Shifting Ground

Among the problems plaguing contemporary musical theater, there are the deconstructionists--Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman at the forefront--who disdain linear narrative ("At Ease on New Ground," by Patrick Pacheco, July 8).

Some of their challenging works--virtual sung essays--may deserve and eventually find wider audiences. It hardly takes a "Broadway purist," however, to realize that the well-danced "Contact" is hardly a musical at all but ultimately a rather cold, clinical work of ballet wrapped seductively around an acerbic one-act play. The Tony Awards it landed amounted to an open admission by those who voted for them of how desperate they were last season for something to anoint "best musical."

What's next, Mr. Brooks?



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