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Joy Ride: Show People and Their Shows by…
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Joy Ride: Show People and Their Shows

by John Lahr

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The author is a former writer for the New Yorker; here he shares some of his profiles and reviews. The commentary on the playwrights, directors, and shows is well written and lively, even if I do sometimes disagree with his assessment. His biographical sketches are interesting, and help to add some understanding to some of the work of these artists. There is one major complaint - he places the date the piece was written at the end of the piece, and it can become difficult when he references things like "this year" or "next year" without that frame of reference; I found myself constantly flipping forward to figure out what the time frame was.

Another interesting feature is that it adds a new perspective on the lack of diversity in theatre. The book is dominated by white males. There was one female director, one female writer, and one writer of color. The total lack of diverse voices in such an important publication goes a long way to explaining the lack of visibility of writers who are not white or male in the greater theatre scene. I could think of a slew of other possible subjects he could have written about, many of them at least as prominent as writers who were covered. This feature was very disappointing. I hope if the author does any further anthologies, he seeks to correct that omission. ( )
1 vote Devil_llama | Apr 6, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039324640X, Hardcover)

A collection of John Lahr’s New Yorker profiles and reviews that are “the nearest we get to modern theatre history” (The Spectator).

Joy Ride throws open the stage door and introduces readers to such makers of contemporary drama as Arthur Miller, Tony Kushner, Wallace Shawn, Harold Pinter, David Rabe, David Mamet, Mike Nichols, and August Wilson. Lahr takes us to the cabin in the woods that Arthur Miller built in order to write Death of a Salesman; we walk with August Wilson through the Pittsburgh ghetto where we encounter the inspiration for his great cycle; we sit with Ingmar Bergman at the Kunglinga Theatre in Stockholm, where he attended his first play; we visit with Harold Pinter at his London home and learn the source of the feisty David Mamet’s legendary ear for dialogue.

In its juxtaposition of biographical detail and critical analysis, Joy Ride explores with insight and panache not only the lives of the theatricals but the liveliness of the stage worlds they have created.

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(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 24 Jul 2015 11:20:31 -0400)

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