Entertainment & Arts

Feedback: Debating Michael Jackson’s legacy, ‘Rent’ understudies and Betty Buckley’s stage roles

Betty Buckley
Betty Buckley’s fans are vocal — be they in her hometown of Fort Worth or in Los Angeles too.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Theater’s golden goddess

Regarding Charles McNulty’s article about Betty Buckley [“Nothing to Prove,” Jan. 27]: Yes indeed, she’s my favorite stage and film star. Some of us Fort Worthians grew up with her. All of us really benefit from that great friendship, and we can’t help feeling special to know her at all. She’s a Broadway golden goddess in our eyes. Thank you for an entertaining piece.

Sally Antrim Bruton

Fort Worth



Buckley’s first starring role on Broadway, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in 1985. Her performance and recording of that musical gave her recognition as a true star. Incidentally, that show also featured young, upcoming stars Donna Murphy, Cleo Laine, Judy Kuhn and Rob Marshall.

Richard Kopelle

Los Angeles

Love U give for critic’s pick

I want to thank Justin Chang for including “The Hate U Give” in his critic’s picks [“Teen Transformed by ‘Hate’,” Jan. 25]. This is one of the most underrated and overlooked movies of 2018; it would never have seen the light of day if it weren’t for talented critics who tirelessly advocate for great films that would otherwise go unnoticed. We might never have another Jonathan Gold, but thanks to talented writers such as Chang and Kenneth Turan, The Times is truly the pride of Los Angeles.


Jack Lee


Moviegoer’s reward system

Regarding “Calendar Feedback: Bang the Drum, Languidly” [Jan. 27]: No offense to a recent letter writer and fellow “member of the moviegoing public,” but anyone who thinks “The Rider” or “If Beale Street Could Talk” [chosen as picks by Times film critic Justin Chang] are “languid, grim, and self indulgent” can’t share my popcorn.

Phil Brimble

Los Angeles

A few thoughts on Jackson doc

Monday’s paper had an article [“Jackson Doc Provokes His Supporters,” Jan. 28 by Amy Kaufman and Gerrick Kennedy] about fans of Michael Jackson who dispute what two men claim in the docu-series “Leaving Neverland,” that as children they engaged in sexual activity with the pop superstar. The main argument of Jackson’s defenders: Both men testified on the pop star’s behalf in a 1993 sexual-abuse case brought by a different boy, and claimed at the time that Jackson never did anything inappropriate; therefore, we can’t believe anything they say now if they “…had been lying for the last 20 years.” We have to consider what we really mean by lying in this type of situation. A question much before the public these days.

As a psychotherapist with more than 25 years’ experience, I can state this with some authority. When children are confronted with a situation very different from their ordinary experience — or a situation so severe it throws all their assumptions of safety down the toilet, either through coercion or seduction — to keep living, they have to find a way to incorporate that experience into their lives.

It is often a long process that might take “forgetting” or burying it deep, or creating a fiction they can live with. It is not an action taken to cover up a wrongdoing or manipulate other people.


Bridget Tucker

Laguna Woods


Regarding “‘Leaving Neverland’ Director Talks Michael Jackson Sexual Abuse Accusations and Potential Fallout” [Jan. 25, by Amy Kaufman]: The telling fact for me was when “Leaving Neverland’s” director is quoted as saying, “I was never particularly fond of Jackson’s music.” I will say that an implicit bias could be involved.

My memory is that Jackson was never convicted of any crime, and he is now dead. When I read in the article about “truth,” I will say that merely because a movie has been made, that does not make anything true. I also am saying that what the two adult men are now saying is their truth. Do not let all of this publicity ruin your lives.

Robert Baron


Gerrick D. Kennedy’s “A Jolt for This MJ Fan” [Jan. 29] is the finest piece of writing to appear in The Times in my memory. I was attracted to this story since I lived near several of Jackson’s homes in Encino and am mildly aware of his career if not his music.


The writer’s description of his feelings about Jackson’s work and personal life are profound and compelling without the crudity of a tabloid. Please keep this young journalist very, very busy.

David Sievers


No ‘Rent’ relief for this TV cast

Regarding “‘Rent’ Revels in a Bygone New York” by Robert Lloyd Jan. 29]: Didn’t the production of “Rent Live on Fox” have understudies? Understudies are there for a reason, such as someone breaking their foot, and are prepared to step in so that the show can go on.

Steve Shaevel

Woodland Hills

Editor’s note: The production of “Rent Live on Fox” did not have understudies.

Enchanted with Legrand’s music

Regarding Mikael Wood’s appreciation “Romance Was Always on His Mind” [Jan. 28]: This captured Michel Legrand and his music of love beautifully. Nobody mentions that the same duo of Legrand and Jacques Demy also wrote the music for 1967’s “The Young Girls of Rochefort,” which was nominated for an Academy Award and is another lovely example of Legrand’s enchantment with the music of love. Catherine Deneuve starred, along with George Chakiris and Gene Kelly. The movie was the inspiration for “La La Land.” The music has some of the same melodies, the idea of dancing and singing to tell the story and all the brightly colored costumes. I loved “La La Land,” but after seeing this movie, I felt it wasn’t as original as it seemed.

Freddi Hill


This ‘Circus’ a help to animals

Just a brief but heartfelt thank you to Jessica Gelt for her entertaining and informing overview [“She’s Just Following Her Animal Instincts,” Jan. 26] of the inspiring production “Link Link Circus,” written and performed by actress and animal advocate Isabella Rossellini. I immediately telephoned for tickets, but was informed that the performances were all sold out. I can only hope that there is an extension. Rossellini’s production will spark a recognition of the worth of animals domestic and wild, and that will help those of us who toil in the trenches of advocacy to change laws as well as minds for the betterment of all creatures.

Elaine Livesey-Fassel

Los Angeles

What’s so bad about feeling good?

Regarding “‘Green Book’ Tops at PGA Awards” [Jan. 21]: Since when has the term “feel-good movie” become negative? Many of us use films to escape the stress of daily life. We go to be entertained, and if we walk out “feeling good,” what is wrong with that?

Dvorah Colker

Los Angeles

Close not snubbed

Regarding Oscar Nominations: Change Reigns” [Jan. 23] by Glenn Whipp: Given that Hollywood is so hungry for diversity, one should not be surprised that an unknown actress such as Yalitza Aparicio from the movie “Roma” has been nominated for an Oscar.

What about Glenn Close? I guess she is too white.

Christine Peterson

Woodland Hills

Editor’s note: Close is in fact up for an Oscar this year, for her role in “The Wife.” It is her seventh nomination.

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