The Playgoer: While I've Been Gone...

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

While I've Been Gone...

I blog before you now a married man and an bonafide PhD "candidate." So, now that those milestones have passed, on with the blogging!

First, let me publicly and profusely thank all my fearless (and peerless) guest bloggers since August: Abigail Katz, Chris Mills, Brook Stowe, Steven Leigh Morris, and the good Dr. Cashmere. It was a pleasure to log onto the site as merely an observer and read so many different voices for a change. So thanks to all for keeping the conversation(s) going, on so many different fronts.

Now that I've returned, let me get the important business out of the way. Some plugs!

While my blogging life may have been dormant these past eight weeks, haply it's been a good period for me on other publishing fronts, seeing some long-gestating projects come to fruition.

-I'm proud to make my debut in the "Best Plays" series with an essay surveying the 2006-2007 Off-Off scene. So check it out if you want to revisit such golden oldies as Hellhouse, God's Ear, breakthrough work by Young Jean Lee and Thomas Bradshaw, the rise and fall of companies such as EST, Jean Cocteau Rep, and much, much, so much more. As it has since, oh, 1920, Best Plays also offers comprehensive stats on the season, production lists, and, in this edition, insightful essays on the actual best-play selections, including: David Cote on Blackbird; Michael Feingold on Spring Awakening; Charles Isherwood on Dying City; Charles McNulty on Frost/Nixon; and Alisa Solomon on Passing Strange.

(Much thanks to editor Jeffrey Eric Jenkins for the gig, and for asking me back for the next volume, wherein I'll be profiling Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate. So if you have any good resources on Foote or the play, please do send them my way!)

-Best Plays is a great buy at just $20-$40 on Amazon. I wish I could say that about my other recent hardbound publication, the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol 341: 20th Century American Dramatists. But, hey, for a 421-page reference book I say at $250 it's a steal! Such is academic publishing--which also accounts for how such a book could take a decade to produce! (I've been involved only for the last seven years.)

Basically it's an encyclopedic collection of lengthy essays I edited profiling various modern US playwrights: including biggies like Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson; relatively overlooked icons like Marie Irene Fornes and Adrienne Kennedy; historically though seldom revived writers like Theodore Ward and Mae West (yes, that Mae West); and more recent contemporaries like Anna Deavere Smith, John Patrick Shanley, Eric Bogosian, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Charles Busch. I myself wrote the introduction and contributed a big fat piece on Clifford Odets, which I hope is the most comprehensive succinct narrative of his life and work you can get in one sitting.

I forgive you if you'd rather spend the two-fitty on a "premium" seat to 13, but if you're on a campus that has a library, perhaps you'd be so kind as to request its reference section order a copy. (After all, that's who it's really for.)

-A little while ago I got to interview Civillians AD Steve Cosson for a profile in Stage-Directions magazine, which came out in September. This was during their "Paris Commune" at the Public, which I got to sit in on an early rehearsal for. The performance itself--more or less a workshop in the Public's Lab series--was very, very promising, so I hope someone has the guts to stage it for real. The piece descrives both that piece and their "Beautiful City" which finally comes to NYC at the Vineyard in January. (Meanwhile, guest-blogger Steven reviewed the LA production while I was away.)

For a blogger used to the instant gratification of the internet tubes, waiting for all that dead tree material to finally come out sure was a drag! But, hey, now it's for the ages, I guess.

Nice to "see" you again, readers. Back to regular blogging soon....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back and double congratulations! And now for something completely different: I suspect you have a deal going with Amazon for every book referral and, though I appreciate the need to cover costs and make a buck, recommendations to such a destructive behemoth sit oddly with the tone of this blog. Perhaps you might include "and/or from your local independent bookstore" each time?