Author: Alan Bowne
FORTY-DEUCE explores the homosexual prostitution scene around 42nd Street in the 1980s, where a toxic mix of drugs, sex, and money make survival a brutal struggle. "A powerful and fascinating excursion into the nightmare world of homosexual prostitution. Although not for the squeamish, the impressive debut play by Alan Bowne is utterly convincing." -Variety "A harrowing drama - the world drawn by Bowne with such nose-rubbing honesty is a reality we all know exists." -New York Post "Simply dazzling, a sharply focused nether world, full of danger and surpassing sadness. These boys live on the bitter edge with survival a matter of day and night doubt. They're eerie men-children thrust from pubescence into a premature sort of middle age. There isn't room in their world for the conventional emotions." -Gannett Newspapers
Author: Terrence McNally
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
THE STORY: Warmly funny and unexpectedly touching, DEUCE tells the story of retired tennis stars Leona Mullen and Midge Barker, who once made up a championship doubles team. When they meet again at the U.S. Open, the women—now at the end of their lives—find themselves trying to make sense of the professional partnership that brought them to the top of the sports world in their youth.
Playing to the Gods
Author: Peter Rader
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
The riveting story of the rivalry between the two most renowned actresses of the nineteenth century: legendary Sarah Bernhardt, whose eccentricity on and off the stage made her the original diva, and mystical Eleonora Duse, who broke all the rules to popularize the natural style of acting we celebrate today. Audiences across Europe and the Americas clamored to see the divine Sarah Bernhardt swoon—and she gave them their money’s worth. The world’s first superstar, she traveled with a chimpanzee named Darwin and a pet alligator that drank champagne, shamelessly supplementing her income by endorsing everything from aperitifs to beef bouillon, and spreading rumors that she slept in a coffin to better understand the macabre heroines she played. Eleonora Duse shied away from the spotlight. Born to a penniless family of itinerant troubadours, she disappeared into the characters she portrayed—channeling their spirits, she claimed. Her new, empathetic style of acting revolutionized the theater—and earned her the ire of Sarah Bernhardt in what would become the most tumultuous theatrical showdown of the nineteenth century. Bernhardt and Duse seduced each other’s lovers, stole one another’s favorite playwrights, and took to the world’s stages to outperform their rival in her most iconic roles. A scandalous, enormously entertaining history full of high drama and low blows, Playing to the Gods is the page-turning account of the feud that changed theater forever.
Author: John M. Clum
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Looks at the central works of gay male drama written by American and English playwrights, from Tennessee Williams to Harvey Fierstein
Peter Wolfe's new book isn't just a groundbreaking introduction to one of today's leading American playwrights; it's also a subtle, carefully nuanced critique. This first book-length monograph on Terrence McNally shows how McNally's decades in the theater have both deepened and refined his thoughts on subjects like growing up gay in mannish, homophobic Texas, Shakespeare's legacy in contemporary drama, and the life-giving power of forgiveness. McNally believes that the ability to forgive confirms our humanity because the wrongs perpetrated against us usually don't deserve to be forgiven. Putting them behind us, he knows, too, challenges the most high-minded. He likens this to the idea, from Edward Albee's Zoo Story, of having to go a great distance out of our way to cover a short distance correctly. This journey, he views as vital. Wolfe shows how his impeccable timing, his instinct for a good laugh line, and his preference for physical sensation and character over plot helps him reveal both what's important to his people and why his people are important. These revelations will shake up your preconceptions. Often shaking your sides with laughter, too, they leave you in a better place?while providing, to boot, a great evening at the theater.
A Confederacy of Dunces
Author: John Kennedy Toole
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).