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Ghost Light A Memoir (Paperback)

Author:  Frank Rich
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FORMAT: Paperback
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Learn more about Ghost Light:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0375758240
ISBN-13: 9780375758249
Sku: 30801626
Publish Date: 10/1/2001
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8H x 5.25L x 0.75T
Pages:  352
Age Range:  NA
To be an American kid in the fifties was to live in a sparkling, hopeful world where ignorance really was bliss. (from the first line)
Parents spoke in euphemistic private codes rather than say anything that might mar the tableaux of contentment they tirelessly constructed for wide young eyes. | We lived in Somerset, where the streets were called Dorset and Warwick and Uppingham and Trent--their very names a farcical affront to reality. The English did not dwell in our bonny Somerset, and neither did their local heirs, the Protestants, who had their own, restricted neighborhoods barely miles away. Somerset, a subdivision built just across the District line in Maryland but not far enough from a city turning black to be among the most desirable of suburbs, was mainly the province of Jews. The houses were not baronial estates but mostly small and new, inhabited by men who had come back from the war to build careers and families and to tend continually to their front lawns and backyards, also small but, as a point of honor, impeccably green. Inside the houses was a riot of wallpaper, some of it depicting scenes more in keeping with the neighborhood's cosmopolitan aspirations. April in Paris? The Weinsteins' dining room was a fanciful rendering of a Parisian boulevard sketched in broad lines and pastels, the kiosks and flower stalls circled by a profusion of dancing pink and black poodles. Even this scene had a recognizable air of American domesticity; it was the cartoon Paree we'd glimpsed in Looney Tunes.
The renowned New York Times drama critic and columnist describes growing up in Washington, D.C., during the 1950s and 1960s and explains how he found refuge from the turmoil of childhood and his own parents divorce in the great Broadway musicals, a sanctuary that evolved into a lifelong love affair with the theater. Readers Guide included. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.. *Author: Rich, Frank *Subtitle: A Memoir *Publication Date: 2001/10/01 *Binding Type: Paperback *Language: English *Depth: 0.75 *Width: 5.25 *Height: 8.00
From the Publisher:
There is a superstition that if an emptied theater is ever left completely dark, a ghost will take up residence. To prevent this, a single "ghost light" is left burning at center stage after the audience and all of the actors and musicians have gone home. Frank Rich's eloquent and moving boyhood memoir reveals how theater itself became a ghost light and a beacon of security for a child finding his way in a tumultuous world.

Rich grew up in the small-townish Washington, D.C., of the 1950s and early '60s, a place where conformity seemed the key to happiness for a young boy who always felt different. When Rich was seven years old, his parents separated--at a time when divorce was still tantamount to scandal--and thereafter he and his younger sister were labeled "children from a broken home." Bouncing from school to school and increasingly lonely, Rich became terrified of the dark and the uncertainty of his future. But there was one thing in his life that made him sublimely happy: the Broadway theater.

Rich's parents were avid theatergoers, and in happier times they would listen to the brand-new recordings of South Pacific, Damn Yankees, and The Pajama Game over and over in their living room. When his mother's remarriage brought about turbulent changes, Rich took refuge in these same records, re-creating the shows in his imagination, scene by scene. He started collecting Playbills, studied fanatically the theater listings in The New York Times and Variety, and cut out ads to create his own miniature marquees. He never imagined that one day he would be the Times's chief theater critic.

Eventually Rich found a second home at Wash-ington's National Theatre, where as a teenager he was a ticket-taker and was introduced not only to the backstage magic he had dreamed of for so long but to a real-life cast of charismatic and eccentric players who would become his mentors and friends. With humor and eloquence, Rich tells the triumphant story of how the aspirations of a stagestruck young boy became a lifeline, propelling him toward the itinerant family of theater, whose romantic denizens welcomed him into the colorful fringes of Broadway during its last glamorous era.

Every once in a while, a grand spectacle comes along that introduces its audiences to characters and scenes that will resound in their memories long after the curtain has gone down. Ghost Light, Frank Rich's beautifully crafted childhood memoir, is just such an event.
The renowned New York Times drama critic and columnist describes growing up in Washington, D.C., during the 1950s and 1960s and explains how he found refuge from the turmoil of childhood and his own parents' divorce in the great Broadway musicals, a sanctuary that evolved into a lifelong love affair with the theater. Reader's Guide included. Reprint. 50,000 first printing..
Rich, who was the chief drama critic for the New York Times from 1980 to 1993, shares how he shaped his love for theater into a lifelong commitment. From his D.C. childhood in the 1950s and '60s, to his experience as the eyes and ears of the Great White Way in the 1980s and early '90s, Rich relates his exhilarating relationship with the stage.


New York Times Book Review
"[W]e are offered...something...revealing and unexpected: recollections of highly charged and emotional responses to theater from a child's perspective...." - James Shapiro 10/29/2000

New York Times
"There are no absolute villains in Mr. Rich's compellingly readable story; for the most part the people in his life, like the characters in a satisfying play, are given their full, complex dimension. If Mr. Rich's father remains hazy to the reader, this probably reflects his passive presence in his son's life rather than the writer's failure to render him fairly. Even the abusive and overbearing Joel Fisher is granted redemption by Mr. Rich's evenhanded depiction of his stepfather's enthusiasm and generosity, and by the sympathetic disclosure of his tragic secret past." - Hilma Wolitzer 10/30/2000

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0352
Product attributePublisher:   Random House Trade
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