IT WAS in fall 2005 when Moses’ whirling, Stoppardesque farce “Bach at Leipzig” bowed in a glittering off-Broadway production, bearing an admiring introductory note by no less than Tom Stoppard himself. The New York press, never fond of being scooped, smelled a rat. In notices that seemed to review the hype as much as the show, the New York Times declared it “hollow” and the Village Voice called it “time-wasting nonsense.” Many critics acknowledged Moses’ promise but dismissed the play as too clever for its own good.
“You can either discover a play or take its pants off,” says Jerry Patch, director of artistic development at the Manhattan Theatre Club, who has championed Moses’ work, both at MTC and in his previous post as co-artistic director at the Old Globe. “If Tom Stoppard has already discovered you — well, that really worked to Itamar’s disadvantage. The critical reception severely damaged him, but he’s a tough kid, and he came back from it. I told him, ‘Now they’ve had their dinner on you, you’ll be all right.’ “