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Friday, November 4, 2011

Wendy And The Lost Boys

I am madly in love with Wendy Wasserstein in that oh-em-gee-your-plays-rock-my-world kind of way, so reading Wendy and the Lost Boys by Julie Salamon was a no-brainer.  I should give you a bit of background first...

About six months ago I realized that I was seeing a lot of shows but not reading many plays, so I took it upon myself to start reading one play a week to pick up on a large chunk of work that I was unfamiliar with.  To simplify my process, I choose one playwright at a time and read their whole cannon before proceeding, and I am working on alternating males and females while mixing up race as well.  I started with August Wilson's Century Cycle, then moved on to Wendy Wasserstein since the theatre I work for had a long-standing relationship with her, and my boss knew her well.  I thought it was appropriate.  (I know you don't care, but I am on Harold Pinter right now.  What this means is, you would have an additional book review each week if I were reviewing the plays--but I digress.)

I fell in love with Wendy and her characters.  I relate to her work and I am moved by seeing her in all of her characters--the search for oneself and the longing for the unattainably perfect life we were told we could have, or, even worse, the life our parents want us to have without regard for what we want.  Wendy and I might be separated by a few decades in age, but I relate to her work so deeply.  Reading Wendy and the Lost Boys was an incredibly enjoyable experience.

On top of getting down and dirty with Wendy's family (what a clan!), this book also added another chapter to the "History of Off-Broadway" cannon.  You can't have a history of Off-Broadway without a history of it's people, and this book is no exception.  It joins Free For All: Joe Papp, The Public, and The Greatest Theater Story Ever Told by Kenneth Turan and Joseph Papp as one of my favorite theatre history books.

I have no doubt that there are some inaccuracies as people claim--Wendy passed away over 5 years ago and was an incredibly private person anyhow when alive--but I appreciate the story as a whole and love the tribute that this book is to her and to her work, the work that I admire so deeply.

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