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still engrossing Just finished section on Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf loved it Can t believe it was censored 1963 in some countries and lambasted for Language Albee, the author of Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf , and other plays, is given a deluxe biographical treatment here from a man who has known him for almost forty yearsand sometimes worships him a little too much.Albee was adopted by a wealthy, emotionless set of parents His father, Reed, was absent, and his mother, Frankie, was cool and detached This upbringing, where he was seenas a possession than a family member, would, of course, affect his writings Constantly kicked out of sc Albee, the author of Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf , and other plays, is given a deluxe biographical treatment here from a man who has known him for almost forty yearsand sometimes worships him a little too much.Albee was adopted by a wealthy, emotionless set of parents His father, Reed, was absent, and his mother, Frankie, was cool and detached This upbringing, where he was seenas a possession than a family member, would, of course, affect his writings Constantly kicked out of schools, and never graduating from college, Albee turned to writing, his first success being Zoo Story Zoo Story, a short play about a fateful meeting of two men in a park, received mixed notices from assorted playwrights and critics Here, biographer Gussow overextends his protection of his subject too much He dismisses the honest critiques of two playwriting giants Thornton Wilder and William Inge, because they did not understand or like Albee s works However, a bland positive response by Samuel Beckett is treated like a Dead Sea Scroll, to be picked apart and treasured I have read Zoo Story, and it is wordy and preachy.Albee s next big success was Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf , which was turned into the powerhouse film by Mike Nichols Again, Gussow is flagrant in his criticism of someone involved with the film in order to placate Albee, and here, Nichols The film s screenwriter, Ernest Lehman, is harshly criticized for opening the play slightly, yet just copying Albee s play The bio s author, and Albee, make a point of needling Lehman s screenwriting credit on the film Mike Nichols former partner, Elaine May, copied the French film La Cage Aux Folles word for word, adding what could be described as copious scenes at best, then took a big giant screenwriting credit for Nichols The Birdcage Watch both of those films back to back sometime, it is eye opening.Gussow also fumbles in his outline of Albee s life In Albee s less successful years, he is writing weird experimental plays with subjects like a man with three arms, and one play where two of the characters are sea creatures After mounting all of these failures, Albee is defended endlessly by Gussow, who suddenly contributes an entire chapter about Albee s alcoholism The alcohol is both a reason his plays were not celebrated, and a defense of the brilliant man.The entire beginning of the book chronicles the complete lack of love Albee s parents had for him, yet the death of Albee s father is glossed over, barely mentioned I had to reread the sentence a few times, since no followup is made about Albee s reaction A whole chapter is devoted to his mother s demise, and her revenge on her own son in her will More is written about one of his former lovers and honest critics, a frustrated musician This A Star is Born redux is written about nicely.Gussow does do well in describing Albee s assorted forays into theater, as playwright and director Dirt about Donald Sutherland and Frank Langella is dished around The bio s author is honest in Albee s lacking skills as a director, coming to the theater as a playwright and not an actor.Albee, who prefers to be called a writer who is gay, as opposed to a gay writer, also has kind words for his longtime partner of over twenty years Albee says a gay writer writes about being gay, whether the work is good or not is moot, since the writer knows the subject and is putting in the final word A writer who is gay is not tied down to just homosexual topics, and is free to explore society without audiences looking for gay subtexts that do not exist Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a seering look at two heterosexual couples, the sexuality of the playwright is nonessential in light of his characters and their actions.Gussow wisely keeps talk of Albee s lesser known plays, and the ones readers probably have not read anyway, to a minimum Albee s triumphant comeback play, Three Tall Women, is covered extensively The play is about his mother, and so much.Reading this biography will make you curious to seek out some of Albee s other plays, just to see what makes him tick Over eighty years old now, he is definitely an interesting man, and Gussow does catch that fact better than anything I recommend this book to theater lovers, and any writer who needs a little inspiration I give Edward Albee A Singular Journey 1 2 out of five stars I always enjoy the first third of biographiesthan the middle The journey to success The various ways in which childhood plays a role in that yearning for distinction The excitement of the first taste of glory Middles often bore me I generally like ends but in this case unfortunately the end was absent being written before Albee died and before one of my favorite Albee plays The Goat So really enjoyed reading about 1950s, 60s NYC, Albee bursting on the scene with A Zoo Story then Who I always enjoy the first third of biographiesthan the middle The journey to success The various ways in which childhood plays a role in that yearning for distinction The excitement of the first taste of glory Middles often bore me I generally like ends but in this case unfortunately the end was absent being written before Albee died and before one of my favorite Albee plays The Goat So really enjoyed reading about 1950s, 60s NYC, Albee bursting on the scene with A Zoo Story then Who s Afraid, his romance with Terrence McNally, and his strange childhood being the adopted scion of a scion of a cold and distant but extremely wealthy vaudeville magnate Theater was not in his blood but in every bit of consciousness growing up Middles are where the writer has to work harder to keep our interest and here I felt like the writing was a tad dry A riveting story about an alcohol fueled fight with Joe Papp not withstanding But reading about one of my heroes was all in all enjoyable and helped me understand him and his plays muchPsst George and Martha are partly based on drunken conversations between Albee and his former lover William Flanagan With all due respect to Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman and William Inge, Edward Albee is the most important American playwright to emerge since Eugene O Neill I don t say best because best is too subjective a term to be applied to the arts Albee is important because of the influence his work has had on playwrights such as Arthur Kopit, Sam Shepard, John Guare and David Mamet Mel Gussow has produced an indelible portrait of this artist One revels in Albee s current succe With all due respect to Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman and William Inge, Edward Albee is the most important American playwright to emerge since Eugene O Neill I don t say best because best is too subjective a term to be applied to the arts Albee is important because of the influence his work has had on playwrights such as Arthur Kopit, Sam Shepard, John Guare and David Mamet Mel Gussow has produced an indelible portrait of this artist One revels in Albee s current success The Tony Award for The Goat or Who is Sylvia and a Pulitzer Prize for Three Tall Women However, what Mr Gussow s biography illustrates brilliantly is that Albee hasn t staged a comeback Indeed, Albee never went anywhere it was the audience and the critics that abandoned Albee Throughout the past forty years Albee has continued to produce masterful plays award winning plays A Delicate Balance, All Over, Seascape and The Lady from Dubuque plays which are finally gaining the recognition and stature they deserve.The personal story is here as well Albee was adopted and raised by people who were emotionally aloof to the needs of a gay adolescent The relationships with Terrence McNally and Jonathan Thomas his companion for the past thirty years , friendships with John and Elaine Steinbeck, Carson McCullers, William Flanagan, Alan Schneider and all those leading ladies from Uta Hagen, Colleen Dewhurst, Jessica Tandy and Irene Worth to Marian Seldes, Rosemary Harris, Elaine Stritch and Maggie Smith The story of how the Pulitzer Prize board denied him the honor for Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf even after the prize jury had voted unanimously for the play It s all here warts and all best of all is the happy ending Mel Gussow s abilities as a journalist and his personal friendship with Edward Albee allow him to make this the definitive biography of a great American playwright I came to read this as I prepared for attending a performance of The Goat or Who is SylviaThe theater company had recommended this as the best biography they had found.Chronicling the life of someone who has become an icon of the American theater is difficult, but Mel Gussow is able to combine the personal, literary, and show busi Mel Gussow s abilities as a journalist and his personal friendship with Edward Albee allow him to make this the definitive biography of a great American playwright I came to read this as I prepared for attending a performance of The Goat or Who is SylviaThe theater company had recommended this as the best biography they had found.Chronicling the life of someone who has become an icon of the American theater is difficult, but Mel Gussow is able to combine the personal, literary, and show business details in a dramatic narrative that does justice to Edward Albee I was intrigued to discover that among Albee s partners was one of my other favorite playwrights, Terence McNally, but the biography highlights all of Albee s relationships and the importance of each to him and his friends The difficulties Albee encountered as an adopted child were keen and exacerbated by parents who combined a daunting distance from their son with an attitude that was colder than most New England winters.His precocity and early development of an inscrutable individuality did not serve him well in the several schools that hevisited than occupied in his youth and it took the combination of Greenwich Village in the fifties and some tentative literary efforts with friends including William Flanagan and McNally among others to bring him to the point of his first success, The Zoo Story He never looked back and within what would be an amazingly short time for a dramatist of lesser genius he was conquering Broadway with Who s Afraid of Virginia WoolfThe rest of the story includes successful dramas A Delicate Balance, Three Tall Women and others yet there was not always the appreciation his work warranted or he deserved Published in 1999, Gussow s biography does not include the past decade and Albee s most recent successes as he has achieved the status of America s greatest living playwright, but it provides a rich and rewarding panorama of Albee s ascent to the apex of American literature Mr Albee has always fascinated me and this biography did not disappoint I m very glad, however, that I read it after I attempted roles in Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Three Tall Women especially the latter I m sure much of what I learned here would have influenced my interpretations of Martha and A and probably not for the better. Gussow does an excellent job of making his enigmatic subject knowable, human and in some cases noble This informed and richly detailed bio is compulsively readable without being gossipy The biographer takes a respectful, even handed tone and his real life encounters with Albee lend the book color and credibility The author only lost me when he rehashed Albee s recurrent themes, offered his not Albee s theories on where a play might have come from or speculated on roads not taken What wo Gussow does an excellent job of making his enigmatic subject knowable, human and in some cases noble This informed and richly detailed bio is compulsively readable without being gossipy The biographer takes a respectful, even handed tone and his real life encounters with Albee lend the book color and credibility The author only lost me when he rehashed Albee s recurrent themes, offered his not Albee s theories on where a play might have come from or speculated on roads not taken What would have happened if etc In a book so effectively filled with facts, quotes, descriptions and observations, additional theorizing just seemed unnecessary Not to the detriment of the book however Albee s worlds professional and personal are very skillfully evoked I ve taken inspiration from his stuggles for my own singular journey I enjoyed reading this book I know Mr Albee in passing, know his work, and this was a fascinating insight into the life behind the artist It brings insight to his works, but at the same time Mr Albee manages to maintain his dignity and privacy. An insider s look at one of our most thrilling, inventive modern voices in the theater today Albee is the playwright who gave us classics like the one act Zoo Story, Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Delicate Balance, and Three Tall Women Author of this biography, Mel Gussow has known Albee personally since the 1960s, and the research is extensive and thorough More than anything, Albee has influenced so many younger playwrights who still work in theater today John Guare, Tony Kushner, An insider s look at one of our most thrilling, inventive modern voices in the theater today Albee is the playwright who gave us classics like the one act Zoo Story, Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Delicate Balance, and Three Tall Women Author of this biography, Mel Gussow has known Albee personally since the 1960s, and the research is extensive and thorough More than anything, Albee has influenced so many younger playwrights who still work in theater today John Guare, Tony Kushner, John Patrick Shanley and so manyA terrific read for anyone who is interested in plays, and in theater `DOWNLOAD KINDLE ☠ Edward Albee: A Singular Journey ↝ Mel Gussow s critically acclaimed biography of the three time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Seascape, A Delicate Balance,Tall Women , who first electrified the American theatre scene in the s with his groundbreaking The Zoo Story followed by the legendary Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf