Backstage Chatter

By Gener, Randy | American Theatre, September 2004 | Go to article overview

Backstage Chatter


Gener, Randy, American Theatre


MAKING IT ON BROADWAY: ACTORS' TALES OF CLIMBING TO THE TOP

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by David Wiener and Jodie Langel, Allworth Press, New York City.

268 pp, $19.95 cloth.

TRANS-GLOBAL READINGS: CROSSING THEATRICAL BOUNDARIES

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Edited by Caridad Svich, Manchester University Press/Palgrave, New York City and London.

208 pp, $24.95 cloth.

WORKING ON THE INSIDE: THE SPIRITUAL LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF ACTORS

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by Retta Blaney, Sheed & Ward, Lanham, Md.

160 pp, $17.95 cloth.

SOME BOOKS BRANDISH RECONDITE learning on every congested page, turning their "deep thoughts" into a comedy of gray matter. Others mete out advice, self-hype and nonsense--they might as well be labeled "Guides to the Snooty World of Stage." And then there is the raging river of "artist interviews," each one promising to reveal the inner workings of creativity.

Of the three new voice-of-the-artist collections under consideration here, Making It on Broadway has the juiciest dish, the largest sample number--and the unprettiest picture. It is a scrapbook of bite-sized horror stories, organized around headings like "Survival Jobs," "Sex in the Workplace" and "The Base of the Tony is Plastic." How Sam Harris and Andrea McArdle attracted some strange stalkers. How the lines get so blurred in musical theatre that some cast members get overly familiar and slap female actors on the ass. This very sobering book may actually serve to turn away young hopefuls from the stage, since it collects raw data without explaining how the 150 Broadway actors interviewed managed to stick it out anyway. …

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