The Play That Changed My Life: America's Foremost Playwrights on the Plays That Influenced Them

Overview

(Applause Books). What was the play that changed your life? What was the play that inspired you; that showed you something entirely new; that was so thrilling or surprising, breathtaking or poignant, that you were never the same? Nineteen of today's most gifted playwrights respond in this most revealing and personal book, published by Applause Books and presented by the American Theatre Wing, founder of The Tony Awards. From Edward Albee's 1935 visit to New York's Hippodrome Theatre to see Jimmy Durante (and an elephant) in Rodgers and Hart's

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Overview

(Applause Books). What was the play that changed your life? What was the play that inspired you; that showed you something entirely new; that was so thrilling or surprising, breathtaking or poignant, that you were never the same? Nineteen of today's most gifted playwrights respond in this most revealing and personal book, published by Applause Books and presented by the American Theatre Wing, founder of The Tony Awards. From Edward Albee's 1935 visit to New York's Hippodrome Theatre to see Jimmy Durante (and an elephant) in Rodgers and Hart's Jumbo, to Diana Son's twelfth-grade field trip in 1983 to see Diane Venora play Hamlet at The Public Theater, from David Henry Hwang's seminal San Francisco encounter with Equus to a young Beth Henley's epiphany after seeing her mother in a "Green Bean Man costume," The Play That Changed My Life offers readers a unique peek into the theatrical influences of some of the nation's most important dramatists. The book is filled with tributes, memories, anecdotes and other insights that connect past to present and make this volume an instant "must have" for anyone who adores the theatre. Also in the book are pieces by David Auburn, Jon Robin Baitz, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Charles Fuller, A. R. Gurney, Tina Howe, David Ives, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, John Patrick Shanley, Regina Taylor, and Doug Wright, as well as an introduction by Paula Vogel. All together, the playwrights featured here have won more than 40 Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, Obies, and MacArthur genius grants.

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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Healy
…a valuable new collection of essays and interviews from the American Theater Wing, founder of the Tony Awards and a sponsor of theatrical education programs. Anyone working in theater probably would have something to contribute, but the Wing wisely chose to resist the commercial benefits of turning to stars for anecdotes. Instead it solicited insights from 21 of America's best playwrights, artists equipped to write knowingly and movingly about the ways that plays and theater gave them a calling.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557837400
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 178
  • Sales rank: 1,377,117
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Howard Sherman ix

Preface Ben Hodges xiii

Introduction Paula Vogel xvii

1 Little Rock David Auburn 1

2 On Reading and Seeing Plays Jon Robin Baitz 7

3 Distilled to Its Essence Nilo Cruz 13

4 The Incipient Existentialist and the Broadway Musical Christopher Durang 21

5 Pasadena and Beyond. The New York Theater Horton Foote 33

6 Memories Charles Fuller 43

7 Back in Buffalo A. R. Gurney 49

8 Plays That Changed My Life Beth Henley 57

9 "Tiens, il est neuf heures" Tina Howe 67

10 Two Plays, Two Lives David Henry Hwang 73

11 Indelicately Unbalanced David Ives 81

12 A Playwright's Search for the Spiritual Father Donald Margulies 91

13 Succotash on Ice Lynn Nottage 99

14 Everything Changes: Your Life Suzan-Lori Parks 109

15 The Baltimore Waltz and the plays of my childhood Sarah Ruhl 119

16 Standing in the Wings John Patrick Shanley 129

17 I Will Follow Diana Son 135

18 Adrienne Kennedy Regina Taylor 143

19 Bruce and Charles Doug Wright 151

Acknowledgments 167

The American Theatre Wing 171

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