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Working on the Inside: The Spiritual Life Through the Eyes of Actors Paperback – June 24, 2003
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I look forward so much to buying the book and reading slowly through what promises to be truly worth reading. (Vanessa Redgrave)
The author has managed to consult an impressive array of marquee names . . . She has also interviewed interesting personalities outside the mainstream. . . Blaney is adept at conveying the disparate voices of her interview subjects and she lets them speak with a minumum of authorial mediation. . . Blaney is the founder of Broadway Blessing . . . In that capacity and in her book, she displays a keen appreciation for the value that religious groups and individuals place on community life and activity. (Theatermania.Com)
I am completely taken with Working on the Inside. I've tried to resist reading it straight through, since it is so rich with anecdote, good theological writing, and spiritual insight-like a box of chocolates-but I am already half way through. It's the best book on spirituality I've read since Alan Jones' Living the Truth. (The Rev. Canon Thomas P. Miller, Canon for Liturgy and the Arts, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine)
Blaney digs deeply into the lives of actors in this engagingly written book. (Publishers Weekly)
Blaney breaks new ground, offering almost a how-to guide to working spirituality into one's work, or vice versa. . . . compelling reading. (The Jewish Week)
. . . creative and soulful paperback . . . Once you read this book, you will have a greater appreciation of the spiritual practices that can animate your performances on your daily stage. (Spirituality and Health)
. . . eye-opening, thought-provoking and even inspiring. (Encore)
Working on the Inside is thoughtful and thought provoking as it explores our common humanity and spirituality that cuts across religious lines. . . The book is a brilliant concept―well executed―that reads easily, but raises thoughts and ideas that linger in the reader's mind long after putting down. It is a work that will be revisited over and over again. (The Liberal Minyan Of Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea)
As a media studies professor interested in the character development of people who will be working in the media and entertainment industry, I found this book to be of utmost value. The author has done a marvelous job of selecting credible people in the entertainment field, interviewing them, and communicating their private thoughts about their personal spiritual journeys. . . It was Pascal who said that in the heart of every man is a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill. This book really helps to explain how people sense that "God-shaped vacuum" and how they search for a relationship with a living God. (Dr. Geri Forsberg, Adjunct Professor of Communication, Trinity Western University; Affiliate Staff Member with Christian Leadership Ministries, the)
If you (or someone you know) want to learn about the spiritual life, but don't get much out of traditional sources, Working on the Inside provides an alternative. For the celebrity-mad among us it might be a gateway to a whole new way of looking at the world. (Clergy Journal)
If you want to know what celebs like Liam Neeson, Kristin Chenoweth and others really think about God, this book is an inspiring read. Author and journalist Retta Blaney does an amazing job of discussing the spiritual significance of mixing faith and art in some intriguing discussions with some A-list stars. (Beliefnet.Com)
Insightful and entertaining, this book goes well beyond 'Inside the Actors Studio' fare, offering revealing glimpses of the soul of the performer. (The Living Church)
About the Author
Retta Blaney is a theatre and religion writer in Manhattan. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Newsday, National Catholic Reporter, The Jewish Week, The Living Church, American Theatre, Back Stage, and other publications.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is a textual exploration that goes far beyond the histrionic technique and provides an ongoing and progressive investigation of the layered spiritual communication occurring from creator to performer to audience.
Dr. John V. Roche
secular & religous including The Washington Post, New York Newsday, The Jewish Week, The Living Church, American Theatre & Back Stage( a theatre industry publication)
I really don't think there is anything like this book out there -a collage of interviews on the spiritual lives of performers.
Ms Blaney has the wonderful skill of allowing the actors/singers to speak of their craft & their relation to God ( higher power) as they see Him (her/it). Ms Blaney does not judge her subjects- rather she captures their lives both as performers & people of faith ( Christian, Jew & "New Age").
This is not a "religious" book rather it's a delightful collage of a diverse bunch of performers everyone from Phylicia Rashad to Liam Neeson .. and there's Vanessa Williams & more.
If you love performers.. if you're a person of faith ( or not) I think you'll find this a fascinating read. The author's writing style is bright & easy to read.
Actors really are spiritual, and their sporadically rewarding lives require faith, and not just faith they'll get the part, but faith that their own journeys are moving on the right road. No one can tell you this; it's why a spiritual life needs cultivating, and the actors interviewed here are all different, and they are all generous in sharing their insights. My church book group loved it. The accounts -- including those by Liam Neeson, Vanessa Williams, Phylicia Rashad, Edward Herrmann, and the effervescent Kristin Chenoweth are enormously interesting.
I think this is an avenue that is so fruitful, and I wish Ms. Blaney would write another - perhaps with not so famous actors, or actors just starting out. "Names" sell books, though, so perhaps they could be mixed into the brew. Anyway,I hope for more!