Friday, October 05, 2007

Harvey Fiersback

Harvey Fiersback

In my PR world, I've always lived by the mantra that you never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.

But I've got to hand it to Harvey Fierstein for having the courage to fire back at his critics, particularly Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times for his savage review of A Catered Affair during its pre-Broadway engagement in San Diego.

On his MySpace blog, Fierstein also takes aim at those who had issues with what they viewed as his anachronistic characterization of a gay man living in the 1950s:
In A Catered Affair I have been accused, by a few well meaning critics who loved the show, of creating a gay character that is "post-Stonewall" and not true to the period of the piece. Once again I ask: What makes them so sure? Did they do any of the research that I did? Did they interview gay men who lived through the period as I have? Did they view documentaries telling stories of what it was like to be gay in 1953 as I did? Did they read books or personal accounts of gay life in 1953 as I did?

I doubt that one of those critics took the time to be sure they were correct before telling me that I was incorrect. Still they blithely and boldy state in print that I am wrong and they are right!!! I say that is simply outrageous. And I tell you ON RECORD that I did my research and I firmly stand behind my portrayal of that character as true and real. The funny part is that these opinions, like most advice, were not given to harm, but to help me make a better piece. So,I thank them for their advice, but encourage them to know whereof they speak before prescribing cures.


...I go to the theater hoping that I will learn something new. I go praying that the playwright will inform my world, change my opinion, enlighten me, cause me to think, open my mind and heart. But it seems that some critics go to the theater only to validate their own predetermined opinion. What a loss for them! And what a loss for their readers.

One thing you can't accuse Harvey Fierstein of being is a wimp or a coward.

While I regret not having the opportunity to see this show in San Diego, now I'm really looking forward to seeing it on Broadway.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Were Left Coast Critics Feting A Catered Affair? (October 3, 2007)
San Diego Opening Is Catered Affair (September 30, 2007)
Which Upcoming Broadway Musicals Will You See? (June 15, 2007)
Fierstein To Musicalize Bette Davis' Fave Flick (March 21, 2007)

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At 05 October, 2007, Blogger Esther said...

While it's true that traditionally, newspapers have been able to have the last word, I wonder if that's changing. It's interesting that through his blog, Harvey Fierstein has a chance to reach as many, if not more, people than the newspaper review. True, not everyone who read the review will see the blog, but the people most likely to be interested in the show to begin with - theater fans, Harvey Fierstein fans - may indeed see it. And if I were Harvey, those are the people I'd want to reach, the fans who will see the show first, then, if they like it, encourage others to see it.

At 07 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, While new media certainly challenges the old guard, I can't help but believe that the latter still enjoys the last word, primarily because of its enormous reach. Still, I salute Fierstein for not being afraid to take on his critics.


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