Me and Orson Welles: A Novel

( 12 )

Overview

Now a major motion picture from acclaimed director Richard Linklater, starring Zac Efron, Claire Danes, and Ben Chaplin.

An irresistible romantic farce that reads like a Who's Who of the classic American theater, Me and Orson Welles is set during the launch of the then twenty-two-year-old Orson Welles' debut production of Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theatre on Broadway. Beautifully translated to screen by Richard Linklater, the film stars Zac Efron as Richard Samuels, a ...

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Me and Orson Welles: A Novel

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Overview

Now a major motion picture from acclaimed director Richard Linklater, starring Zac Efron, Claire Danes, and Ben Chaplin.

An irresistible romantic farce that reads like a Who's Who of the classic American theater, Me and Orson Welles is set during the launch of the then twenty-two-year-old Orson Welles' debut production of Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theatre on Broadway. Beautifully translated to screen by Richard Linklater, the film stars Zac Efron as Richard Samuels, a stage-struck seventeen-year-old from New Jersey who wanders onto the set and accidentally gets cast in the show, forever changing his life as he becomes caught in a vortex of celebrity, ego, art, and love.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
" Richard, in the span of 269 breezy pages, falls in love, has his heart broken, sees his showbiz dreams crushed, and-beautifully, almost imperceptively-becomes a man."
-Entertainment Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143117124
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Edition description: Media Tie
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 949,773
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Kaplow is a teacher and writer best known for the satirical songs and sketches he writes for NPR’s Morning Edition, where he created "Moe Moskowitz and the Punsters." His award-winning young adult novels include Alessandra in Love and Alex Icicle: A Romance in Ten Torrid Chapters.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2009

    Talent Only?

    We are in New York, in 1937. Our hero, the 17-year-old aspiring Richard Samuels' dream is to be an actor. While listening to the radio he feels that the world of celebrity is easily approachable for him. He is close to the truth: one day he finds himself face to face with the crew of Mercury Theatre. After a neat compliment, few lines of singing and a well-composed answer Richard gets a small role in the soon-to-be-opened Julius Caesar. Robert Kaplow's Me and Orson Welles shows us how the boy becomes an adult in a week and represents Welles' ostentatious personality.


    The book entertains us and stays true to reality at the same time: in the beginning, humor is provided by the character of Welles, but later he throws away the masque of every humanlike quality except his talent, wrapping the critics and the whole crew of Mercury Theatre around his finger, including inexperienced Richard. And even the door of the radio studio read: Talent Only. So this is the only quality an actor might need? Kaplow's drama tells it to us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Most of the Young Adult fiction I've read in the past decade or

    Most of the Young Adult fiction I've read in the past decade or so has either been fantasy based (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson) or dystopian (Hunger Games). It was a nice change-of-pace to read a YA (or what I guess is now called "New Adult") set in the "real world," even if it is the real world of almost 80 years ago. The book is a fast, easy read, taking place over the course of one solid week and told strictly from the point of view of narrator Richard Samuels. Samuels is an endearing character: bright, insecure-yet-bold, recognizable. As so many of us experienced in our teens, Richard finds it easier to take chances and be bold when he's around people who don't really know him, and is far more insecure when he encounters similar situations in which his friends are involved. And of course, he doesn't treat his parents with half the thought and care he should. His week with the Mercury Theater teaches him the reality of who he is versus who he thinks he wants to be (and how not-so-different those persons are) and lessons about how to deal with people when you're not a singular personality like Orson Welles.

    There were dozens of laugh-out-loud moments mixed in with the drama. Kaplow strikes a nice balance between the two extremes and never veers too far in one direction or another. And he captures so well the sense of what it must have been like to see that opening night performance of Welles' Julius Caesar.

    I have no idea how well this book translated to film (starring Zac Efron as Richard, with Claire Danes and Christian McKay), but the book is a solid, enjoyable read that I think anyone who has been an teen actor (or any parent who has a teen actor child) would enjoy.

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  • Posted June 6, 2012

    A Fine Novella

    A well written and entertaining coming-of-age story. The legendary Orson Welles comes to life again.

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  • Posted September 5, 2011

    Conflict of Interest

    I think it is wrong for a school to require 300+ students to purchase and read a book written by one of the teachers. If it was not required, I would never read this book and I would definitely not pay this inflated price.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2008

    Big Dreams

    Through the protagonist, the novel Me and Orson Welles demonstrates that it takes more than a wish to achieve a dream. It isn't all about the goal; it is the hard work that it takes to accomplish the challenge. <BR/><BR/>Every time Richard walks along the New York streets he re-lives his dream of being discovered by a famous producer who will turn him into a star. He finally gets that opportunity and lands a part in a play.<BR/><BR/>Richard is a romantic in the true sense of the word. He has big time dreams of being a somebody, but throughout the book he evolves. His dynamic character progresses from an awkward, lanky teen to an individual who accepts himself as he truly is instead of trying to be someone he's not.<BR/><BR/>The author's writing is filled with specific details that shape a clear picture in the mind's eye. It really sets the stage, but at times the detailing is excess. His descriptions are so colorful that the moment is lost in translation. The plot was also jumbled.<BR/><BR/>Me and Orson Welles took a new twist on the regular coming of age novel with its original scenery and new story line. I highly recommend this novel to drama experts, theater lovers, and those who would like an entertaining, fresh novel to read for enjoyment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2004

    Elegant, artuful, and funny

    Brilliant recreation of a lost masterpiece: told with wit, energy, and fantastic style. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2003

    Excellent read

    I read an advance copy of this novel, and it was one of the best books I've read in 2003. a super story, witty and engaging. A great read for all ages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2003

    A great read

    This is a touching, beautifully written account of a young man's coming of age, set against a backdrop of the l930s. Full of perfect period details and wise observations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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