This Week's THEATER TALK to Feature Authors James Shapiro and Carolyn Quinn, 6/20 - 6/23
This week, THEATER TALK welcomes authors with two unique takes on American culture - James Shapiro, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, whose new book is Shakespeare in America, an anthology of writing about the Bard's impact on U.S. history; and Carolyn Quinn, author of Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother, whose book illuminates the life of the character central to one of America's greatest musicals, Gypsy.
Hosted by Michael Riedel and Susan Haskins, the new THEATER TALK episode premieres in the New York metropolitan area Friday, June 20 (2014) at 1 AM (Saturday morning) on Thirteen/PBS, and continues on CUNY TV* Saturday 6/21 at 8:30 PM, Sunday 6/22 at 12:30 PM, and Monday 6/23 at 7:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 7:30 PM.
Shapiro, a frequent THEATER TALK guest, returns to discuss his book of readings that chronicles our country's 250-year relationship with Shakespeare. Subjects include: the deadly Astor Place Riot of 1849, Orson Welles' notorious 1938 "voodoo" Macbeth with an African American cast, and Jane Addams' searing political essay, "A Modern Lear," written in response to the bloody Pullman railroad strike of 1894.
Next, writer Carolyn Quinn offers historical insight into the life of the matriarch who was the inspiration for Gypsy, the 1959 stage musical with a libretto by Arthur Laurents, based on stripper Gypsy Rose Lee's memoir about growing up in vaudeville. In the show, Mama Rose was originally portrayed in a galvanizing performance by Ethel Merman (and subsequently played by Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and others), but the story it tells is far from accurate. To learn the truth, Quinn did extensive research, travelling the U.S. to key locations where Rose Hovick toured with her daughters, Louise and June, and discovering surprising facts about the familial relationships only touched on in the musical.