×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Astaires: Fred & Adele
     

The Astaires: Fred & Adele

4.0 1
by Kathleen Riley
 

See All Formats & Editions

This is the first book about the theatre career of Fred and Adele Astaire, detailing their years in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in London, their impact culturally, and the essence of their partnership on and off the stage.

Overview

This is the first book about the theatre career of Fred and Adele Astaire, detailing their years in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in London, their impact culturally, and the essence of their partnership on and off the stage.

Editorial Reviews

Toni Bentley
…fascinating…Kathleen Riley describes the exploits of this brother-sister team in glorious detail. And it becomes clear that it was behind and beside, but never in front of, Adele that Fred learned not only how to dance, but how to present a woman, honor her and make her glow…Riley performs the great service of giving us the history before the history, of Fred and Adele, the biggest vaudeville and musical theater stars of their time. It's a love story rarely told, of that between a sister and her brother, one bonded in blood but cemented by hoofing. It's also the tale of one more relentlessly devoted stage mother, who joins Rose Thompson Hovick in that distinguished pantheon of ambitious bulldozers.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
In this comprehensive coverage of Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele Astaire, Riley (Nigel Hawthorne On Stage) offers a splendiferous glimpse of gaiety, scintillating style, syncopated rhythms; and lost glamour, noting, “The story of the Astaires conjures up a vanished world.” Leaving their hometown of Omaha in 1905, the two began in vaudeville as child performers, receiving vocal and dance training in New York. While touring the country in 1908–1909, one manager said, “The girl seems to have talent, but the boy can do nothing.” By 1917, both were on Broadway in the patriotic Over the Top, and during the next 15 years they were showered with accolades as they performed in London and New York. The celebrated siblings split up after Adele married in 1932. Offering fascinating anecdotes and surprising details, Riley contrasts Fred’s perfectionism with Adele’s alluring impudence: critic Richard Watts found her “funny and bewitching.” Riley writes with zest and authoritative expertise, displaying a grace and elegance equal to her subjects. Her scholarly skills are showcased in this effervescent, spirited history, with a concluding “Chronologies,” an informative 18-page chart, printed sideways, that lists all Astaire shows with their musical numbers, production personnel, and theaters. 50 b&w halftones. (Mar. 1)
From the Publisher
"Kathleen Riley's book on Fred and Adele—the first full-scale study—is a welcome rehabilitation...The Astaires is a salute to an America at ease with itself and doing something wonderful in the song-and-dance line that seemed, for a time, like the hottest thing in the culture." —The Wall Street Journal

"In her fascinating new book The Astaires, the Australian theater historian Kathleen Riley describes the exploits of this brother-sister team in glorious detail." —The New York Times Book Review

"Riley writes with zest and authoritative expertise, displaying a grace and elegance equal to her subjects." —Publishers Weekly

"A fascinating look at a movie icon and a revealing snapshot of theater history." —Booklist

"The Astaires: Fred and Adele is a page-turner of a biography, briskly written and immaculately researched. Author Kathleen Riley has, among other things, been given access to audio recordings of Adele Astaire that allow her to tell her story with an authority uncommon in modern biographies. This is an excellent work, well worth reading." —The New York Journal of Books

"With this book, Kathleen Riley has given Adele her proper place in the life and legacy of her brother. Recreating a time when 'celebrity' meant talent, charisma and dedication with her evocative prose, this book is a 'must' for Astaire and musical theatre history fans." —Larry Billman, author Fred Astaire: A Bio-Bibliography and Film Choreographers and Dance Directors

"We are so accustomed to thinking of 'Astaire' teamed up with 'Rogers' that we overlook Astaire's stage career with sister Adele. That story is told with elegance and authority in Kathleen Riley's enthralling, thoroughly researched The Astaires, a book that sheds further light on an important period in Fred Astaire's pre-screen career." —Peter Evans, Emeritus Professor of Film Studies, Queen Mary, University of London

"Of the many books on Fred Astaire, this is the most unique. Focusing on Fred's amazing partnership with his sister, Adele, Kathleen Riley has produced a work of remarkable depth and nuanced detail." —Ken Barnes, Writer and Producer

"Although I was extremely close to both my father and my aunt, in this informative book Kathleen Riley has captured the essence of their lovely spirits far better than I could." —Ava Astaire McKenzie

"[A] brilliant and thoroughly researched account of their performing partnership." —W. Royal Stokes, author of Growing Up With Jazz: Twenty-Four Musicians Talk About Their Lives and Careers

Library Journal
Although Fred Astaire's dance partnership with Ginger Rogers has been written about in a number of books, this is the first full-length work on the brother-and-sister pairing that preceded it. Riley, a classics scholar and modern theater historian, staged the first international conference on the art and legacy of Fred Astaire at Oxford University in 2008. Her meticulous research is drawn mainly from primary sources. A number of historical photographs are included, as are chronologies of the stage shows and charity events in which the pair performed. As Riley notes in the preface, "The story of Fred and Adele Astaire is an extraordinary one and deserves to be told for its own sake and not merely as the prologue to Fred's more famous solo career." She takes us from the beginning of the 20th century to the early 1930s, and along the way we encounter Noël Coward, George and Ira Gershwin, Florenz Ziegfeld, Charles Dillingham, and other members of theatrical (and actual) royalty (Adele retired from show business and married a member of the British aristocracy). VERDICT A scholarly work that will appeal to dance and theater historians and devotees.—Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199913077
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
554,712
File size:
7 MB

Meet the Author

Born in Australia and educated in Sydney and Oxford Universities, Kathleen Riley is a classical scholar and modern theater historian. She is the author of Nigel Hawthorne on Stage (2204) and The Reception and Performance of Euripides' Herakles: Reasoning Madness (2008). At Oxford in 2008 she convened the first international conference on the art and legacy of Fred Astaire.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Astaires 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago