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We’ll Take Manhattan

A terrific read, don’t pass it up: James Wolcott’s nifty, personal history of The New Yorker magazine. This essay stemmed from a purchase of The Complete New Yorker and, like the author, I too have been using mine to get lost in the pages. Currently I’m going through the musical theatre reviews chronologically starting from January 1970. Having just read Ethan Mordden’s book on ’70s musicals, I wanted to check out what NYer theatre critic Brendan Gill (along with Edith Oliver, who covered Off-Broadway) thought of these productions when they were new. Gill was such an engaging, witty writer that even his pans are a vicarious pleasure — and reading them chronologically gives one a real feel of the seasons and shifting trends in musical theatre.

One interesting thing I found in these old issues is Rea Irwin’s wonderful masthead drawing for the magazine’s theatre department. This art was used from the first issue in 1925 all the way up to December 1978, only to be replaced with … nothing. Why William Shawn decided to yank it, we’ll never know.


One Thought on “We’ll Take Manhattan

  1. The New Yorker magazine has a long and storied history. There are few magazines like it that are still around.

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