‘Heartbeats’ Looks at Love Links


Wow! I was amazed to read the Counterpunch piece by Cheryl Layne Farrell concerning my musical play, “Heartbeats,” currently playing at the Pasadena Playhouse (“An Out of Sync ‘Heartbeats,’ ” Calendar, Aug. 1). Who knew I was writing such a controversial piece of theater? My total intention in the writing of this piece was to create a gentle, sometimes humorous look at the dilemma that exists between men and woman of my generation as we struggle down the road of connubial compatibility. There has never been anything of a racially derogatory nature in this piece. That she should perceive it so alarms me.

It illustrates yet again the terrible danger we currently face of losing one of the few saving attributes we possess . . . the ability to laugh at ourselves, and through laughter, to heal.

Cheryl Farrell is obviously an intelligent and concerned woman. But her examples of my misguided racism confuse me. I was not aware that no one other than a black person was allowed to write or sing a blues song, one of my favorite musical forms. Someone please tell Bonnie Raitt to stop doing what she does so well. For that matter, perhaps Lena Horne and Kathleen Battle . . . even better . . . Whitney Houston, had better cease and desist from performing songs written by anyone other than their peers.

Farrell also took exception to one fragment of one of my lyrics in which the lead character asks, hypothetically and humorously, “If I tell him how I feel, do I think he’d hit me with an ax?” I wrote this song three years before the unfortunate court case to which she refers that now so mesmerizes and polarizes this city.


This play is not about spousal abuse. It is very obviously about lack of communication between the sexes and, in the end, resolves in a nonviolent and hopeful manner. Am I, as she suggests, to rewrite my play because she misinterprets an intention no one else has found objectionable? Does the word censorship rear its ugly head here? Is political correctness now the polite term for thought control?

The play was not to her taste. Fine. Many audience members are enjoying themselves to the utmost. The people who do, laugh, cry and leave the theater holding hands and talking to each other and not about abuse and intolerance, which is not the purpose of the piece, but about each other, which is .