YEAR OF THE PEARL

THE LIFE OF A NEW YORK REPORTORY COMPANY

Hapgood (coauthor, Monte Cassino, 1984, etc.) indulges his love of theater by dogging the steps of Shepard Sobel, artistic director of Manhattan's Pearl Theatre, during the company's 1991-92 season. Founded in 1984 and currently ensconced in a 72-seat theater in the way-Off-Broadway Chelsea district, the Pearl cleaves to a kind of college-theater idealism, dedicated to sustaining a small resident company of actors (paid $180 a week) and focusing on the classics (``We try to take the audience to the playwright, not the playwright to the twentieth century,'' says Sobel). So the 1991-92 season kicks off with Moliäre's Tartuffe, followed by such box- office inflammables as Euripedes' The Trojan Women and Ibsen's Ghosts—clearly, it will be no sleigh ride meeting the $380,000 budget. To make matters worse, the Pearl's chief fund-raiser dies of AIDS, and artistic problems arise during rehearsals of Tartuffe, particularly with two actors who don't get along with Sobel. The author interviews everyone connected with the show, including Sobel's wife, Joanne Camp, who plays Elmire in Tartuffe, not to mention leads in many other Pearl productions—a fact that produces considerable enmity between her and other female company members. Along the way, Hapgood is surprised to find how intelligent the actors are...and how noble, what with their meager bag lunches. As it turns out, the season yields mixed reviews from the critics (who in turn get drubbed here) and comes in slightly under budget. Only theatrical novices and wannabes will be enlightened by Hapgood's take on life as it really is for theatrical professionals. What's more, the author has stars in his eyes, so none of the significant questions are asked—above all, what purpose does the Pearl really serve? (Sixteen pages of photographs- -not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-41165-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1993

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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