Many are called, but few have the stamina to put in twelve-hour days of practice, rehearsal, and lessons as does Ed Barker,...

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STAYING POWER: Performing Artists Talk About Their Lives

Many are called, but few have the stamina to put in twelve-hour days of practice, rehearsal, and lessons as does Ed Barker, who recently landed the principal bass position with the Boston Symphony at 22. French horn player Elizabeth Johnston complains of her long hours and low pay--but wouldn't ""waste myself"" by doing anything else. The sense of ""doing what I want and must do"" despite hardship and setback is conveyed also by Twyla-Tharp dancer Tom Rawe, who tells of dance companies routinely ""laying off"" dancers after 20 weeks, so they can collect unemployment insurance and keep working; by Nashville guitarist/arranger John Knowles, who holds a Ph.D. in physics but gave up a job with Texas Instruments for his first love, music; by actress Tisa Chang, who founded the Pan-Asian Repertory Company to give performers of Asian descent an outlet other than Flower Drum Song; by Washington-based Rebecca Rice who integrates her acting with a strong commitment to social change; and by all twelve of the performing artists profiled here. None are stars, none are cleaning up, but all earn money (if not always a living) from their art. Most are in their thirties, some younger. Filmmaker Barton introduces each, then lets them speak for themselves, and is quite successful in allowing their individual voices to emerge. The subject has appeal for YAs (though they won't find a mention of the less tried, teenage new-wavers who are popping up everywhere); and without overemphasis, Barton gets across the message of the title--that you can't just want to be a performing artist.

Pub Date: July 25, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1980