An exploration into the mysteries of creativity in life and art. Powerfully written of life, families, fathers, mothers, sons, of the price of talent and the burden of fame.
Michelle Hensley, founder of Ten Thousand Things Theater in Minneapolis, shares more than twenty years of her company's nationally unique work bringing professional theater to those in prisons, homeless shelters, adult education centers, and rural areas, as well as the general public. More than a chronological history, All the Lights On is also about the radiant power of theater. In this articulate and compelling book, Hensley distills what nontraditional audiences, along with the conditions her artists must perform under to reach them, have taught her about Brecht, the Greeks, Shakespeare, musicals, and the essence of what is necessary to make vibrant and essential theater. Her experiences lead her to conclude that theater artists become better and the art form itself much richer when everyone is included in the audience. In Ten Thousand Things productions, people from very different economic classes sit next to each other in the round and often experience unexpected connections with each other. Hensley writes in the introduction, "Not only do we have a chance to experience the multiple viewpoints of many characters in the play, but with all the lights on, we are able to consider the differing viewpoints of the other audience members seated around the circle. It all serves to increase, just a little, the radiance of our world.""Michelle Hensley's radiant vision has already converted thousands (including me), and this book will swell that number. One of the very few books that should--no, must--be read by anyone who cares about making an American theater that matters."Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater"A call to arms for our field. Like the seminal works of Grotowski and Brook, Hensley's book in its quiet way could redefine and revolutionize theater for generations to come."Bill Rauch, Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and co-founder, Cornerstone Theater Company Michelle Hensley is founder and artistic director of Ten Thousand Things in Minneapolis, where she has brought over fifty tours of award- winning drama to nontraditional audiences in prisons, shelters, and housing projects, as well as the general public. Published in association with HowlRound A Center for the Theater Commons
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERAmerica was flying high in the Roaring Twenties. Then, almost overnight, the Great Depression brought it crashing down. When the dust settled, people were primed for a star who could distract them from reality. Enter Gypsy Rose Lee, a strutting, bawdy, erudite stripper who possessed a gift for delivering exactly what America needed. With her superb narrative skills and eye for detail, Karen Abbott brings to life an era of ambition, glamour, struggle, and survival. Using exclusive interviews and never-before-published material, she vividly delves into Gypsy's world, including her intense triangle relationship with her sister, actress June Havoc, and their formidable mother, Rose, a petite but ferocious woman who literally killed to get her daughters on the stage. Weaving in the compelling saga of the Minskys--four scrappy brothers from New York City who would pave the way for Gypsy Rose Lee's brand of burlesque and transform the entertainment landscape--Karen Abbott creates a rich account of a legend whose sensational tale of tragedy and triumph embodies the American Dream.
The musical theatre of Stephen Sondheim probes deeply into the most disturbing issues of contemporary life. By challenging his audience with intricate music, biting wit, and profound themes, he flouts the traditional wisdom of the musical theatre. Tracing Sondheim's career from his initial success as lyricist for "West Side Story" and "Gypsy" to his most recent work--"Into the Woods" and "Assassins"--Joanne Gordon emphasizes not only the disturbing content of Sondheim's work, but his innovative use of form. In shows such as "A Little Night Music," "Sweeney Todd," and "Sunday in the Park with George," Sondheim's music and lyrics are inextricably woven into the fabric of the entire work.
Arthur Miller has been delivering powerful drama to the stage for decades with such masterpieces as Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, and A View from the Bridge. But, remarkably, no one has yet told the full story of Miller's own extraordinary life-a rich life, much of it shrouded from public view. To achieve this groundbreaking portrait of the artist and the man, the award-winning drama critic and biographer Martin Gottfried masterfully draws on his interviews, on Miller's voluminous lifelong correspondence, and on the annotated scripts and notebooks that reveal Miller's creative process in stunning detail. From Miller's childhood and adolescence in Depression-era New York City to the 1947 play All My Sons that established him as a voice to be reckoned with...from his heroic defiance of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy years to his most unlikely pairing with Marilyn Monroe: Here is a highly acclaimed book that is "compulsively readable" (Booklist, starred review).
Christopher Bigsby explores all of Arthur Miller's work, including plays, poetry, fiction and prose, in this comprehensive study. Using previously unpublished and unknown material, including conversations with Miller, Bigsby paints a compelling picture of how Miller's works were influenced by, and created in the light of, events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Arthur Miller's life spans more than four decades and includes three marriages - famously to America's enduring icon, Marilyn Monroe - numerous plays, novels and an autobiography. Martin Gottfried utilizes private letters from and to Arthur Miller where Miller discusses everything from movie deals to house decoration, from his psychoanalysis to his portrayal of Monroe in his play After the Fall. Using these materials as well as interviews with those who know Miller, Gottfried crafts the complete life and work of this major writer.
"Beautiful Chaos is an extraordinary journey of Carey Perloff and her theatre, ACT. Their continued evolution and ability to define and re-define themselves with courage, tenacity, and bravery allow them to confront what seem like insurmountable odds. This continues to shape and inspire Carey and those who work with her."--Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress"Carey Perloff's lively, outspoken memoir of adventures in running and directing theatre will be a key document in the story of playmaking in America."--Tom Stoppard, Playwright "Carey Perloff, quite literally, raised a vibrant new theater from the rubble of an old one. This refreshingly honest account of her triumphs and misfires over the past two decades is both a fascinating read and an invaluable handbook for anyone attempting such a labor of love."--Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City "Carey Perloff's marvel of a book is part memoir of a working mother, a passionate artist, a woman flourishing in a male-dominated craft- and part lavish love letter to theater. It is as lively, thoughtful, and insightful an account I have ever read about the art form. This one is for any person who has ever sat in the dark and been spellbound by the transformative power of theater."--Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner "Carey Perloff is a veteran of the regional theatre wars. Beautiful Chaos is her vivacious account of her ambitious work commanding San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre (ACT). The book exudes Perloff's trademark brio: smart, outspoken, full of fun and ferment."--John Lahr, author of Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh "This is an engaged, engaging, deeply intelligent, and passionate account of why the theatre matters and how it works in a city and in a society. It is also a fascinating and essential chapter in the history of San Francisco itself, as well as the story of a committed theatre artist's determination and vision."--Colm Toibin, author of Nora Webster Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of San Francisco's legendary American Conservatory Theater, pens a lively and revealing memoir of her twenty-plus years at the helm and delivers a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today's technology-infused world. Perloff's personal and professional journey--her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession, as a wife and mother, a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with enormous change--is a compelling, entertaining story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. She offers a behind-the-scenes perspective, including her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors, and writers, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn, and Olympia Dukakis. Whether reminiscing about her turbulent first years as a young woman taking over an insolvent theater in crisis and transforming it into a thriving, world-class performance space, or ruminating on the potential for its future, Perloff takes on critical questions about arts education, cultural literacy, gender disparity, leadership, and power. Carey Perloff is an award-winning playwright, theater director, and the artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco since 1992.
The year 2006 marked the centenary of the birth of Nobel-Prize winning playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett. To commemorate the occasion, this collection brings together twenty-three leading international Beckett scholars from ten countries, who take on the centenary challenge of "revolving it all" that is, going "back to Beckett"-the title of an earlier study by critic Ruby Cohn, to whom the book is dedicated-in order to rethink traditional readings and theories; provide new contexts and associations; and reassess his impact on the modern imagination and legacy to future generations.
These original essays, most first presented by the Samuel Beckett Working Group at the Dublin centenary celebration, are divided into three sections: (1) Thinking through Beckett, (2) Shifting Perspectives, and (3) Echoing Beckett. As repeatedly in his canon, images precede words. The book opens with stills from films of experimental filmmaker Peter Gidal and unpublished excerpts from Beckett's 1936-37 German Travel Diaries, presented by Beckett biographer James Knowlson, with permission from the Beckett estate.
Renowned director and theatre theoretician Herbert Blau follows with his personal Beckett "thinking through." Others in Part I explore Beckett and philosophy (Abbott), the influences of Bergson (Gontarski) and Leibniz (Mori), Beckett and autobiography (Locatelli), and Agamben on post-Holocaust testimony (Jones). Essays in Part II recontextualize Beckett's works in relation to iconography (Moorjani), film theoretician Rudolf Arnheim (Engelberts), Marshall McLuhan (Ben-Zvi), exilic writing (McMullan), Pierre Bourdieu's literary field (Siess), romanticism (Brater), social theorists Adorno and Horkheimer (Degani-Raz), and performance issues (Rodr guez-Gago). Part III relates Beckett's writing to that of Yeats (Okamuro), Paul Auster (Campbell), Caryl Churchill (Diamond), William Saroyan (Bryden), Minoru Betsuyaku and Harold Pinter (Tanaka) and Morton Feldman and Jasper Johns (Laws). Finally, Beckett himself becomes a character in other playwrights' works (Zeifman). Taken together these essays make a clear case for the challenges and rewards of thinking through Beckett in his second century.