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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Report Card---"Dead Accounts"

I saw the play "Dead Accounts" in New York a couple of weeks ago.
It was written by Theresa Rebeck, whose work I am familiar with because she was the creative muscle behind "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Smash".
Two TV series that I have liked very much.
I also saw her play "Seminar" earlier this year, which I didn't like hardly at all.
Actually, I had mixed feelings about "Seminar"
It contained very good dialogue, and very lousy storytelling.
It's nice to have both, but given my druthers, I'd opt for good storytelling over good dialogue any day.
So, walking into "Dead Accounts", there was a major curiosity factor.
Would the pattern hold up?
Did it ever.
Extremely good dialogue, accompanied by a bravura performance by Tony winner
Norbert Leo Butz, and extremely poor storytelling.
It's about a family that discovers that one of them is a major Bernie Madoff style
The reveal of this is made just before intermission, yet all the advertising quotes in front of the theatre tips us off about this.
It comes way too late, and doesn't really resolve itself satisfactorily.
But in the interim, the words whiz by.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Butz's presence makes it interesting.

Compelling even?


Is it controversial?

it dabbles in what's moral and what isn't, so I guess it's controversial.

Is it a story worth telling?


Is it good storytelling?

Aye, there's the rub.

Is it well written?

The dialogue is swell.

Is it well cast? Well played?, Well staged?

Yes, on all counts. Katie Holmes is really no better than average.

Was it too long? Too short?

It ran about two hours.
Lately, that's a pretty good bang for your buck.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Yes, I suppose, on both counts.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

I didn't predict that it wouldn't have an ending. That was surprising.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

Not at all.

Is it funny?

Very. It's a saving grace.

Was it worth the eighty bucks it cost?

Butz was impressive, but not eighty dollars worth.

Is the play impressive ?

It's a letdown

Overall grade: C.

So I think the jury is in on Theresa Rebeck.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."