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$16.47 $3.87 list($24.95)
41. Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of
$21.95 $4.65 list($28.64)
42. The Phoenix: Noel Coward Diaries
$6.29 $4.27 list($6.99)
43. To Be Young, Gifted and Black
$9.75 $0.86 list($13.00)
44. Farewell: A Memoir of a Texas
$19.95 $13.52
45. The Essential Samuel Beckett:
list($18.00)
46. Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich
$10.50 $0.54 list($14.00)
47. The Play Goes On: A Memoir
$4.95 list($30.00)
48. Edward Albee: A Singular Journey
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49. Sunday: A Memoir
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50. An Unfinished Woman : A Memoir
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51. Diary of a Mad Playwright
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52. Shakespeare: A Life
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53. The Show Makers: Great Directors
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54. Ridiculous! : The Theatrical Life
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55. 44 Dublin Made Me
$45.00
56. Sophie Tucker: First Lady of Show
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57. The Diary of Lillie Langtry: And
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58. Pirandello's Love Letters to Marta
$17.95 $12.80
59. Vsevolod Meyerhold (Routledge
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60. David Merrick: The Abominable

41. Just Lucky I Guess: A Memoir of Sorts
by Carol Channing
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743216067
Catlog: Book (2002-10-15)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 179082
Average Customer Review: 2.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Well, hello, Dolly!

Carol Channing, one of America's most beloved and enduring theatrical legends, takes on her most challenging role yet: as the author of this funny, ribald, and moving memoir.


Known across the nation for her portrayal of the irresistible Dolly Levi, the title character of the Broadway musical phenomenon, Hello, Dolly!, Carol Channing is perhaps the only living theatrical star whose name brings a smile to the face of people in virtually every city and town across America and Canada, to say nothing of London, Melbourne, and Sydney. Her performance as the droll and leggy Lorelei Lee in the Broadway version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes made her a star and launched a career that has spanned over fifty years and has included a number of Broadway plays, many television appearances, and two movies, including Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Capping them all, of course, was her Tony award-winning signature performance as the irrepressible Dolly.

Conversational in style, and written entirely by Miss Channing, this star-studded chronicle gives you the feeling that you are sitting down with this fascinating woman and having her delight you with tales from her long and amazing life, both personal and professional. You'll be invited behind the scenes for stories featuring an all-star cast of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Tallulah Bankhead, Gower Champion, Clint Eastwood, Julie Andrews, Marlene Dietrich, David Merrick, Noël Coward, Al Pacino, and Yul Brynner. And you'll learn of the not-so-glamorous times, too, as Miss Channing reveals her theatrical triumphs, her heritage, and her winning battle with ovarian cancer. Through it all, Carol Channing -- the real star of this story -- demonstrates with wit and candor how she kept up her spirits and forged fearlessly ahead.

From the first page to its triumphant conclusion -- and including many never-before-seen photographs -- Just Lucky I Guess is perhaps Miss Carol Channing's most engaging performance yet. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Delightful Carol
I eagerly awaited the release of this book, purchased my own copy, and sat down to read one of the most delightful memoirs in recent years. I could just hear the marvelously distinctive voice of Miss Channing as I read along and at one point, began to believe that I was part of a personal conversation between old friends.
Miss Channing writes with remarkable candor and insight gleaned from many years of experiencing life. Her remembrances of her great stage triumphs (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Hello, Dolly!) are mingled with tales of family life with her extraordinary parents and her later friendships and romances.
There is nothing salacious here, just good, fun reading by a totally delightful woman.

1-0 out of 5 stars Two bricks short of a load.....
What a waste of money & time!!!!!! The author is obviously in her dotage & cannot complete a sentence or a thought.Where were her editors???? Very disappointing read!!!! I've always enjoyed Carol Channing, but it was a chore to get thorugh this book. A little of her ramblings goes a long way. I suspect that Carol thinks these non-sequiters are part of her charm. Boo to the publisher of this book. One would think they'd have known better than to try to foist this inferior book off on an unsuspecting public.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a cover
I showed this book to my children and now they can't sleep.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delicious memoir by a Delightful LEGEND!
This chatty, funny book is just the tonic for those who find little to admire in today's wasteland of celebrities. This lady has been there and done it all, and lived to tell the tale. This book would make a wonderful basis for a one-woman Broadway show, which is HOPEFULLY in the works. The Channing that emerges in this book is a warm, witty celebrant of life who has worked for decades and even managed to find true love, at long last. A book for everyone who loves the theatre.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Very Sad Book (A Very Scary Cover)
Ummm...not good.
Cy Feuer's memiors are so much better. Ms. Channing's memiors make me vomit. 1st of all get a better cover picture. Second of all, if you're gonna bake a 300 paged book, at least write it in an organized fasion. A terrible, terrible read! WARNING: Don't get it! It causes your mind to go nuts! ... Read more


42. The Phoenix: Noel Coward Diaries
by Graham Payn, Sheridan Morley
list price: $28.64
our price: $21.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1842120662
Catlog: Book (2000-11-01)
Publisher: Sterling
Sales Rank: 1046702
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Witty and sophisticated, a brilliant dramatist and a charismatic actor, the multitalented Noël Coward was one of the most colorful personalities who ever strode across the stage. These diaries chronicle the last 30 years of his life, from his wartime concert tours through his private and professional depression in the 1950s to his triumphant reemergence and knighthood in the 1960s and '70s. "Compulsive reading...what Coward has to say about other people is light-hearted, witty, often shrewd, totally without malice...his final entertainment for everyone's pleasure are these diaries." --Sunday Times. "A constant delight. A goldmine of gossip with a cast of a thousand stars."
--Guardian.

... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Every Year At Christmas....Noel Coward!!!
Virtually every person I know has a favorite Christmas tradition, an activity that they perform every year that is theirs and theirs alone, and that sums up the Christmas spirit of peace, good will, and love. For my own tradition, every year at this time, I reread this wonderful book. Why, you may ask? Well, I'll do my best to explain. I received this book as a Christmas present from a dear friend when it was first published in 1982. It quickly became my favorite book, and I find that it both inspires and delights me with every new reread. I was an actor and theatre person for many years, just long enough to discover one truth about Sir Noel Coward: This stylish and elegant man, actor, singer, playwright par excellence, and all around bon vivant, simply knew more about life in general and the theatre in particular than any other person I've ever encountered. Whether dealing with stubborn, recalcitrant actresses who refuse to wear their hair properly (i.e. Mary Martin), or facing the loss of a livelong confidant (his personal secretary, Lorn Loraine), Coward's show of sheer courage, strength, and determination in facing the everyday stresses and strains of life, and with considerable humor and great goodwill, seems to me the essence of the Christmas (and, by extension, the human) spirit. Organized in chapters by the years the diary entries were made (1945 to 1969, with a prologue that covers the World War II years as one section), the book is a very relaxed and enjoyable read (usually, a chapter a night works well), and covers the time period of the years following his initial successes (by the time the entries begin, Coward had already written his best known works: Private Lives, Desigh for Living, Hay Fever, and Blithe Spirit) through the 1950's and the years of abuse at the hands of narrow-minded critics (who considered him too "shallow" and "commercial"), and on through the 1960's and his renaissance period (when many of those same critics found his plays fashionable once again). Through it all, the successes, tragedies and failures, the many, many encounters with the rich and famous (Coward knew virtually every famous person of his day and counted many as lifelong friends), and most of all, the wit and wisdom of one of the most fascinating persons of our time will keep the devoted reader enthralled for all 700 plus pages. I could say much more about The Noel Coward Diaries, but a hundred reviews could not contain it all, so I will close by saying please make this book a present for yourself (and/or someone you love). Trust me, it will be one of the wittiest, most delightful, and truly Merriest Christmases you have ever spent!!! ... Read more


43. To Be Young, Gifted and Black
by Lorraine Hansberry
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0451159527
Catlog: Book (1987-07-01)
Publisher: Signet Book
Sales Rank: 188525
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars I Can Relate
I remember reading this book thinking that I could relate to the author perfectly well. Though I am not a playright, I do understand a lot of what she is saying. There should and will never be a borderline or a glass ceiling or anything else to hold me down. You are who you are regardless of what is . . . There is no turning back only that which is to be gained and won.

When I think of Lorraine Hansberry I think of a woman who achieved the impossible in an impossible time. She completed her plays with such intensity and flair . . . As if she lived and researched each every act.

Nevertheless, I feel that Hansberry was stating that to be "Young, gifted, and black," is clearly to be aware of who and what you are . . . and to take this knowledge of who and what you are and to run with it. Taking a chance when given a chance, or rather taking a chance and creating an opportunity with merely a bit of the gift that you had.

I will always remember what Thurgood Marshall, he basically stated that "He did the best with what he had." Is that being merely good or is that being the best. I believe that the concept of this book is not to be mistaken. I believe Hansberry is saying, "Hey sister, hold your head up high. It does not matter what this world thinks of you. It only merely matters about what you can do for yourself and your fellowman. Do you know your gifts? Hey write it down. You are worth perfecting."

Lorraine Hansberry did wonders in her lifetime she did so much for her community and her fellowman. My question to myself and others is . . . What about your gifts? Hey write them down. They are worth perfecting.

4-0 out of 5 stars Poignant and inspiring
Getting inside the head of such a great thinker is a wonderful opportunity. The only negative comment I could make about this book is that a few of the passages included from Hansberry's lesser-known plays were not as powerful as the passages from speeches, journals, and A Raisin in the Sun. It is tragic that the world lost a truly gifted and spirited writer at such a young age. If you enjoyed A Raisin in the Sun, you'll also find this a rewarding read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Young, gifted, and brilliant
I found this book in the library and fell in love with it instantly. The passages from Hansberry's plays and journal enteries were quite powerful- witty, yet moving. She truly had a gift for describing the human condition- AS IT IS, rather than how it "should be." However, I must admit to finding myself at a bit of a cultural disadvantage at times, as the author assumes that most readers will be familiar with African American lingo from the '50s. While some readers like myself may have difficulty understanding certain expressions, etc, the sharp overall messages and delightful writing style make this book both a learning experience and a pleasure to read. I hope others will gain as much from this book as I have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Universal, Accessible, and Powerful!
I thought this was an absolutely beautiful book. Hansberry had such a gift for writing about the human spirit. I hope that the students who say they got nothing from reading this book come back to it as adults and give it another try. I found it to be inspiring. It will definitely join my list of favorites!

3-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but not so Bright
I couldnt really understand it, as much as other people could. Had trouble with the words. It is not something that teenagers could relate well to unless you are African American. ... Read more


44. Farewell: A Memoir of a Texas Childhood
by Horton Foote
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 068486570X
Catlog: Book (2000-06-05)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 247258
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For more than five decades, Horton Foote, "the Chekhov of the small town," has chronicled the changes in American life -- both intimate and universal. His adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and his original screenplay Tender Mercies earned him Academy Awards. He received an Indie Award for Best Writer for The Trip to Bountiful and a Pulitzer Prize for The Young Man from Atlanta.

In his plays and films, Foote has returned over and over again to Wharton, Texas, where he was born and where he lives, once again, in the house in which he grew up. Now for the first time, in Farewell, Foote turns to prose to tell his own story and the stories of the real people who have inspired his characters. His memoir is both a celebration of the immense importance of community and evidence that even a strong community cannot save a lost soul. Farewell is as deeply moving as the best of Foote's writing for film and theater, and a gorgeous testimony to his own faith in the human spirit. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Patina of Memories...
As someone who grew up in a small town in Texas, I can identify with so much of this book. My late Mother's childhood and her stories of growing up in a rural area with colorful characters are very similar to Mr. Foote's story. If you didn't grow up in this era or in a small town, these stories may not have the charm I feel about them, but Horton Foote could bring a tear to a glass eye with his charming memories, and I will bet that he can tug at your heartstrings as well. There is a place for sentiment and burnished memories in this busy life of ours, and I found myself wanting more after reading this memoir. As I read this book, I found myself envisioning the whole story in a pleasant sepia toned, soft cocoon of a state of mind. You come too.

3-0 out of 5 stars It takes a village...
Among all the facinating characters of the small town, Mr. Foote must be the town gossip (but not a malicious one). Seems like Mr. Foote knew EVERYONE... and I don't think he left anybody out, either. Fun to read, good storytelling style, but it seemed more like a series of great characters sketches than a "real" memoir. At the end I was frustrated that I didn't find out more about how he got started as an actor/playwrite/etc. But that's nothing a sequel won't solve.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Texas Childhood
Think life in a small town is idyllic? Think again. Horton Foote gives us a portrait of his home town, complete with the details many wish to forget. Pettiness. Alcoholism. Racism.

At the same time, Foote describes his childhood in tones that leave a lasting impression of roots and home. Of growing up and new responsibility. Of family.

Foote has shared with us his appreciation for small town life in such great works as "To Kill a Mockingbird", "The Trip to Bountiful" and now "Farewell". Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Childhood Remembered
I just finished re-reading this book, and enjoyed it more this time than previously, probably because I literally devoured the first read. I come from a rather limited circle of family and was enchanted by the seemingly endless supply of relatives and their stories. To be embraced by such an environment as a child and to relate this to the reader is to share a very precious gift. Thank you Mr. Foote,and please give us a sequel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Time Travel to the First Half of the 20th Century
Three nights ago I had the pleasure of meeting Horton Foote when he spoke and signed at an Austin bookstore. One hears his clear, distinctive voice in the cadence of his prose. Mr. Foote doesn't romanticize the past; he just tells the story of his childhood, leaving the reader with a vision of life in a time when family counted for all and people spoke in whispers about the same types of violence, bigotry, and family secrets that now assail us in the media. For an established playwright, Foote meets the challenge of prose writing successfully. Readers of this book will want a sequel--to know what happened to the teenage Foote who says "Farewell" to small town Wharton, TX and travels by bus to Pasadena, CA intending to launch a career as an actor. Including a geneology page would have helped this reader. I found myself drawing a scribbledy graphic of Foote's multi-branched family tree to keep all the "greats" and uncles and cousins under control. Overall, this was a delightful read putting me back in touch with the world of my parents and grandparents. ... Read more


45. The Essential Samuel Beckett: An Illustrated Biography, Revised Edition
by Enoch Brater
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0500284113
Catlog: Book (2003-06-30)
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Sales Rank: 885564
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Book Description

Since Enoch Brater's essential study of Samuel Beckett's life and works was originally published before Beckett died, the author has taken the opportunity of this paperback reprint to bring his subject up to date. Beckett was undoubtedly a difficult writer, and one of the virtues of this biography is to give the general reader easier access to all aspects of his work, particularly the more elliptic theater and prose pieces of his later years. Brater follows Beckett's career from the early days in Ireland to the efflorescence in his chosen expatriate home in France just after the Second World War, and beyond that to his success in the rest of the world as a result of the universal appeal of his cryptic, moving play Waiting for Godot.

Brater emphasizes the Irish rhythms in Beckett's writing and examines, at all stages, the intriguing relationship between his fiction and his compositions for theater, film, and television. Supported by a generous selection of photographs, including many examples of Beckett productions in all parts of the world, this is the indispensable guide to understanding one of the literary geniuses of the twentieth century. 122 b/w illustrations. The first edition was published under the title Why Beckett?. ... Read more


46. Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss
by Kenneth Silverman
list price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006092862X
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 349922
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the most comprehensive biography written about the great illusionist yet, author Ken Silverman, who has won both a Pulitzer and a Bancroft prize,draws on never-before-used scrapbooks, personal diaries, court transcripts and hundreds of unpublished notes and letters collected from around the world to reveal a far richer, more personal view of Houdini than ever before. While Silverman focuses on the magic and miraculous escapes that made Houdini a legend and the most celebrated, highest-paid performer of his day, he also delves deeply into Houdini's fascinating personal life. He explores Houdini's many friendships with politicians and celebrities like Jack Dempsey, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Jack London, the Astors and others.He looks into his traumatic encounters with anti-Semitism; his close-knit family; his strange and troubled relationship with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; and his bitter war against spiritualism.He also uncovers new revelations about Houdini's secret affair with the widow of a famous American writer. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative - Yes. But, boring
I bought this book for my father, who is a huge magic-buff, and recalls hearing about Houdini while growing up.

Of course, I knew then that my father never reads books, and my hopes that he would break that pattern and read this one were lost. So, I took it home and read it. Er, read most of it.

I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story, but I couldn't get past the fact that the manner in which the book is written was less than enthralling. I just couldn't stay interested! I wanted to, I wanted to!!

If you're interested in learning about Houdini, I'd find something smaller to being your foray - like a three-fold brochure or something.

Houdini ROCKED! This book doesn't.

5-0 out of 5 stars Revisiting a Childhood Hero
From the time I could count my age on my fingers, Houdini fascinated me; I read everything regarding him that I could get my hands on. So I already knew a lot of what Silverman mentions in Houdini!!!

However, this book actually managed to surprise me. First of all, most of what I read from the ages of seven to fifteen were biographies written in the "Boy's Life" mode, heroic tales which read more like dime novels than actual biography. Not only does Silverman present an accurate, well-researched account of Houdini's life, he also accounts for many of the myths surrouding Houdini, even in some cases explaining how Houdini himself contributed to some of the confusion. Because the book is so even-handed, I walked away from the book still admiring my childhood hero.

Second, Silverman brings a magician's perspective to this biography. He describes at length the presentation and details of the effects that Houdini accomplished, such as the Metamorphoses, the Milk Can Escape, the Chinese Water Torture, and numerous jail and handcuff escapes. However, he does not "give away the store" by spilling the secrets to the man's life. Sure, some of Houdini's secrets are now known, others not, but Silverman refrains from writing a kiss-and-tell book, and I had to admire that.

Lastly, Silverman went a lot further than I've ever seen in describing both the man and his times. While I've known for years that Houdini lived in a very exciting time, Silverman portrays him as truly a man for his age. From Houdini's interactions with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Theodore Roosevelt, H.P. Lovecraft, Sarah Bernhardt, and Hollwood's silent film stars, to his involvement with aviation, spiritualism, movie making, and more, Silverman makes a case that Houdini brought together much of what first made the modern age modern.

Houdini!!! did not perpetuate the same tall tales that all the movies and Houdini himself put forwrd. Instead, this biography exposed Houdini for what he was--a physically accomplished, master showman, sometimes ego-driven, yet principled man who always struggled to accomplish more.

Given the wide array of misinformation that exists about Harry Houdini, this book outshines the rest. Quite enjoyable.

5-0 out of 5 stars the Index of all Biographies for Houdini
Informational source containing very detailed events in Houdini's career from birth to death. Is very accurate and well written. This award-winning biography was written with the help of the experts at the Houdini Museum at Scranton, PA. A very reliable source with many unique photos and illustrations. To learn more about Houdini, go to ... .

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best
I've read every biography on Harry Houdini and this is without question the best of the lot. Certainly it is the most comprehensive and professional. Silverman has not just recycled information gleaned from old bios (as Ruth Brandon did in The Life & Many Deaths of Harry Houdini); he has done fresh research and has come up with amazing new facts and facets of Houdini's career and character that have never appeared anywhere else. I've read this book 3 times and each time I learn something new. If you're looking for a Houdini biography, this is the one to buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Accurate, Informative, Entertaining
When my magic shop customers ask me to recommend an excellent book on the life of Harry Houdini, I recommend Ken Silverman's book without hesitation. This author has meticulously researched the facts, and has produced a highly entertaining and informative book. Well illustrated, this book helps the reader create a clear picture of Houdini the man as well as Houdini the performer. MagicTricks.Com gives this book its highest recommendation. ... Read more


47. The Play Goes On: A Memoir
by Neil Simon
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684869802
Catlog: Book (2002-04-09)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 289172
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In his critically acclaimed Rewrites, Neil Simon talked about his beginnings -- his early years of working in television, his first real love, his first play, his first brush with failure, and, most moving of all, his first great loss. Simon's same willingness to open his heart to the reader permeates The Play Goes On.

This second act takes the reader from the mid-1970s to the present, a period in which Simon wrote some of his most popular and critically acclaimed plays, including the Brighton Beach trilogy and Lost in Yonkers, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. Simon experienced enormous professional success during this time, but in his personal life he struggled to find that same sense of happiness and satisfaction. After the death of his first wife, he and his two young daughters left New York for Hollywood. There he remarried, and when that foundered he remarried again. Told with his characteristic humor and unflinching sense of irony, The Play Goes On is rich with stories of how Simon's art came to imitate his life.

Simon's forty-plus plays make up a body of work that is a long-running memoir in its own right, yet here, in a deeper and more personal book than his first volume, Simon offers a revealing look at an artist in crisis but still able and willing to laugh at himself. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Follow-On to "Rewrites"
I was anxious to see the arrival of "The Play Goes On" as I had really enjoyed "Rewrites", but felt as though Simon had more to say, but hadn't been able to get to it in the first of this biographical series. However, this latest lacked the humor of "Rewrites" and I felt myself without much incentive to keep turning pages other than to get some insights to some of his lesser-known works.

4-0 out of 5 stars Take it for what it is
Neil Simon is best studied by reading and seeing interpretations of his plays, but since this book is an autobiography, it is interesting at the very least for seeing what the man's own perspective on his life has been. There are definitely some moments that appear repetitive and unnecessary, but as he says in the book, Mr. Simon was not keeping notes throughout his life with the knowledge that he would someday write a book. That means he and we are forced to rely on his memories and notions when they occur to him, which is why some of the book is out of sequence. I would have loved to have seen more insights into the plays and screenplays themselves, especially since he completely neglects to mention "Laughter On The 23rd Floor", which I saw twice on Broadway and laughed harder the second time than the first. He alludes to it once, but never says anything regarding the production even though he spends at least a few pages on some of his less-successful works. However, it's those exact pages on the lesser known stuff like "The Good Doctor", "Rumors", and "Jake's Women" that are so interesting.

Generally, I find it difficult to read biographies of people who are still with us, for the simple fact that that story can never be complete. One of the good things about the first volume of autobiography, Rewrites, was that it ended at a specific point in time with the death of Mr. Simon's first wife which represented the "end" of a chapter in his life and therefore lent itself to being presented as a complete story. I was impressed at how up to date The Play Goes On was, but how can even this be the definitive story of Neil Simon and his work unless he retires? Surely (and hopefully) Neil Simon has many more years and several plays ahead of him, so maybe he's just leaving open the option of doing a third book.

2-0 out of 5 stars What a Whiner!
"Rewrites" was better than this effort because Neil Simon shared more insights into his creative process than this volume. In "The Play Goes On," he concentrates on whining over the breakup of his serial marriages -- while asking us to believe that nobody was ever responsible for his string of divorces. His explanation? That there's some kind of genetic marker that determines how long people stay married. PLEASE!

Simon also spends a good deal of time asking us to believe other whoppers; that his plays are not all autobiographical (I guess this is true... most -- but not all -- of his plays are that way); and that he has no memory of writing most of his plays, that they just came out of him in some kind of auto-pilot-like trance.

Anyone wanting to learn about Simon and his creative process is better off studying his plays.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Closer Look at the Theatre's Most Successful Playwright
"The Play Goes On" is a companion piece to Simon's first memoir, "Rewrites." Both books should be read in succession to get a full picture of the artist as a man. They provide not only a look at the life of the most successful playwright in the history of the American theatre, but also valuable insights into his writing process. "The Play Goes On" begins right where the first volume left off, just following the death of Neil Simon's beloved first wife, Joan. It covers his marriage and professional collaboration with Marsha Mason and brings us almost completely up to date in the chronological summary of his works. This book (and the one that came before it) are fabulously entertaining owing to the deft skill with which Simon weaves words together. Put this in someone's Christmas stocking!

4-0 out of 5 stars Poignant But Puzzling
Mr. Simon seems to be a decent, self-aware, gifted person. The book is an absorbing read. Yet I wish he'd been as clear and specific in discussing his journey through life as he is in giving us synopses of his plays. He leaves us with questions, the need for clarification. I don't understand how he relegates to a footnote what was probably one of the most significant factors in his breakup with Marsha Mason. Her involvement with Siddha meditation coincided roughly with her time married to Mr. Simon. As I was at the time a ditzy post-adolescent enamored of the glamorous exoticism of Siddha Yoga, I remember well Marsha's enthusiasm and dedication to it. It's strange Mr. Simon doesn't seem aware or willing to speak up about what Siddha Yoga taught overtly -- the guru-disciple relationship took precedence over all others -- and subtly, that marriage, although sacred, was a detour, delay, towards enlightenment.Mr. Simon did try to accommodate his wife -- his film, The Goodbye Girl has meditation references, and in Chapter Two, the wall of Jenny's apartment has a tiny photo of her guru in his usual red suit, seated in lotus-position. Marsha spent much time at the India and America ashrams, meditating, happy to share her experiences, cleaning rice, along with the rest of us. Did that bother Mr. Simon? His own daughter was married by the guru before hundreds upon hundreds of "nearest and dearest" strangers.[Olivia Hussey's wedding at the Miami ashram might have had a tad more guests!]What did he, this Jewish father think of that? When Marsha wrote us an abrupt, though warmhearted, polite letter in resigning from being on the yoga board of directors, I wonder why that didn't alert Mr. Simon to the fact that Marsha was in the process of redefining her goals, taking charge of her life, and might do the same regarding their marriage. Maybe Marsha will write her own book. It would be interesting to find out if (1) she ever attained enlightenment or (2) she came away, as I did, with a rather nice consolation prize, some interesting food recipes serving 900. ... Read more


48. Edward Albee: A Singular Journey : A Biography
by Mel Gussow
list price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684802783
Catlog: Book (1999-08-18)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 285650
Average Customer Review: 3.53 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

With his off-Broadway success The Zoo Story in 1960 and the Broadway smash Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1962, Edward Albee announced himself as his generation's great American playwright. He had an unhappy childhood as the adopted son of wealthy suburbanites with no interest in his feelings or talents, and later immersed himself in the flourishing (but still closeted) New York gay scene of the 1950s. These seminal experiences gave Albee a sardonic, essentially bleak view of human relations that suited the questioning spirit of the '60s, as did his plays' absurdist tone and often experimental techniques. Alcoholism and bad reviews plagued him through much of the 1970s and '80s, but he emerged triumphant and sober in 1994 with the play Three Tall Women, which marked his mature understanding of his mother's life and won him a third Pulitzer Prize. Mel Gussow observed much of this personal and professional journey as a theater critic and an acquaintance; his book is a traditional biography based on research and interviews--with colleagues and friends as well as Albee himself--that also judiciously uses the author's firsthand experiences. (A section about the playwright's drunken rudeness at a dinner party and subsequent apologetic letter to Gussow is particularly revealing.) Gussow limns his subject's life with candor, but without prurience, and lucidly conveys Albee's importance in the American theater. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Insights....Required for all aspiring playwrights
I'm amazed at some of the one star reviews for this book. (Well, maybe not that amazed. Anyone concerned over whether Elaine Stritch or Carol Burnett won a Tony might best spend their time under a hairdryer reading Cosmo rather than a serious book like this.) Gussow, courtesy of his friendship with Albee, provides priceless insights into the source of many of his works, how they spring from his life, his relationship with his mother. He is even handed in evaluating Albee's plays, carefully explaining why many of his plays failed to please critics and audiences. Albee has been candid with Gussow, and his candor is of great value to aspiring writers. We see the links between personal life and artistic creation. This is a MAJOR study of an important playwright, required reading for all serious theatre folks. The one complaint: Gussow's closeness with Albee, while never seriously compromising the book, does make one sense kid gloves being used from time to time. That aside, this is a riveting look at one writer's life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful but occasionally arid.
This is a competent rather than inspired biography. It offers much useful detail about Albee's plays and is especially good at tracking what critics, friends, cast members, and Albee himself have written about each one. This amalgam of views best illumates "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." Unfortuantely, the book offers little detail about Albee's lovers or the texture of his sexual and emotional life. For instance, in mid-career, he lived for years with Bill Pennington. We learn only that this man was an interior decorator. We never learn about his looks, background, personality, or influence on Albee; there's not even a photograph. Lacking such physicality, the book often seems arid. Instead of amassing such details, Mel Gussow often prefers to quote long letters. I wish he had gone deeper into Albee's sexuality, to understand how it helped determine the style and force and distinction of Albee's work.

Gussow has assembled excellent materials and extensively interviewed his subject (between 1994 and 1999), but I did not come away from his biography with a sharp or abiding sense of the playwright. Strangely, secondary figures such as composer William Flanagan and director Alan Schneider emerge as more luminous than Edward Albee.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Overview and Insight
Gussow's biography of Edward Albee is a more-than-fair depiction of the playwright. It is a concise overview of the creative mind behind the American Absurdist movement. It steadily charts Albee's childhood, schooling, and progress in the theater. Gussow goes to great lengths to cite the history of Albee's works, their reception, and the performers who acted in them. It balances criticism with accolades while shying away from any type of theoretical correlation between Albee and his works (as most literary biographies lend themselves via the Formalistic approach). Though incomplete (Albee is still writing steadily), it is a great introduction into the life of one of the foremost playwrights in American theater.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best theatrical biographies I've read
With all due respect to Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman and William Inge, Edward Albee is the most important American playwright to emerge since Eugene O'Neill. I don't say best because "best" is too subjective a term to be applied to the arts. Albee is important because of the influence his work has had on playwrights such as Arthur Kopit, Sam Shepard, John Guare and David Mamet. Mel Gussow has produced an indelible portrait of this artist. One revels in Albee's current success - The Tony Award for "The Goat or Who is Sylvia?" and a Pulitzer Prize for "Three Tall Women." However, what Mr. Gussow's biography illustrates brilliantly is that Albee hasn't staged a "comeback." Indeed, Albee never went anywhere - it was the audience and the critics that abandoned Albee. Throughout the past forty years Albee has continued to produce masterful plays - award winning plays - "A Delicate Balance," "All Over," "Seascape" and "The Lady from Dubuque" - plays which are finally gaining the recognition and stature they deserve.

The personal story is here as well. Albee was adopted and raised by people who were emotionally aloof to the needs of a gay adolescent. The relationships with Terrence McNally and Jonathan Thomas (his companion for the past thirty years), friendships with John and Elaine Steinbeck, Carson McCullers, William Flanagan, Alan Schneider and all those leading ladies from Uta Hagen, Colleen Dewhurst, Jessica Tandy and Irene Worth to Marian Seldes, Rosemary Harris, Elaine Stritch and Maggie Smith. The story of how the Pulitzer Prize board denied him the honor for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" even after the prize jury had voted unanimously for the play. It's all here - warts and all - best of all is the happy ending.

4-0 out of 5 stars Edward Albee: A Singular Journey (Wr. by Mel Gussow)
Albee, the playwright of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," and other plays, is given a deluxe biographical treatment here from a writer who has known him for almost forty years...and sometimes worships him a little too much.

Albee was adopted by a wealthy, yet emotionless set of parents. His father, Reed, was absent, and his mother, Frankie, was cool and detached. This upbringing, where he was seen more as a possession than a family member, would of course affect his writings. Constantly kicked out of schools, and never graduating from college, Albee turned to writing, his first success being "Zoo Story."

"Zoo Story," a short play about a fateful meeting of two men in a park, received mixed notices from assorted playwrights and critics. Here, biographer Gussow overextends his protection of his subject too much. He dismisses the honest critiques of two playwriting giants- Thornton Wilder and William Inge, because they did not understand or like Albee's works. However, a bland positive response by Samuel Beckett is treated like a Dead Sea Scroll, to be picked apart and treasured. I have read "Zoo Story," and it is wordy and preachy.

Albee's next big success was "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," which was turned into a powerhouse film by Mike Nichols. Again, Gussow is flagrant in his criticism of someone involved with the film in order to placate Albee, and here, Nichols. The film's screenwriter, Ernest Lehman, is harshly criticized for opening the play slightly, yet just copying Albee's play. The bio's author, and Albee, make a point of needling Lehman's screenwriting credit on the film. Yet, Elaine May copied the French film "La Cage Aux Folles" word for word, adding what could be described as copious scenes at best, then took a big giant screenwriting credit for Nichols' "The Birdcage." Watch both films back to back sometime, it is eye opening.

Gussow also fumbles in his outline of Albee's life. In Albee's less successful years, he is writing weird experimental plays with subjects like a man with three arms, and one play where two of the characters are sea creatures. After mounting all of these failures, Albee is defended endlessly by Gussow, who suddenly contributes an entire chapter about Albee's alcoholism. The alcohol is both a reason his plays were not celebrated, and a defense of the brilliant man.

The entire beginning of the book chronicles the complete lack of love Albee's parents had for him, yet the death of Albee's father is glossed over, barely mentioned. I had to reread the sentence a few times, since no followup is made about Albee's reaction. A whole chapter is devoted to his mother's demise, and her revenge on her own son in her will. More is written about one of his former lovers and honest critics, a frustrated musician. This "A Star is Born" redux is written about nicely.

Gussow does do well in describing Albee's assorted forays into theater, as playwright and director. Dirt about Donald Sutherland and Frank Langella is dished around. The bio's author is honest in Albee's lacking skills as a director, coming to the theater as a playwright and not an actor.

Albee, who prefers to be called a writer who is gay, as opposed to a gay writer, also has kind words for his longtime partner of over twenty years. Albee says a gay writer writes about being gay, whether the work is good or not is moot, since the writer knows the subject and is putting in the final word. A writer who is gay is not tied down to just homosexual topics, and is free to explore society without audiences looking for gay subtexts that do not exist. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is a seering look at two heterosexual couples, the sexuality of the playwright is nonessential in light of his characters and their actions.

Gussow wisely keeps talk of Albee's lesser known plays, and the ones readers probably have not read anyway, to a minimum. Albee's triumphant comeback play, "Three Tall Women," is covered extensively. The play is about his mother, and so much more.

Reading this biography will make you curious to seek out some of Albee's other plays, just to see what makes him tick. Over seventy now, he is definitely an interesting man, and Gussow does catch that fact better than anything.

I recommend this book to theater lovers, and any writer who needs a little inspiration. ... Read more


49. Sunday: A Memoir
by Tina Louise
list price: $11.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307440176
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Golden Books Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 569090
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars Uninteresting and BLAH
This is what you call a book? Not only was it boring, it was self absorbed. Many people go through life with "not so perfect" childhoods. If you're going to write about it, at least keep the reader interested.

5-0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFULLY TOUCHING! written by someone i cherish and adore
This book shows just one of the many talents of Tina Louise! being an actress/artist/mother/singer ETC and now author, she has proven that she can do just about anything!!!! I adore her to death, and when i read this tragic and touching story of what it was like to be Tina growing up, it truely touched my heart, just like everything else Tina has done. this book is for anyone who has a heart. it's as simple as that. it makes me realise my life isnt as bad as i thought it was...this book has changed me completely and has a special place in my heart always! along with Tina herself:):):) DO READ THIS BOOK!!!! *TINA* TinaLouise4ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Come on Ginger get over it life is short.
I thought the book was poorly written. I think tina is a sadly self involved narcissist who had limited talent. she reminds me of people i know who go thru there life holding on to the past and blame everyone around them for there lack guts to move on.

5-0 out of 5 stars this was a great book.
I thought this was a great book.I just wish the author went into more detail, also the book was much to short.Tina is one of my favorite artist and this was just a tease.hopefully one day she will write her auto- bio more indepth.

5-0 out of 5 stars A truly moving glimpse into a young child's experience.
Written in the manner of a young child, this touching and often sad book effectively reveals a little girl's confusion, hopes, and fears when she is sent away from her mother at boarding school. The memories are recounted in brief passages -- glimpses into the mind of a child -- that capture the innocence of a little girl who is trying to understand the world around her. It seems impossible that one could read this book and fail to think about the importance of giving children a secure and positive environment in which to grow and develop. ... Read more


50. An Unfinished Woman : A Memoir (Back Bay Books)
by Lillian Hellman
list price: $13.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316352853
Catlog: Book (1999-06-07)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 395657
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars She¿s been damned, but it¿s still a damn fine book
Turns out much of what Lillian Hellman wrote in Pentimento was stolen from another person's life, but still, An Unfinished Woman, for which she won the National Book Award in 1969 (for autobiography) is quite a coup. Political activist, critic, and playwrite, Hellman cut a wide swath thru literary circles during her heyday in the 40s, 50s and 60s. This introspective collection of her journal entries and memories shines with her acerbic brilliance. Her circle of 'friends' included just about all the famous people of her era: Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Faulkner, and of course Dashiell Hammett, her lover, friend, and confidant. This is a personal account of a life lived as if there were no tomorrow, a nearly romantic rendering of the flavor of a special era in this country, and the documentation of feminine empowerment before the word had even been invented.

5-0 out of 5 stars A crisp, dynamic, theatrical, literary memoir.
A life where no living is done is a life not worth living. Like O'Neil, Shaw, Williams and Isben, Lillian Hellman (1905-1984, scriptwriter, playwrite, social and political activist and critic) wrote some of the most enduring and thought-provoking drama for the theatre in the 20th century, and the above 'proverb' could very easily have been her epitaph. An Unfinished Woman (Winner of the 1969 National Book Award for biography/Autobiography), the first memoir in her autobiographical trilogy (the two others being Pentimento: A Book of Portraits and Scoundrel Time), showcases a woman who had a 'steel rod' for a spine, a woman of stark liberty who would not compromise her beliefs nor truckle in the presence of those political, military and literary higher-uppers (Hemmingway is a case-in-point) whom she encountered who expected a cowering reaction due to their 'clout.' But that was something she never offered, for as Lillian Hellman said of herself when asked the question, "What are you made of, Lily?" Her cool response was, "Pickling spice and nothing nice." This 'confession' of glued-together memories and eloquent journal entries shimmers with quiet, concentrated reflection and introspection. Each chapter gleams and flashes like a beacon, slowly proffering insights into not simply a remarkable life but a frozen portrait of a bygone era - a period of class, dignity, wisdom, self-learning, an endless stream of wonderful things that are presently no more. She hobnobbed with the best and brightest, luminaries like: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, William Faulkner, Dorothy Parker, John Hersey, Averell Harriman, and of course, above them all, her truelove and literary confidant, Dashiell Hammett. As a globe-trotting cultural attache' to Russia, France, Germany, and other European lands, she lived and saw intrigue with those of her like mind. She was on the front lines (or very close to them) during World War II. She witnessed bombed out villages and destroyed lives, all the emotional and physical calamities that the horrors of war can funnel forth, broadcasting them for all to hear and imbibe. She participated (with some trepidation) in the PEN (Poets, Playwrites, Essayists and Editors and Novelists) Center Conference, conversing with intellectuals on the pressing issues of the time, but her reluctance was most unequivocal, for intellectual chitchat can, and for her, did quickly evolve into a bombastic mess on hyperbolic, pretentious proportions. She saw B.S., and she saw truth, not hesitating in the least to speak her mind or to write about it. From her reminiscences of her New Orleans girlhood with her beloved caretaker Sophronia, to her shuffling to New York, to her failed marriage and her father's infidelity, Hellman's life only crescendos. With corrosive verve, 'salty' wit and profound insight, Lillian Hellman lets the past truly come alive. In the end, she showed one and all that she was an 'empowered' woman before many thought that could ever be possible.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved this book!
Lillian Hellman is one of the most important American women writers and this, her memoir, is a literary feast--witty, poignant, brash, and cynical; but as Hellman once wrote, "Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth." I love her plays and I loved this book!--Diana Dell, compiler, Memorable Quotations: American Women Writers of the Past.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Literary Memoir and Travelogue
I bought this book after seeing a documentary on Lillian Hellman on PBS. PBS said that Lillian Hellman is the foremost female American playright and movie script writer. She was also sympathetic to or at least a devoted student of the communism of Marx and Engels. During the McArthy era she and her boyfriend, novelist Dashiell Hammett, were forced to testify before the Committee on Un-American Activities.

But to focus on her communist sympathies would be a distraction from the rest of her remarkable life. Lillian does not. This memoir is a fascinating mix of travel essay, character portraits, and a biography of her unorthodox youth split between Louisianna and New York.

The best written chapters are character portraits of her friends Dorothy Parker and Dashiel Hammett. It is here that you can understand her skills as a playright for she probes the actions of each person and seeks to explain why they behaved as they did. Let interesting a chapters where she just inserts portions of her diary in chronological order.

As a Southernor I can understand the relation she had with Sophronia, the black woman who acted as her governess and parent's housekeeper. For in the South the lives of blacks and whites intertwine in a manner that non-Southerners would not understand. Sophronia untangled the problems in Lilians life long after she left the Hellman's employ.

Parts of this memoir reads like Getrude Stein's "The Biography of Alice B. Toklas". There is much name dropping of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Like Hemingway, Lillian joined the fight against facism in Spain. But the Paris-based passages are not so memorable as those of Getrude Stein in part since these literary are art circles were not such a large part of Lillian's life. In fact she preferred the seclusion of her farm to life in the city.

Far more noteworthy is Lillian's description of 6 months in the Soviet Union during World War II as a guest of the Soviet government. Lillian was envied by the regular press corps because she travelled to the front lines while they were restricted to their dreary hotel.

After reading her memoirs, I doubt I will reads her plays. Since Lillian says hardly anything about them I haven't an idea what they are about. Rather I will continue to plow through the Great Books of the Western Canon--a lifelong pursuit for Lillian as well. ... Read more


51. Diary of a Mad Playwright
by James Kirkwood
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1557835675
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Book Publishers
Sales Rank: 707738
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Kirkwood, the co-writer of the book of the great musical A Chorus Line, also wrote the stage play Legends, for which Carol Channing and Mary Martin embarked on a nationwide, bound-for-Broadway tour. This book chronicles the slow disintigration of the whole project, thanks to bickering divas, greedy producers, hostile reviewers, and general chaos. Kirkwood's fine eye for detail and general good humor keep this book lighhearted and funny, even as sadness lingers in the wings. A wonderful book for anyone who loves the theatre. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for theatre buffs
Hilarious yet often sad true tale of the author's incredibly frustrating run of his stage play Legends, starring two honest-to-goodness stage divas Carol Channing and Mary Martin, who in real life gave their stage characters more than a run for their money. Greedy producers, bickering stars, hostile reviewers, backstage manipulations, it's all here, presented in good humor by Kirkwood, a vastly unsung writer, unfortunately long since deceased. This was his final book. A good read in itself, and sure to provoke laughter and empathy from anyone who has been involved in theatre. ... Read more


52. Shakespeare: A Life
by Park Honan
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192825275
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 213462
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the last ten years, nearly every previously known fact about Shakespeare has been modified by new research. This book draws on such new, crucial information to dramatically alter our perceptions of the actor, poet, and playwright. Honan tells us virtually all that can be factually known or reasonably speculated about Shakespeare's life--from his childhood to his deathbed. We encounter fascinating portraits of the Bard's London (wherein violence and even murder were a part of daily life) and of his days as a neophyte actor (he may have learned as many as 100 small parts per season). Honan casts new light on the young poet's relationships--his early courtship of Anne Hathaway, their marriage, his attitudes toward women such as Jennet Davenant, Marie Mountjoy, and his own daughters--illuminating Shakespeare's needs, habits, passions, and concerns. He also examines the world of Elizabethan playing companies--the power of patronage, theatrical conditions, and personal rivalries--to reveal the relationship between the man and his writing.

Honan's Shakespeare: A Life captures a complex and fascinating career, illuminating Shakespeare's extraordinary development to become the greatest dramatist of his or any age. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Glimpse of the "Real" Shakespeare
The first bio of Shakespeare I've actually been able to finish! Honan's approach is reasonable, intelligent, and well-researched. It also happens to be quite interesting, providing not only the best and most tantalizing of the available evidence of Shakespeare's life, but also by painting a portrait of the milieu in which he lived and worked. Never before has Shakespeare's achievement seemed so towering, and yet so human. Much better by far than Bloom's bloated and self-serving paean. Although slightly marred by Honan's quirky style, and by the mysterious sudden disappearance from the narrative of Anne (Hathaway) Shakespeare before the poet's death, it nonetheless held me in thrall all weekend. I hate the phrase, but it's a definite "must-read"!

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
After the standard non-bio (we know so little about him, etc) offered during my school years, this detailed and solid account of Shakespeare comes as an entertaining surprise. Obviously there's been a lot unearthed about Shakespeare's life just since the short time I last visited Stratford. Honan's book is especially interesting for the myths it dispels about the Bard. He seems to have been a surprisingly down to earth man, good natured, aware of his talent but by no means filled with an overweaning sense of greatness the way later artists would be. Superb overall.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent biography
Honan's biography of Shakespeare is superb. The writing style is good, the research reliable, and the play reviews are appropriate. The reader ends up with a detailed knowledge of the life of the bard. That is the purpose of a biography. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Life and Times of Mr. William Shakespeare
A great deal of Shakespeare's life appears never to have made it into the official record, and Park Honan, for all his skill as a writer, cannot change that.

What Mr. Honan does do, however, is construct in detail the setting for what facts we do know about Shakespeare's life. Even if we lack many of the basic facts of Shakespeare's boyhood, for instance, we know what Stratford was like, and we know what kind of lives boys in Stratford led. Mr. Honan lays out this setting, gives us the known facts about young Will, contents himself with making the occasional relatively safe guess, and leaves it at that.

Despite the fact that Mr. Honan's book is mostly setting, with a fairly scarce plot, it's a good read, flowing well and entertaining. Your study of Shakespeare should start here.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating !____A Keeper
We will perhaps never be able to come across a "definitive" (in the modern sense) life of Shakespeare because of the obviously sketchy nature of the extant documents relating to his life .Realising this,Mr.Honan has done the next best thing : to fill in the bare bones of the Bard's life with information from the Elizabethan period & done it in an exquisite fashion.What we get is not what Shakespeare DID at any given point in his life but a sense of what he was MOST LIKELY DOING given the socio-cultural milieu,Elizabethan mores,surviving public documents ,comments by his contemporaries and autobiographical fragments from his plays and sonnets.Mr.Honan's view is by its very nature "oblique" but given the paucity of "hard data" ,it is the wisest approach .Moreover he doesn't gloss over the gaps in our knowledge of Shakespeare's life but freely acknowledges them .Each chapter is thoroughly referenced and annotated .The picture that emerges from this account is of a remarkably sensitive genius endowed with a superlative gift for expressing the universal & the ineffable pertaining to the human condition____ in timeless prose .Interestingly ,Honan manages to do this without deifying Shakespeare ,which is wise given that Shakespeare is too fascinating a man to be 'deified away' !In the final analysis genius is always inexplicable in that it breaks the existing molds and "liberates" us to see,hear and experience the world in a novel and yet distinctly human way .This is an exquisite and enjoyable book . ... Read more


53. The Show Makers: Great Directors of the American Musical Theatre
by Lawrence Thelen
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415923468
Catlog: Book (1999-12)
Publisher: Routledge
Sales Rank: 871085
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Book Description

"As it says in Gypsy: "You either got it or you ain"t."
--Arthur Laurents
"There's no secret to working with kids. They either charm you and you can work with them, or they don't charm you and you feel you're stuck with them."
--Jerome Robbins
"It's sort of a maternal kind of leadership: strong but accessible. I don't have children, but it is a very maternal feeling that I feel when I become the director, when I become the leader."
--Graciela Daniele
"The thing that you can most do is empower any artist to feel as though they have a right to go on the journey."
--George C. Wolfe"Just take a look at some of the musicals on the boards. Take a look at how abominable some of the acting is, and you'll understand that these people have not been directed to act."
--Jerry Zaks

The Show Makers are twelve of the most creative and influential directors of the contemporary musical theatre. Lawrence Thelen creates lively portraits of theatre people at work. James Lapine's early involvement with photography becomes an influence on Sunday in the Park with George. Harold Prince's early desire to be a playwright is rechanneled into directing. George C. Wolfe speaks of the ongoing involvement of black artist with musicals since the last century. Jerome Robbins, in his final interview, on collaboration and the role of dance in the musical.
Lawrence Thelen's book is part theatre history, part interview volume, part celebration. Richly anecdotal, it communicates the passion and joy that motivate our wizards of the musical stage. ... Read more


54. Ridiculous! : The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam
by David Kaufman
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 155783637X
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Applause Books
Sales Rank: 662703
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From his first unscripted appearance on an Off-Broadway stage in the revolutionary 1960s to the frontpage news of his death from AIDS in 1987 at age 44, Charles Ludlam embodied - and helped to engender - the upheavals of his time. The astonishing life and legacy of this force to be reckoned with are at last revealed in RIDICULOUS!, a literary biography of an American comic genius. After founding the Ridiculous Theatrical Company in 1967, Ludlam sustained an ever-shifting troupe of bohemian players through two decades of perennially daunting circumstances by writing 29 plays - plays that he starred in and directed as well. While Ludlam's work has become increasingly popular at regional theatres, on college campuses, and on stages throughout the world, his gender-bending theories and wide-ranging cultural impact have reached far beyond Bette Midler, the original cast members of Saturday Night Live and the countless other artists he influenced during his abbreviated lifetime. Like his early plays, Ludlam's life was rife with the sex, drugs and creative experimentation that characterized the freewheeling '60s and '70s. Based on a decade of research and interviews with more than 150 people who knew or worked with Ludlam - including all of the major players in his troupe and seven of his lovers - RIDICULOUS! recreates the dramatic life of an inimitable and subversive theatrical master with you-are-there intensity. Winner of the LAMBDA Literary Award for Biography and the Theatre Library Association Award for Outstanding Theatre Book of the Year "David Kaufman makes a persuasive case for Ludlam's being a genius ... As a record of Ludlam's life and the theatrical world in which he was both guru and grandmaster, this book is informed and passionate." - Mel Gussow, The New York Times "A fascinating portrait of an authentic stage genius and the New York avant-garde scene in which he toiled with such demented and dedicated diligence." - Playbill "The phenom who inspired everyone from Bette Midler and Madeline Kahn to Tony Kushner and Paul Rudnick was no box of chocolates - which, as reading experiences go, makes his story all the sweeter." - Vanity Fair "This is one helluva piece of work." - Marilyn Stasio, Variety.com ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars An impressive life's record of an entertainer
Ridiculous!: The Theatrical Life And Times Of Charles Ludlam is the award-winning biography of an especially talented man who first appeared in in an Off-Broadway production in the early 1960s and continued with a theatrical passion until his untimely death from AIDS in 1987 at the age of 44. Ludlam's theatrical genius included a pioneer of drag performance, a practice since adopted into mainstream entertainment and comedy. Ludlam's exuberant personality is wondrously captured through meticulous detail, numerous quotes from those who knew him, and insert sections of black-and-white photographs. An impressive life's record of an entertainer whose flair for life itself cannot be underestimated.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Thorough and Moving Account
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Ludlam's life. The author does a terrific job explaining the origins of both Ludlam's talent and his powerful (and often exasperating) personality. Of course, the book can't be as much fun as the shows were, but it is nonetheless an exciting and full account of one of the true originals of our theatrical times.I do agree with thereviewer who says that a postscript about the Ridiculous post-Ludlam would have been nice, but the book still deserves the highest praise for capturing a tricky subject so clearly.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Letter, Not the Spirit
A disappointment. Kaufman gets the facts, but misses the spirit. To be sure, any biographer of Ludlam is up against a lot. The main problem is that a lot of the man's art existed "at the vanishing point," that is to say, in performance. Ludlam was above all, an inspired actor, and acting (HIS acting) and style took precedence over everything (he gave the world no great plays, and his company consisted of weak, noncompetive actors). Capturing a performance in words is very difficult, and Kaufman has no aptitude for it. Further,he is too much the fan. Though he acknowledges all of CL's personal and professional faults, his admiration always guides the direction of the book and we never quite get the man whole, or any explanation of why we should admire him. The most one can say is that Kaufman has gathered the information necessary for others to assess Ludlam's quality and his contribution to theatre.

3-0 out of 5 stars Art Imitates Life
Reading this book reminded me of sitting in the cramped Sheridan Square theatre watching Ludlam and his cronies perform--sometimes the performances were magical, but just as often I was more frustrated than excited by the all-too evident rough edges. There are problems with this book that should have been addressed by the editor, just as a more objective director could have improved some of those ridiculous Ridiculous evenings.

The design, which eschews traditional punctutation such as indented paragraphs, is difficult and unpleasant to read, because it doesn't allow the narrtive to flow.Much of the writing is repetitous, as Ludlam's passive-agressive directing technique is detailed again and again for each show.

But the biggest flaw is a lack of an epilogue to update the lives of the book's vivid "supporting cast" (Black-Eyed Susan, Lola Pashalinski, Bill Vehr, the late Christopher Scott, and most important, Everett Quinton, who became an icon of the off-off-Broadway movement himself with his later perfomances in Irma Vep and Camille. Are they still performing or are they out of the business?(P.S. Pashalinski was just in a theatre piece about the changing lives of actresses.) I know that the book is about the life of Ludlam and not the ridiculous theatre movement in general, but this reader felt cheated by the amount of time spent getting to know Ludlam's actors in print, only to have them disappear at the book's final scene, the memorial performance.

Also needed is information about about the few shows that the Ridiculous produced after Ludlam.It would be fascinating to know just how many performances of Irma Vep (one of the most wonderful nights in New York theatre this show biz addict ever experienced) are given today, or if Ludlam's Die Fledermaus is still in the rep at Santa Fe or elsewhere. These are big questions, because Ludlam has been dead for fifteen years, and his light is dimming, in spite of his influence on Tony Kushner (and who is performing his epic Angels in America lately, much less Ludlam's Turds in Hell?) and Charles Busch (who had his biggest success in years as the author of a mainstream comedy where he didn't even perform, much less wear fish nets).

And finally, like many biographies, you end up wondering why someone didn't haul off and smack Ludlam--he's that exasperating, and ultimately, not the kind of person you want to may want to spend a lot of time with.But in spite of the book's flaws, I am grateful to Kaufman for catching the excitement of Ludlam's life and times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally! The book many of us have been waiting for!
Ludlam was probably one of the most important and influential figures in American theater over the last hundred years. But sources of information on his work and life have been fragmentary at best.

At last a comprehensive book on Ludlam. This book corrects a lot of the gossip and is more insightful on the relationship between an artists life and work than nearly any other biography I have ever read. This book is refreshingly frank--even on the shortcomings of its sources. Really an astonishingly sharp look at an underdocumented corner of our culture.

I heard the author speak a few years back and the book was completed then but could not find a publisher. I am baffled as to why since this is such a superior piece of work.

Not to be read while drinking egg drop soup. ... Read more


55. 44 Dublin Made Me
by Peter Sheridan
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140286411
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 491687
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

It is New Year's Eve in Dublin, 1959. On the rooftop of 44 Seville Place, ten-year-old Peter Sheridan clings to the steel rod of a television antenna. When his father urges him to turn the antenna toward England, the boy reaches up, and pictures from a foreign place beam into their living room. Life in the Sheridan family will never be the same again.

As the 1960s unfold, the Sheridans experience all the decade has to offer: sex, the Beatles, drugs, and The Troubles in Belfast. One of the best-known figures in Irish contemporary theater, Peter Sheridan recounts these hilarious, awkward, and heartbreaking years with exquisite timing and dramatic precision. Honest, sharp-witted, and compassionate, 44: Dublin Made Me draws us into this loving family as we explore the Dublin that shaped this young boy.

"Seldom has the blossoming of artistic passion been so effectively captured . . . it will get into your brain and your blood and stay there a long time."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Peter Sheridan writes at the crossroads where hilarity and heartbreak, tenderness and savagery meet. The people who live there are often cruel, often magnificent, and always, always human. He captures them perfectly."--Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and A Star Called Henry

"Sharp, jazzy, hilarious, and often painful . . . You'll rejoice in this wild song of a book."--Frank McCourt
44 was short-listed for The Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Nonfiction
... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent look at sixties Dublin.
Peter Sheridan's Irish family is a cherished read. In descibing his fathers makeshift bathroom, Sheridan states that he used his own toilet paper made from a local telephone directory..."He's down to the r's...he's now wiping his arse with the Rileys"....Pure Irish dry humor at it's best! The loved and classic Beatles' "Sgt.Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" album is brought to life once again for us all. This book is a great look at a loving Dublin family, through their good times and bad times, in the 1960's. Very worthwhile!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Rewarding Read
In the opening chapter of his memoirs, Peter Sheridan pedals off on his bike to run an errand for his father. Even at the age of 8, there's no way he could get lost in his own city. He "loves the statues and monuments. If Dublin were a woman, he'd marry her."

*** "44 Dublin Made Me" will invariably be compared to Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" on the sole count of being Irish. The Irish, however, are a diverse people, and life in Dublin is very different from life in Limmerick. McCourt's family faced scraping poverty, whereas Sheridan's family (by no means millionaires) have a steady home environment, food on the table, and the constant presence of both parents raising a large brood.

*** Peter Sheridan focuses on the decade of the 60s which begins with childhood innocence (getting a TV for the first time) and makes his way through adolescence and two defining events in the author's life -- a disturbing encounter on a train at age 13 and later the death of a family member.

*** Sheridan has a wonderful voice for storytelling. He stays true to his kid spirit and endears without being precious. And in fine Irish tradition, every laugh has a tragic edge and every sadness is survived by some beauty.

3-0 out of 5 stars Irish yarn unravels into beautiful story
As if drawn by a gravitational pull, Irish yarns seem to center on the relationship of children with their mothers. In a break from this natural order, Peter Sheridan's memoir, 44 Dublin Made Me turns to the bond of a boy with his father for its compelling tale.

Sheridan writes about his childhood with grace and ease. Readers are catapulted into his large Irish family in 1959 from the first sentence onward.

Peter Sheridan is a good Irish boy who enjoys school and loves the hectic life Dublin offers. His best friend, Andy, hates school but loves traipsing around the city in search of fortune.

The two boys influence each other in both good and bad ways - Andy gets involved with the church after a stint in reform school, and Peter learns to stand up for himself. In the end though, Andy remains the rogue and Peter the goody-two-shoes.

A steady presence throughout the book is Peter's Da. The man has his own outhouse in the garage, preaches to his family like they are his disciples and relies on his wins at the horse races as a major means of income.

Peter is his Da's helper and is ordered to do just about every imaginable task - from climbing up an ariel on the roof to fix the TV's reception to digging holes in the garage to fix water pressure.

When Peter's brother, Frankie, falls ill, their Da finds himself unable to cope. Peter tries to fill in for his father and be someone for his mother to rely on. After his father regains his strength, he and Peter find their friendship stronger.

Peter also runs errands all over the city and helps out with the tenants his parents have taken in.

One of these boarders, Mossie, plays a crucial role in Peter's life. Mossie robs Peter of his innocence, terrifies and scars him so deeply that Peter withdraws inwardly. Unable to find comfort, Peter then seeks solace at the hands of the church.

Illness and deaths make Peter grow up quickly and 44 Dublin Made Me documents his maturation. Andy gets a girl "in trouble" and quickly marries to take responsibility for the situation. As his world changes, Peter adapts.

Sheridan's strength is that he writes his story, which could be sad, as hopeful and happy. Rather than just have stories from his childhood strung together as some memoirs do, 44 Dublin Made Me creates a touching story.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Lines Are So Fine
When you read a McCourt memoir you read of bleak reality, a reality rarely tempered with happiness much less joy. There is humor, however of the sort that more often increases your respect for those who are able to find humor where few could even imagine it. At times the light moments are not so light, just bright in comparison to what you have read. At the other end there is Brendan O'Carroll and his trilogy of, "The Mammy", "The Chisellers", and "The Granny". This is fiction and it is outrageously funny, so much so that when there is a tragic event the pain you feel from laughing often tempers the darker moments. And then there is Peter Sheridan's work, "44 Dublin Made Me". And this work lies somewhere between the two others I have mentioned.

I enjoyed the book a great deal. At times it is almost a hybrid of the other three Authors I mention, for even though it is a memoir and does contain painful events, they are not as painfully presented as I think they need to be for readers. I am in no manner diminishing the pain of the Sheridan Family; I am expressing a writing issue, or perhaps a stylistic point.

There seem to be more of these Irish Memoirs as of late, and as they have been widely read, they by definition either create or reinforce notions people may have already brought to the book. The issue that I struggled with was the manner in which some material was presented, some was absolutely funny, and other issues were anything but humorous. I don't believe they ever can be humorous. And this is the part of the book that failed for me. The writing was a bit too neat and slick for want of a better word. The experiences of a young child read as an accomplished Author had written them rather than a talented writer bringing the thoughts of a young man across as a child may view them, but as an adult would read them.

The book is very good and it's one I would recommend. I felt it worth noting that the story of any country or the people that live there can become a commodity. I don't believe that to be the case with this book, but I feel the first steps on a slippery slope are waiting to be trod upon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Laugh, Cry and read it again
As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to have it. I have had a childhood in the very same area and was plesantley surprised at the vivid and colourful language used to describe the landscapes and lifestyles I know so so well. I laughed out loud even though everybody on the train thought I was a bit of an idiot. I cryed many tears onto the pages which are now all tattered and dog eared from use. I sympathised and identified with the characters which came to life between the pages. I have pursuaded family and friends to read it and everyone has loved it. It's the best book I have read this year (I read a lot! ) I cant wait for the next one, hurry up Peter! Get that book to press.

But one piece of advice. Don't keep other Irish books such as Angela's Ashes in mind as they are each so brilliantley different. Experiance the writer's language of experiance and not your perception of an Irish childhood. Revel in the individuallity of this book and you will enjoy it all the more.

Buy it and enjoy it forever ... Read more


56. Sophie Tucker: First Lady of Show Business
by Armond Fields
list price: $45.00
our price: $45.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786415770
Catlog: Book (2003-05-08)
Publisher: McFarland & Company
Sales Rank: 840168
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sophie Tucker appeared in only seven American stage musicals and appeared only twice on Broadway but, then, it was difficult to cast her in a show. A buxom and ebullient performer, she—and her audiences—quickly found that playing herself was most effective.

This is a biography of a vaudeville and cabaret performer who saw herself as one of the first liberated women and one of the last "red hot mamas." It tells the story of her birth as her mother traveled to Boston from Russia, her childhood in Boston, and her first public performance at Poli’s Vaudeville Theatre at the age of 13. It also tells the story of her troubled marriage to Louis Tuck and the birth of their son, her meeting with Willie Howard, a vaudeville veteran who encouraged her to go to New York and pursue a stage career, her discovery by Flo Ziegfeld (of the Ziegfeld Follies), and her rise to headliner status under the guidance of her agent William Morris. She was best known for appearing on stage with just a piano player, and openly discussing her life and Jewish upbringing. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Last of the Red Hot Biographies
I learned a great deal in this easy-to-read, well-written biography, and not just about sophie Tucker but about the world of entertainment during much of the twentieth century.

Armond Fields' book is a must read for lovers of Sophie, theatre, vaudeville, cabaret, or just plain histiory.

3-0 out of 5 stars This book is not the success that Sophie Tucker was.
I looked forward to reading Armand Fields' book about Sophie Tucker. This is only the fourth book about the late "Queen of Show Business". There is indeed much new material not included in the other books and that makes this one worthwhile. However, this book is filled with errors. One photograph of Sophie Tucker and her grown son Bert is captioned as Sophie and her husband Frank Westphal. Also an ad from the Florentine Gardens circa 1947 is captioned as from the 1930s despite her 40s coiffure and shoulder pads.

Mr. Fields seems not to have bothered to watch her films. He calls her role in "Broadway Melody of 1938" a cameo. A role with three songs and five wardrobe changes is hardly a cameo. Sophie does sing two songs in "Sensations of 1945" but not the titles listed by Mr. Fields. He also claims that her scene was cut out of "The Joker Is Wild". She appears in every print of this film that I have ever seen.

Shelton Brooks, writer of Sophie Tucker's anthem "Some Of These Days" has his name spelled as "Sheldon" Brooks. Also, songwriter Jack Yellen's name appears as "Yellin" despite the reproduction in the book of a piece of sheet music with the correct spelling.
The author also states that Tucker recorded every song on which her picture appears on the cover. If only that were true! There are many such errors in this biography.

To pay (money) for a paperback, you really should have an accurate book as well as more pictures for your money. Sophie Tucker still has not had the treatment she desereves.

5-0 out of 5 stars About Time Soph Got a Good Bio
One of the most colorful and important performers of her time--and "her time" stretched from 1906 to 1966! Fields is a seasoned biographer and has done his homework; this is a thoroughly balanced and well-researched book, a must for students of theater and fans of Soph.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating look at the original 'Red Hot Mama'
Armond Fields has produced another in his series of fascinating portraits of show business icons from an almost forgotten era. Sophie Tucker is a rich subject, indeed and Armond depicts her humor and gumption with great authority. This guy is both a wonderful historian and cultural detective, finding out the truth about leading figures in the formative years of the American entertainment business. I particularly like how he gets beneath the myth-making that Sophie Tucker spun, to discover the full-bodied, hot-blooded human being beneath the blarney.

5-0 out of 5 stars Armond Fields has done it again!
With this wonderful portrait of legendary American entertainer Sophie Tucker, Fields continues his important series of biographies of vaudeville and musical stage legends who came to prominence before World War One. Previous to Sophie Tucker, much needed full-length biographical treatments have been given to the vaudeville comedy act of Weber and Fields, musical stage star Lillian Russell, comedian Eddie Foy, heavyweight boxing champion turned entertainer James J. Corbett, and neglected musical comedy star Fred Stone. At the rate of one per year, with legendary actress Maud Adams next due for the Fields' treatment, one can only marvel at the uniform thoroughness of research and the excellence of each new book from this prolific author.

Sophie Tucker was one of those larger than life entertainers, inimitable and irreplaceable, and the first one of Fields's subjects I can actually remember seeing on television in my teenage years. Such unique entertainers are often difficult to capture with the printed word, but Fields does it, as my own vivid memories of seeing Sophie came back to me. Her triumphant story was unusual- she was a pioneer in many aspects of feminism and its portrayal in various entertainment media in the twentieth century, and Fields conveys it, warts and all, in a way that makes it come alive. Lavishly illustrated with photos, period billboards, and even some of Sophie's hilariously risqué lyrics, this book is a must for anyone interested in fabled American entertainment giants, or in just a plain old superb biographical writing. ... Read more


57. The Diary of Lillie Langtry: And Other Remembrances
list price: $14.95
our price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1886571007
Catlog: Book (1995-07-01)
Publisher: Arrowhead Classics Limited
Sales Rank: 900489
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

She was acknowledged as the most beautiful woman in the world but she wanted more than accolades from artists and photographers. She soon became the mistress of Edward Albert, prince of Wales adn future king of England, then turned her talents to acting, her ultimate triumph.At first people came to see her out of curiosity, but she quickly won them over with her beauty, charm and personality if not her acting talent.During her more than 30 years of performing in the United States, Lillie Langtry came into contact with numerous men and women who are now legends.Author Donna Lee Harper novelizes Lillie's meetings with these fascinating people in a most unique way in one of the year's most entertaining books. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Surprise
I was greatly surprised at the approach Ms. Harper took with this book. Lillie has been written about for a very long time and her own biography has been of great enjoyment. The lady traveled extensively which gives credence to the stories in this book, put together in a novel form by Ms. Harper. Lillie did in fact meet the likes of Bat Masterson, the Moon sisters et al. Harper has taken archival files and pieced together the lady's life well. Her attempt at purchasing a huge piece of property outside of Middletown, CA was a flash in the pan, compared to recent stories and Harper puts it together honestly.
Yes, the book is about women and Lillie is the linkpin. It's worth the read and very much worth keeping on your shelf.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Really a book about Lillie
This is not really a 'diary' of lillie Langtry. Lillie's life (and her real-life acting tours across the USA) is used as a literary conceit to put together a series of biographies of contempoaray 'famous' american women.

A lot of these women had quite significant achievements in their lifetime, but I had never heard of them before.

While I found their lives interesting I was dissapointed to see how little the author developed Lillie's Life story. Beware of the 'other rememberances' in this book's title, because they, not lillie, take up the bulk of the book.

Buy this if you are interested in a series of biographies on dis-seperate, but ground breaking women - don't buy it if you want an interesting book on Lillie Langtry, because in the end it's not really about her, despite the title.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Diary Of Lillie Langtry and other Remembrances
Reads like an exciting anthology of short stories. Ms. Langtry shines as a real heroine of her time. And all the traveling she did on horseback, carriage and boat must have consumed her spare time. Very much worth the read. ... Read more


58. Pirandello's Love Letters to Marta Abba
by Luigi Pirandello, Benito Ortolani
list price: $55.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691034990
Catlog: Book (1994-03-21)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 1638432
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An artist's love
Luigi Pirandello was one of the greatest Italian writers, certainly one of the best of the twentieth century. At the age of sixty-eight, he met the beautiful and vivacious Marta Abba, a lovely young actress. Though he was old enough to be her father, Pirandello fell in love with Marta, and she remained his muse, his confidante, and his emotional focus.

His letters reveal the many facets of his personality. Some readers might be a little weirded out by the intensity of his feelings for Marta (especially since she never entirely returned them), but many years in the future it's clear that even if she didn't exactly return his feelings, she did care about him, liked him, respected him, and appreciated his feelings about her. "To me he was like a god," she is quoted as saying, even though she got to see all his flaws. And Pirandello's feelings are not those of a dirty old man falling for a much younger woman -- he's revealed, even in old age, as being a very passionate and intense person.

In his letters, he often talks about making her a famous actress, and how the two of them would reform the theatre. The foreword written by Benito Ortolani includes his descriptions of meeting Marta herself, in the 1980s, and what she had to say about "the Maestro." Unfortunately there aren't any pictures.

The relationship between Pirandello and Marta was a unique one, a mishmash of unusual feelings. Definitely worth the read. ... Read more


59. Vsevolod Meyerhold (Routledge Performance Practitioners)
by Jonathan Pitches
list price: $17.95
our price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415258847
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Routledge
Sales Rank: 461226
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Book Description

V.S. Meyerhold is considered by many to have been the most brilliant director of the 20th century, yet unlike his contemporary Stanislavsky, much of Meyerhold's work remains obscureIn this book Jonathan Pritchers explains Meyerhold's often misunderstood "biomechanics". He also traces Meyehold's development through his experiments with realism, symbolism, constructivism and futurism, and follows the political pressures which forced his decline and silence as an artist. ... Read more


60. David Merrick: The Abominable Showman : The Unauthorized Biography
by Howard Kissel
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1557831726
Catlog: Book (1993-10-01)
Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Book Publishers
Sales Rank: 538923
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Book Description

David Merrick is the most astonishing showman of our time, and perhaps of all time. No other producer, not even Florenz Ziegfeld nor the combined lights of the Shubert brothers, has equalled his percentage of hits or his demonic flair for publicity. In this first-ever biography, Howard Kissel from his decade-long investigation reveals the man, the mask, and the myth of David Merrick. The charismatic and reclusive mogul emerges as a Broadway version of Howard Hughes, with his own panoply of eccentricities, genius and neuroses. Merrick's much publicized and oftentimes staged battles and feuds are re-ignited here full force with such major personalities as Barbra Streisand, Jackie Gleason, Ethel Merman, Lena Horne, Woody Allen, Peter Ustinov, Andy Griffith, Anthony Newley, Peter Brook, and Carol Channing. Over a hundred interviews with the major players in Merrick's drama - from his pre-Merrick St. Louis childhood as David Margoulies to his latest divorce - has yielded the first serious interrogation of a life that until now has been the sole creation of Merrick's own invention and press wizardry. ... Read more


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