From my hate mail inbox

I received the following e-mail from a devoted reader:

Just read your review of “Dreamgirls” in last friday’s (9.7.2010) edition of The Dallas Voice.  You must be another one of those smug University of North Texass alums.  The reason Lupe Murchison endowed that school was, and I quote her verbatim : “Those poor kids will need ALL the help that they can get; truly a sad, sad situation there.”  She was a close personal friend of my godmother, Edith O’Donnell so I DO KNOW, first ‘ear,’ from whence I speak.

If you had even bothered to do your home work, Mr. Arnold-Wayne Jones,  you would’ve known that they had a slate of RAVE REVIEWS from their performances at The Apollo Theatre in NYC. Inclusive of  The NY Times.  They are also the same cast/troupe that took the stage in a tour-de-force in South Korea; quite impressing their audiences and critics with their voices and diction in NATIVE KOREAN.

I strongly suggest that you ‘hitch’ your faded and tarnished star BACK to that connestoga and try to find a better acadaemic venue from which you can truly garner the concepts of good theatre …

Cheerios,

Cal

Allow me to respond, Cal.

First, I did not in fact graduate from UNT, but rather with distinction from the University of Virginia. Then from its law school. Cal, on the other hand, misspells “Texas” as “Texass,” misuses the term “whence” (it does not take the word “from;” it implies it), and parts with “Cheerios,” which is a cereal; he perhaps means cheerio, which is a salutation. He also misspells my name, adding a hyphen where it doesn’t belong.

Second, I get letters like this all the time. The ones that are least persuasive are the ones that point out that this play, or this star, or this company, got a rave review in another town. How could that possibly matter to me? I’ve seen plenty of shitty productions of good plays; plenty of good actors who give bad performances, and seen more terrible art that others cream over than I can possibly imagine. The Passion of the Christ made $300 million; that doesn’t mean it was good.

You have a complaint with me, fine. Engage me. But name-calling? And, at that, against a school I have no connection to? That doesn’t insult me, just the school. The University of Virginia also produced smug bastards, though it wasn’t founded by Lupe Murchison — it was founded by Thomas Jefferson.

I’m confident of my theater-going credentials and my judgment. Anyway, I pretty much liked the production of Dreamgirls, save for Syesha Mercado’s limp vocal performance and flaws in the script. My full review is here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones