteen parody?) Nor is she afraid to stick a red-hot poker into her own heart: "If You Leave Me, Can I Come, Too?" is "funny" like a Dorothy Parker suicide note.
Ms. Green is the daughter of Adolph Green, which gives her a genetic head start in the lyric-writing department, not to mention a certain number of helpful friends. (Lauren Bacall was in the audience on Friday.) But she deserves 110% of the credit for what she does with what she's got. The only thing that occurs to me is that she might be underestimating her exceptional skills as a performer.
Ms. Green interprets her own material with the comic zing and self-lacerating rue of a young Carol Burnett. Has she ever considered writing a show as a vehicle for herself? I'd line up on a snowy day to buy a ticket.
Mr. Teachout, the Journal's drama critic, also blogs about the arts at www.terryteachout.com. He is writing a brief life of George Balanchine.