Drama: An Actor's Education

Hardcover | March 12, 2012

byJohn Lithgow

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In this riveting and surprising personal history, John Lithgow shares a backstage view of his own struggle, crisis, and discovery, revealing the early life and career that took place out of the public eye and before he became a nationally known star.

Above all, Lithgow’s memoir is a tribute to his most important influence: his father, Arthur Lithgow, who, as an actor, director, producer, and great lover of Shakespeare, brought theater to John’s boyhood. From bedtime stories to Arthur’s illustrious productions, performance and storytelling were constant and cherished parts of family life.Dramatells of the Lithgows’ countless moves between Arthur’s gigs—John attended eight secondary schools before flourishing onstage at Harvard—and details with poignancy and sharp recollection the moments that introduced a budding young actor to the undeniable power of theater.

Before Lithgow gained fame with the filmThe World According to Garpand the television show3rd Rock from the Sun, his early years were full of scenes both hilarious and bittersweet. A shrewd acting performance saved him from duty in Vietnam. His involvement with a Broadway costar brought an end to his early first marriage. The theater worlds of New York and London come alive as Lithgow relives his collaborations with renowned performers and directors, including Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse, Liv Ullmann, and Meryl Streep. His ruminations on the nature of theater, film acting, and storytelling cut to the heart of why actors are driven to perform, and why people are driven to watch them do it.

Lithgow’s memory is clear and his wit sharp, and much of the humor that runs throughoutDramacomes at his own expense. But he also chronicles the harrowing moments of his past, reflecting with moving candor on friends made and lost, mistakes large and small, and the powerful love of a father who set him on the road to a life onstage.

Illuminating, funny, affecting, and thoroughly engrossing,Dramaraises the curtain on the making of one of our most beloved actors.

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From the Publisher

In this riveting and surprising personal history, John Lithgow shares a backstage view of his own struggle, crisis, and discovery, revealing the early life and career that took place out of the public eye and before he became a nationally known star.Above all, Lithgow’s memoir is a tribute to his most important influence: his father, A...

John Lithgow is an award-winning actor who has starred on stage, film, and television. ANew York Timesbestselling author of eight books for children, he lives in New York and Los Angeles.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.38 × 6.63 × 1.11 inPublished:March 12, 2012Publisher:HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0061734977

ISBN - 13:9780061734977

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Charming & honest memoir The Good Stuff Charming and honest Hilarious and self deprecating The bit about how he got out of Vietnam is very honest and you really can feel his shame about what he did - honest and powerful Loved how he talked about his Dad and his faults but never laid blame and owns up to his own mistakes Fascinating information about the theatre scene during the sixties and seventies Great background information on some now famous stars Never gossipy, tacky or lurid, although some real life actors are very thinly disguised (hmm Cliff Robertson) Impressed with his writing style, sort of like he is talking to you Loved how he talked about how lucky he was to have had the contacts and the luck he did. Comes right out that he got his breaks it due to nepotism - very frankly done There better be a second book because I am very interested in his stories about his tv and film career The Not so Good Stuff Hoping there is going to be a second memoir that explores his later life and career. Slightly disappointed that there is very little about his movie and TV career, as this is how I was introduced to his talent (his portrayal of Roberta in The World According to Garp is brilliant and on Dexter he creeped the s**t out of me he was so good) Some of it comes across as a little theatrical pretentious but he's up front about that and it is something that is prevalent in most actors, so not really a bad thing, just more of an FYI Favorite Quotes/Passages "All of this urgent artistic activity took place before I was ten. Years later, big sister Robin told me that she'd found it all insufferably pretentious. Looking back, I have to agree. But at the time, and for many years later, I was deadly serious." "Adults never entirely forget that they are watching actors pretend. You can certainly have an impact on them. You can surprise them, move them, shock them, and make them laugh. But you're not fooling them for a moment. Adults always sit in the theatre with the smug, unwavering knowledge that they are watching a calculated piece of fiction. Not so children." "Before he went to sleep, Dad thanked me for the story as if I had given him a treasured gift. But he'd given me a gift, too. It was the gift of a father's love.: Who should/shouldn't read Fabulous for fans of Lithgow and his stage work Theatre buffs will also enjoy Those who were looking forward to more tales of his TV and movie career, will be a wee bit disappointed 4.25 Dewey's I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review- Thanks guys, now I am totally counting down the days to his signing -- hope not to gush too much when I meet him -- hmm wonder what cookies I am going to make for him
Date published: 2011-09-27

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Editorial Reviews

“John Lithgow’s memoir, Drama, reminded me that the world is indeed all a stage and that professionals have some great ideas about how to perform on it.”