Theatre Biographies New & Featured
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Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes
Part memoir of an Arab family caught for six decades in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics, part personal coming-out narrative and part cultural analysis, this is a story of the modern Middle East, in all its irrconcilable differences, seen through a unique lens. Hardcover, 204 pp. $27.99.
Trans(per)Forming Nina Arsenault: An Unreasonable Body of Work
Nina Arsenault: transgendered playwright-performer, columnist, and sex worker. Arsenault has undergone more than sixty surgeries at a cost $200 000 to feminize and beautify her originally male body. Rudakoff brings together texts by artists, scholars, and Arsenault herself that vary widely in perspective, experience and form. Softcover, 232 pp. $29.95.
Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World
In this highly entertaining biography, acclaimed actor and writer Simon Callow captures the essence of Charles Dickens in a sparkling narrative that explores the central importance of the theatre to the life of the greatest storyteller in the English language. Callow brings his own unique insight to a life drive by performance and showmanship. He reveals an exhuberant and irrepressible talent, whose 'inimitable' wit and personality crackle off the page. Hardcover, 370 pp. $24.99.
Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them
Captured forever in a unique memoir, Frank Lengella's myriad encounters with some of the past century's most famous human beings are profoundly affecting, funny, wicked, sometimes shocking, and utterly irresistible. With sharp wit and a perceptive eye, Mr. Langella takes us with him into the private worlds and privileged lives of movie stars, presidents, royalty, literary lions, the social elite, and the greats of the Broadway stage. Hardcover, 356 pp. $28.99.
A Fiery Soul: The Life and Theatrical Times of John Hirsch
Fraidie Martz & Andrew Wilson
Legendary giant of Canadian theatre.
John Hirsch arrived in Winnipeg in 1947, a 17-year-old Hungarian orphan of the Holocaust, knowing no English. Ten years later, he co-founded the Manitoba Theatre Centre, establishing a model for regional theatres across North America. He went on to direct award-winning productions in Los Angeles, New York, Stratford and Toronto - everything from Guys and Dolls to The Tempest - and to work with actors like Len Cariou, Martha Henry, Anthony Hopkins, and Maggie Smith. Notorious for his fiery temper, budget - blowing sets, and artistic risk-taking, he had a stormy four years as CBC's head of TV drama in the 1970s (high and low points include King of Kensington and Peter Lougheeds lawsuit over The Tar Sands), and an even stormier tenure as Artistic Director at the Stratford Festival from 1981 to 1985. He died in 1989 of AIDS.
Praise for John Hirsch:
"In life and on stage, John Hirsch knew how to corrupt his audience with pleasure. Swift of mind and of gesture, Hirsch was a dazzling director - playful, witty, and daring; as a friend and collaborator, he was some kind of rabbinical Hungarian mensch. Unforgettable." - John Lahr, Senior Drama Critic, The New Yorker.
Look, I Made a Hat
The eagerly anticipated to Sondheim's best-selling, critically acclaimed Finishing The Hat. This volume covers the work done by this essentail artist between 1981 and 2011. In his own words, it is the "collected lyrics with attendant comments, amplifications, dogmas, harangues, digressions, anecdotes, and miscellany". The perfect gift for any musical theatre fan, lover of letters, or for anyone who appreciates genius and wit. Hardcover, 453 pp. $50.00.
Stephen Sondheim: A Life
The first and only full-scale and definitive biography of the most important composer-lyricist in musical theatre today. A fascinating and remarkable portrait of the man, the music, and the genius of Stephen Sondheim: star of his own fascinating and unfinished life. Softcover, 461 pp. $18.00.
Where There's Smoke
William B. Davis
Best known as the Cigarette Smoking Man on TV's The X-Files, Bill Davis here recounts his life story, a wonderful window in to the history of Canada and Canadian theatre, and to the craft of stage acting and directing. Where There's Smoke will also be endlessly fascinating to fans of The X-Files. Softcover, 280 pp. $22.95.
Lives and Letters
The incomparable New Yorker writer and critic Robert Gottlieb shines a light on some of the most iconic figures of the 19th and 20th century including Mae West, Harry Houdini, Elia Kazan, Charles Dickens and Judy Garland. Through witty and insightful profiles as well as letters written to and from these stars, Gottlieb brings all of them to life. Hardcover, 420 pp. $34.50.
Franco Zeffirelli: Complete Works - Theatre, Opera, Film
Edited by Caterina Napoleone
Produced in full cooperation with Zeffirelli and his family, it explores every aspect of his astonishing achievement in the performing arts. The performance shots of classic stage productions are particularly revealing, each a lasting testament to Zeffirelli’s visual expertise. Even more suggestive are Zeffirelli’s costume sketches, set designs, and technical drawings, which reveal the artist’s mind through the artist’s hand. Both a monument to an artistic genius and a magnificent piece of bookmaking, Franco Zeffirelli: Complete Works is a must-have book for anyone who has beem moved by the works of the master. Hardcover with slipcover, 512 pp. $180.00.
Oscar Andrew Hammerstein
The Hammersteins presents a multi-layered portrait of the family whose name has become synonymous with musical theatre. Complete with personal and professional highlights, as well as scandals and tragedies, and illustrated by a rich collection of photographs, programs, patents and more, this volume is at once a deeply personal story of a prolific family who made New York the centre of the theatrical world, and changed an art form forever. Hardcover, 236 pp. $41.95.
Hijikata: Revolt of the Body
Tatsumi Hijikata invented the revolutionary performance art 'Ankoku Butoh' - now celebrated worldwide as one of the most innovative and haunting contemporary art forms. This essential study of Hijikata is the first ever account of his life and work in English, and is based on extensive itnerviews withi his surviving collaborators. Softcover, 112 pp. $23.95.
An Untidy Career: Conversations with George Hall
Lolly Susi's interviews with performer and teacher George Hall are a unique insight into the mind of a great all-round theatre practitioner. It is a must read for actors, academics, students and theatre buffs. Softcover, 58 pp. $25.50.
The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi
Andrew McConnell Stott
Joseph Grimaldi was the most celebrated of English clowns. An innovator, an acrobat, a comic genius, treasured by the fashionable set and the provincial public alike, his clowning brought national celebrity, enormous fees, a social circle that included Lord Byron and William Hazlitt and a biography written by the young Charles Dickens. But underneath the stage paint, Grimaldi struggled with depression, and his life was blighted by tragedy. This sparkling biography paints a vivid and colourful portrait of the superstar of Georgian pantomime, and of the wider theatrical scene in London at the time. Softcover, 433 pp. $20.00.
Something Written in the State of
Denmark: An Actor's Year with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Following in the footsteps of Nick Asbury's best-sellling Exit Pursued by a Badger, actor and RSC alumnus Keith Osborn tells the story of the company's extraordinary 2008/9 season in Stratford and London. Softcover, 291 pp. $27.95.
Patti LuPone: A Memoir
The legendary Patti LuPone shares the highs and lows of her extraordinary career on the stage and in film and TV. The unalloyed joy she has found in performing ultimately becomes a love letter to the theatre. She does not hesitate to share the intimate story of her life both onstage and off with the humour and outspoken candor that have become her trademarks. Cloth, $29.99.
Beside Myself: An Actor's Life
In this candid memoir, Antony Sher takes us to the heart of what it is to be an actor today, describing the journeys he undertakes in order to inhabit the roles for which he is famous. Utterly involving and often startlingly revelatory, Beside Myself will both inspire young actors and inform seasoned theatregoers. Softcover, 370 pp. $27.95.
My Life in Pieces: An Alternative Autobiography
In this autobiography, Simon Callow writes with his customary perceptiveness, wit and flair about his particular journey towards becoming an actor. But, this being an 'alternative' autobiography, he also writes about figures he did not meet but whose influence was vital to a full understanding of his craft: figures such as Stanislavsky and Michael Chekhov, Nureyev and Cocteau, Laughton and Welles. Hardcover, 436 pp. $50.00.
Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter
Based on Fraser's recollections and on diaries she kept since 1968, seven years before they spent the next 33 years together, this is a both a love story and an insightful account of Pinter's process of writing. Cloth, $29.95. November.
Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt
Gottlieb's Sarah is the first English-language biography to appear in decades. Brilliantly, it tracks the trajectory through which an illegitimate -- and scandalous -- daughter of a courtesan transformed herself into the most famous actress who ever lived, and into a national icon, a symbol of France. Gottlieb once again shows his mastery of biographical research to reveal fresh ideas about our cultural ancestry. Cloth, $29.95.
The Gentleman Press Agent: Fifty Years in the Theatrical Trenches with Merle Debuskey
He was Joe Papp's righthand man for thirty years and was the first mouthpiece for legendary nonprofits Circle in the Square and Lincoln Center Theater. He was the unseen player who fought Robert Moses, ensuring that Shakespeare in the Park remained free, and made sure How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying kept its title. He saved Zero Mostel's life, housed redbaiters' target John Henry Faulk, befriended the blacklisted, and manhandled George C. Scott and Mort Saul, all the while puffin on his pipe, banging away on his typewriter, and never seeming to break a sweat. Merle Debuskey was Broadway's last gentleman press agent. Hardcover, 278 pp. $29.99.
Michael Colgrass: Adventures of an American Composer
Edited by Neal and Ulla Colgrass
In this delightful collection of anecdotes, Michael Colgrass invites the reader into his private encounters with Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Dizzy Gillespie and a host of other key figures in American music. Maverick to the core, Colgrass also writes about romancing a Cold War spy in Bucharest, composing a ballet overnight for the Joffrey Ballet, and playing a gig for a stripper that landed him a job in West Side Story. His anecdotes describe a pivotal era in American music that shaped this Pulitzer Prize-winning composer. A "must read" for music lovers. Softcover, 221 pp. $19.95.
When Marina Abramovic Dies: A Biography
This biography examines the extraordinary life and death-defying work of one of the most pioneering artists of her generation -- and one who is still at the forefront of contemporary art today. The author draws on his unprecedented access to the artist's archive, and hundreds of hours of interviews he conducted with the artist and the people closest to her. The result is a unique and vivid portrait of the charismatic self-proclaimed "grandmother of performance art." Hardcover, 328 pp. $33.95.
Bad Reputation: Performances, Essays, Interviews
A runaway at thirteen, a reform-school graduate at sixteen, a performer in the legendary New York Play-House of the Ridiculous at seventeen, and an escapee from Andy Warhol's Factory scene at nineteen, Penny Arcade emerged in the 1980s as a primal force on the New York art scene and an originator of what came to be called performance art. Arcade's brand of high camp and street-smart, punk-rock cabaret showmanship has been winning over international audiences ever since. This autobiographical trilogy of plays represents her at her best. Hardcover, 196 pp. $23.95.
Ira Gershwin: Selected Lyrics
Heartfelt, high-spirited, sparkling with vernacular eloquence, the lyrics of Ira Gershwin defined the spirit of an era and have lived on as part of the American tradition. In his classic collaboration with his brother George and in his later songs, Ira distilled ordinary American speech into indelible verse. Here are more than 80 lyrics embodying his wit, romance, and dazzling virtuosity. Hardcover, 169 pp. $25.00.
The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi
Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) revolutionized the art of the clown and became a national celbrity. He rubbed shoulders with the likes of Lord Byron and Charles Dickens and transformed the art of on-stage comedy. Yet the outward joy and tomfoolery of his performances masked a dark and depressing personal life. Stott has written the definitive biography of the original 'sad clown' and offers a nuanced portrait of Georgian theatre in London. Riots, fires, and all! Hardcover, 433 pp. $42.00.
Free for All: Joe Papp, the Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told
Kenneth Turan & Joseph Papp
In this oral history, we see how theatrical visionary Joe Papp overcame myriad obstacles to bring first-rate theatre productions to an urban audience with The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theatre. Here, in all their backstage drama, are the accounts of how such landmark productions as Hair, No Place to Be Somebody, A Chorus Line, That Championship Season, Streamers, for colored girls ... , True West, The Normal Heart, and Aunt Dan and Lemon came into the world. Hardcover, 593 pp. $49.00.
Diaghilev and Friends
As the dominant father figure of the Ballets Russes from their inception in 1909, Diaghilev was admired, feared, loved, and hated in equal measure. Joy Melville's major new biography, published on the centenary of the foundation of the Ballet Russes, explores her subject's tempestuous and destructive affair with his protege Nijinsky, and his friendship with Jean Cocteau, searching all the while for Diaghilev the man, what motivated him, amused him, angered him and inspired him. Hardcover, 290 pp. $33.00.
Mainly On Directing Gypsy, West Side Story, and Other Musicals
by Arthur Laurents
Playwright, screenwriter, director, Arthur Laurents has been at the birth and rebirth of the American musical theatre's greatest creations for the past five decades. At the age of ninety one, he has just directed the wildly acclaimed new production of West Side Story on Broadway.
This book revels in the author's love for and understanding of, musical theatre, the people who make it and the audiences who attend.
He writes from experience, in rich detail about his work and the work of other great directors. There isn't a page in this book that doesn't entertain or give the reader a fascinating insight into the art of directing.
This is a book inspired by love, which we can be thankful for. Hardcover $28.95.
Memories: Celebrating 40 Years in the Theatre
In Memories, Elaine Paige takes us through her career from her earliest stage appearances to her starring roles in some of the biggest musicals of the past 40 years: Grease, Evita, Cats, Chess, and Sunset Boulevard. Fans of musical theatre will treasure this revealing, often funny, and personal book. Hardcover, 160 pp. $46.50.
Callas Kissed Me...Lenny Too! A Critic's Memoir
From his extraordinary beginnings--his mother went into labour while gambling at a French casino--to escaping Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and ultimately hoping to conquer New York City, John Gruen writes a subtly revealing self-portrait in Callas Kissed Me...Lenny Too! Hardcover, 327 pp. $32.00.
A Strange Eventful History
Henry Irving and Ellen Terry were the king and queen of the Victorian stage. In his first major biography for fifteen years, Michael Holroyd explores their public and private lives, showing how their artistic legacy and lines of inheritance came to influence the modern world. A witty, elegant and brilliantly paced tragicomedy, and an absorbing chronicle of two great theatrical families, A Strange Eventful History is a masterwork of the biographer's art. Hardcover, 620 pp. $57.95.
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