Ed Rampell: The conservative thesp’s selection to portray Voltaire and Pangloss is also inspired, in that Grammer’s most popular character, Dr. Frasier Crane, was a psychotherapist in the beloved Cheers sitcom, who went on to dispense psychological advice as a radio shrink on the air in TV’s Frasier spin-off series.
Ed Rampell: This patriotic opera can be seen as a rallying cry not only for the downtrodden Israelites but for all national liberation struggles from Catalonia to, ironically, today’s Palestinians.
I recently met Mark Will at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Gongguan to speak with him about the band’s eighth single, “If You Insist.”
Sikivu Hutchinson: Bound by blacker-than-thou identity politics, respectable black women have always been warned to beware of such musical apostasy. Why would “real sistas” want to listen to, much less play, that “white boy music”?
Ed Rampell: The songs are mostly not merely sung but acted out, bringing to life their often bittersweet themes as if they are vignettes in a play: Obsession, romance, lost love, getting old, the end of the life cycle and more.