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Barry Singer
Over the course of a distinguished writing career, Barry Singer has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker, New York magazine, The New York Times Magazine and, for more than a decade, to The New York Times Arts & Leisure section, writing regularly on theater, opera and popular music.

His book BLACK AND BLUE: The Life and Lyrics of Andy Razaf was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He is also the author of EVER AFTER: The Last Years of Musical Theater and Beyond; and ALIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD, which won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music writing.

Barry Singer is the proprietor of CHARTWELL BOOKSELLERS in New York City, the only standing bookshop in the world devoted to the writings of Winston Churchill. His latest book is CHURCHILL STYLE: The Art of Being Winston Churchill, published in 2012 by Abrams Image.

Entries by Barry Singer

'Do I Hear A Waltz?' Yes, Finally

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 8:02 PM


When Encores! clicks, it renders the imperfect to perfection. Do I Hear A Waltz? is a famously imperfect Broadway musical that very few ever got to see. (It ran for roughly six months, after opening in March 1965, and rarely gets revived). The...

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Berrigan & Sheen & Churchill for One Night Only

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2016 | 1:46 PM

I can only imagine what Winston Churchill would have made of Daniel Berrigan. I do find it rather poignant to recall Father Berrigan, the Jesuit priest and peace activist, who died last Saturday at 94 and whose funeral Mass is today in New York City, descending on Chartwell Booksellers, my...

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'Bright Star:' But Clueless

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 1:51 PM


Moments into the jolly entr'acte orchestra hoedown that affably yanks Bright Star back after Intermission, inscrutably ignoring the un-jolly infanticide finale that has just closed out Act One, I turned my eyes heavenward. The intricacies of the Cort Theatre's architecture proved both soothing...

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'1776:' Dressed Down But Unbowed

(1) Comments | Posted April 6, 2016 | 12:12 AM


1776 is the most perfectly written musical that I know of and the best damn musical without a dance chorus that I have ever seen. After witnessing the latest iteration of the show again triumph this past weekend at Encores! despite production choices...

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'She Loves Me:' The Muscle of Melody

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2016 | 7:29 PM

Melody can really lift a musical. We tend to forget that today, as we savor shows where the heavy lifting is done by the flying winches or the maxed-out sonic levels or the puppets or the Mormons or the hooks, the beats,...
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'The Humans:' Locked Out and Alone

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2016 | 3:56 PM

I was really looking forward to seeing The Humans on Broadway. I was looking forward to seeing young Stephen Karam's widely-touted new play. I was looking forward to seeing my friend Reed Birney again light up a stage, especially on Broadway. As I...
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Churchill's Eyeglasses: The Saga of His Spectacles

(1) Comments | Posted March 7, 2016 | 2:39 PM


I first happened upon the aspect of Winston Churchill's eyewear while writing my book, CHURCHILL STYLE: The Art of Being Winston Churchill. Churchill's owlishly stylish, round tortoise shell frames turned up in photographs of him again and again, particularly those of...

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'Fiddler on the Roof:' A Farewell to Daughters

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2016 | 9:31 AM


I finally took my daughters to see Fiddler on the Roof after all these years and discovered, to my tear-stained enthrallment, that the show is actually about them.

I thought I knew Fiddler. It was the first...

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'Cabin in the Sky:' Augmented

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 2:05 PM

One of the inescapable blessings of our digital interconnectedness these days is that well chosen words beget well chosen words in reply virtually instantaneously. A writer no longer writes in a vacuum; the echo is immediate. Sometimes that can be quite horrifying. Other times it is rather marvelous. In the...

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'Cabin in the Sky:' A Ring Shout of Well-Intentioned Condescension

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2016 | 8:46 AM

I have long wondered about Cabin in the Sky. As the most celebrated creation of my favorite collaborator, the late-Vernon Duke (whom I never actually met but did write a...

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Churchill's Passing and a Marketplace Pierced By Lies

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2016 | 11:07 AM

Winston Churchill's epic state funeral on January 30, 1965, following his death on January 24 at the age of 90, is an occasion that I have commemorated now for at least thirty-two years, since opening my Churchillian bookstore, Chartwell Booksellers, in...
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Artistry in Dance: 'American Dance Machine' & 'Noises Off'

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2016 | 3:48 PM


We struck gold twice in a matter of weeks -- my daughters, Lea and Sara, and I -- intoxicating artistry in dance at a pair of performances spanning the old and new year. Just on the cusp of New Year's Eve, we caught...

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New Year's Eve at The Beaufort Bar Searching for The Savoy Orpheans

(1) Comments | Posted December 31, 2015 | 9:25 AM

I want to spend New Year's Eve at the Savoy Hotel in London dancing to the Savoy Orpheans. But they're long gone. The Orpheans were the resident dance band at the Savoy from 1923 to 1927, and on and off thereafter throughout the...
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'School of Rock' Comes to My House

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2015 | 7:51 AM


Most kids today grow up in homes that are childproofed for their own protection. My kids grew up in a household that was Andrew Lloyd Webber-proofed. Not a note of Lord LW's lugubrious bombast ever penetrated my daughters' defenseless ears. This was not...

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The Churchillian Sinatra

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2015 | 1:56 PM


Frank Sinatra and Winston Churchill met only once, so far as I know. On June 14, 1958, Sinatra was in Monte Carlo for the world premiere of his World War II film, Kings Go Forth. Winston Churchill...

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Gilbert and Brown Immemorial

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2015 | 5:17 PM


I've been thinking about the memorial service that I attended recently for my late friend and mentor, Sir Martin Gilbert; Winston Churchill's official biographer and so much more. I am, I confess, not a great one for memorial services. To begin with, they're...

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A Churchill Painting: "Silver Life"

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 10:40 AM

I recently held one of Winston Churchill's paintings in my hands. It was a first for me. And a story worth telling.

Winston Churchill completed exactly 537 paintings. They are relatively easy to count; nearly all of them still reside at Chartwell, his...

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Harold Arlen at 110: Before It's Too Late

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2015 | 11:27 AM

Ten years ago, I was paid the most money I have ever been paid for a magazine article (still). The payer was Vanity Fair magazine; the subject was the composer Harold Arlen; the occasion, the centennial of his birth. My story was bought, paid for and then killed just before...

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Enter An Adult: A Visit from George Mitchell

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 4:07 PM

The adults, it nearly seems, have all gone from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., leaving behind a playpen teeming with delinquents. One wise, early escapee, former-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, came to Chartwell Booksellers on September 30 to talk about his new book, The Negotiator....

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Not-Cumberbatch: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Outdoors in London

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2015 | 11:07 AM


I am just back from London, where Cumberbatch's the thing and the rest is silence, insofar as London theater is concerned. Normally, I would have been scrambling like everyone else to score a ticket to see his Hamlet. In fact, I did ask...

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