Sep 19, 2005

Lighting a Candle on the Water

Shocked and sad to hear about the death of Variety's L.A. critic Joel Hirschhorn (pre-obit here). Joel was a sweet, thoughtful man I only got to know in the past year or so, since I joined the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. An accomplished, Oscar-winning and Tony-nominated songwriter, he was very supportive and friendly to me not only as a fellow critic but as a musician, as well. Indeed, he and I had been talking about writing a musical together; his idea was to do one based on the Vincent Price vehicle Theatre of Blood—that is, until a non-musical stage version recently popped up.

I always enjoyed reading his reviews and talking with him on a variety (no pun intended) of topics. My sympathies go to his wife, Jen. He will be missed. Will the LADCC, rocked by the deaths of a number of veteran critics in recent years, establish another special award in Joel's name? If they do, I suggest putting his name on an award honoring—what else?—new musicals.

I close with lyrics from a song I liked and learned long before I knew Joel, from the Disney film Pete's Dragon (starring, let's not forget, Helen Reddy and Mickey Rooney):
I’ll be your candle on the water,
’till ev’ry wave is warm and bright.
My soul is there beside you,
let this candle guide you.
Soon you’ll see a golden stream of light.

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