- Hardcover: 418 pages
- Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books; Hardcover with DVD edition (September 4, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1557836450
- ISBN-13: 978-1557836458
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,211,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Journeys in the Night: Creating a New American Theatre with Circle in the Square: A Memoir Hardcover – September 4, 2007
From Publishers Weekly
In 1951, Theodore Mann and Jose Quintero founded New York City's Circle in the Square, which valued risk taking and innovation. It was instrumental in staging the classics, while showcasing such American playwrights as Jules Feiffer and Terrence McNally. At the same time, it was a training ground for American actors, many of whom, like Dustin Hoffman and Jason Robards, got their starts there. Mann's memoir chronicles his life and that of the theater, which began in Greenwich Village and is credited with giving birth to the off-Broadway movement The amazing array of actors and directors who graced Circle's stage reads like a theatrical Who's Who. The downside is that many chapters are unnecessarily long. And by mixing in his reminiscences, the book becomes a bit disjointed, lacking a smooth narrative flow. Still, his memory is encyclopedic, and the joy he takes in his profession is palpable. (Nov.)
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Nearly everyone he knows from the glory days of the Circle in the Square is dead, so he must feel pretty much free to give his own version of the events that changed American theater and the reputation of Eugene O'Neill. Teddy Mann (or as George C Scott habitually called him, "Teedy,") was there and laid the groundwork, right at a time when O'Neill was a drug on the market and his last Broadway play, THE ICEMAN COMETH, had been a notable flop. Mann and his friend Jose Quintero stepped up, met Carlotta Monterey, fielded all the flak from naysayers, and put on triumphant productions of ICEMAN (with Jason Robards) and other O'Neill plays. Eventually they talked Carlotta (the widow O'Neill) into giving them the rights to stage US premieres for several of O'Neill's then unpublished plays, including LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, HUGHIE, and MORE STATELY MANSIONS.
Theodore Mann saved the day when Florence Eldridge, creating the important role of Mary Tyrone, fell sick on the eve of the opening. He enlisted the famous Dr. Feelgood, Max Jacobson, to step in with an enormous suitcase filled with syringes and soon brought her up to fighting speed. He's filled with great stories like that about half-forgotten people. Why, there was even another Paul Rudd, not the actor of today, but another one back in the 1970s, whom Mann discovered. What's up with that? The two Paul Rudds look crazy different from another, and I have to say, the present day one is far better looking. He also describes the love affair between Amy Irving and Rex Harrison in piquant terms, I'd like to see a whole docudrama about the interaction between ingenue and old man.
Despite continual rumors, Teedy and Quintero were never lovers, just friends from Woodstock. Indeed Theodore Mann's theater is pretty much a straight theater, with plenty of couples and lots of children. He discovered both Rip Torn and Geraldine Page and gave early work to trailblazers like Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave. The Circle in the Square had a long history of reviving forgotten plays and renewing interest in dormant careers, like George C. Scott's 1983 production of Noel Coward's PRESENT LAUGHTER, which showed the world that the man who played General Patton could also play Garry Essendine.
Like the prior reviewer, I found this book fascination but - to me - the real bonus was the DVD that is included in the back of the book. Taken from a series produced for use in schools in 1975 - for the 25th Anniversary of the CITS - the 90 minute presentation consists of five segments of both interviews with Ted Mann and some celebrated actors (Dustin Hoffman, George C. Scott, Colleen Dewhurst, Paul Rudd, James Earl Jones, and Vanessa Redgrave) as well as brief scenes from plays these artists performed on the CITS stage. The interviews ask about how each actor started and more specifically about their years on the stage. The print is acceptable and - during the interview with Mann there is an annoying red "bleed" beside his face.
Long before James Lipton started his "In Side The Actor's Studio" show this document was recorded. It is as fascinating as anything Lipton ever did (without the fawning over his guests). If you need further encouragement to get this book, let the DVD convince you.