By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Fasch (Steven Pounders) is the liberal who wants to take German music in new directions. Lenck (Andy Baldwin) is a sly scoundrel with gambling debts to pay off. Sexy young Steindorff (Stephen Levall) comes from an aristocratic family feuding with the residents of the town that produced Kaufmann (Chris Hauge), who's also trying for the organist job. Serving as the barrier to all upstarts is Schott (David H.M. Lambert), a Leipzig organ master trying to leapfrog over all outsiders. Gliding past everyone without a word is the stately Telemann (Art Peden), revered and feared. And what about this kid named Bach? Anybody heard him play yet? (The characters and the audition are based on real events, though Moses' depiction of everything in the play is pure invention.)
Like the tribemates on Survivor, the musicians form alliances, backstab, bribe and try to outwit and outplay each other. In the form of a conversational fugue, Bach at Leipzig slows down its frenzied farce only for digressions into the dogma of Lutheran religion and a deconstruction of drama itself, with commentary on the laziness of spilling exposition by having characters speak directly to the audience—something this play does constantly and to amusing effect.
The Blue Moon Dancing continues at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas through September 12. Call 214-828-0094.
Bach at Leipzig continues at Fort Worth’s Circle Theatre through September 18. Call 817-877-3040.
Director Robin Armstrong has choreographed witty sword fights and a graceful semi-ballet into the staging as the men whirl around in their exquisite brocade greatcoats (designed and sewn by Armstrong). With superb performances by all, and an especially sharp turn by Baldwin, Bach at Leipzig only gets funnier as the plot lightens.