NYT Critic: Drama Is Another Casualty of War





ON June 10 “Journey’s End” is likely to become the first show in recent memory to come to the end of its journey on Broadway on the very same day it takes home a major Tony award. The production is the favorite to win the prize as the best play revival of the season and is nominated in several other categories. But the producers have already set Tony Sunday, the industry’s annual festive rites, as the closing date....

What gives? A clue might be found in the fate of “Letters From Iwo Jima,” the acclaimed Clint Eastwood movie from last year. Few films were more enthusiastically reviewed than the second half of Mr. Eastwood’s somber diptych about the fiercely fought battle between American and Japanese troops in the waning days of World War II. But audiences gave it a skip, despite all the critical hosannas and Mr. Eastwood’s status as a popular star turned bona fide artiste. The same fate had already greeted “Flags of Our Fathers,” which focused on the same battle from the American perspective. The critics raved; audiences shrugged.

A potential conclusion: War in the newspapers isn’t necessarily good for war on movie screens and stages. The conflict in Iraq (and Afghanistan) is so much with us these days that maybe audiences have no inclination to engage with stories from old battlefields....


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