Letter to readers about the new California section


Benvenuto Cellini
A judgmental Randy Newman likes what he sees
A judgmental Randy Newman likes what he sees

In his songs, Randy Newman has invented enough characters to stock a season's worth of Broadway musicals. Regretful lovers. Scared school boys. Unreconstructed rednecks. Blissfully smug Angelenos. An oddly contemporary Karl Marx. And, of course, short people. Which helps explain why, a few days ago, the L.A.-born, Big Easy-bred composer was sitting in a downtown Los Angeles rehearsal room, tapping his running shoes to the beat, amusement skittering across his eyes, while he watched a rehearsal of the new musical "Harps and Angels." A loosely structured revue of Newman's songs, conceived by theatrical polymath Jack Viertel and directed by multiple Tony Award-winner...