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Drama: An Actor's Education | [John Lithgow]

Drama: An Actor's Education

In this riveting and surprising personal history, John Lithgow shares a backstage view of his own struggle, crisis, and discovery, revealing the early life and career that took place out of the public eye. Above all Lithgow’s memoir is a tribute to his most important influence: his father, Arthur Lithgow, who, as an actor, director, producer, and great lover of Shakespeare, brought theater to John’s boyhood. From bedtime stories to Arthur’s illustrious productions, performance and storytelling were constant and cherished parts of family life.
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Publisher's Summary

In this riveting and surprising personal history, John Lithgow shares a backstage view of his own struggle, crisis, and discovery, revealing the early life and career that took place out of the public eye.

Above all Lithgow’s memoir is a tribute to his most important influence: his father, Arthur Lithgow, who, as an actor, director, producer, and great lover of Shakespeare, brought theater to John’s boyhood. From bedtime stories to Arthur’s illustrious productions, performance and storytelling were constant and cherished parts of family life. Drama details with poignancy and sharp recollection the moments that introduced a budding young actor to the undeniable power of theater.

Before Lithgow gained fame with films like The World According to Garp and television shows like 3rd Rock from the Sun, his early years were full of scenes both hilarious and bittersweet. His ruminations on the nature of theater, film acting, and storytelling cut to the heart of why actors are driven to perform, and why people are driven to watch them do it.

Lithgow chronicles the harrowing moments of his past, reflecting with moving candor on friends made and lost, mistakes large and small, and the powerful love of a father who set him on the road to a life onstage. Illuminating, funny, affecting, and thoroughly engrossing, Drama raises the curtain on the making of one of our most beloved actors.

©2011 John Lithgow (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers

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4.2 (306 )
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  •  
    E. Faller Connecticut, USA 02-08-13
    E. Faller Connecticut, USA 02-08-13 Member Since 2009
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    "an excellent insight into an actor's development"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in learning about "where actors come from" and in learning more about an interesting person's growth and development. John Lithgow reads his own story, and who better! His narration is a good listen, and there is no question that he knows the subject. I had met John in the early 1970's when he worked at a local theater so I was curious to know more about him. He was a nice guy then, and now I know much more about why he is who he is, and I enjoyed the story of his life. While Lithgow has done a lot of acting, he may not be at the top of the list of "most well known" actors, but that does not prevent the book from being an engrossing and educational listen. Some actor's auto- or bio-graphies tend to be filled with name-dropping and/or self-glorified tales. This book is not that way at all, and reveals more of a personal perspective on the growth of an actor. I really enjoyed the book!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gavin 01-19-13
    gavin 01-19-13
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    "Classy"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Drama to be better than the print version?

    There is something about the way an author reads their own life story that cant be matched. The product would just be that much less impacting if any other narrator took their place.

    Told with all the gritty honesty and passion that only Lithgow could have portrayed about his own life journey, this is brilliantly written and stunning to listen to.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    John Lithgow played a fairly important role in this... i suppose he would be the stand out for me.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Oliver, British Columbia, Canada 01-13-13
    Sandra Oliver, British Columbia, Canada 01-13-13
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    "Wonderful!"
    If you could sum up Drama in three words, what would they be?

    Fantastic engaging storytelling


    What about John Lithgow’s performance did you like?

    He is a consummate storyteller.


    Any additional comments?

    I actually want to listen to it all again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan 12-19-12
    Dan 12-19-12
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    "Disappointed"
    What disappointed you about Drama?

    I listened to the sample chapter about helping his father later in life and found it compelling. However, very little of the rest of the book was as personal. This is a book for professional actors and directors. I was not interested in the wonders of acting.


    What was most disappointing about John Lithgow’s story?

    I wish it were more personal.


    Which character – as performed by John Lithgow – was your favorite?

    Mr. Lithgow is a marvelous actor and has a great voice, but his perform is not enough to buy this book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Delray Beach, FL, United States 12-19-12
    Steve Delray Beach, FL, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2013

    A well written book is a gem.

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    "Pay attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    We all harbor the fantasy that yes, given the chance, we too could have nightly stood on the planks, awash with light, and moved the crowds to tears and laughter. But alas 'twas not to be. If only, if only..
    Well John Lithgow has. With the best of them, and he shares his unique experience with us in a very engaging way. Yes, he's over the top at some points, "They loved me!" And there is a chapter on his marriage that should have been left out. It's a painful to read letter to his family, not germain at all. But the book it is a good read. It enhanced my respect for the very few masters of drama, like John Lithgow, who can move us to tears and laughter so well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenni 12-12-12
    Jenni 12-12-12

    Say something about yourself!

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    "My Mind Never Wandered"

    I am a relatively new audiobook listener, and I have discovered that I will rate a story 5 stars if my mind doesn't wander. John Lithgow certainly delivered the goods in his autobiography. I enjoyed his life's story, and the way that he told it. He was just as forthright about his not-so-proud moments as he was about the times when he came out the shining star. A decent man, and I truly believe that he has lived a life worth living... and telling about!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pseudo I washington, DC 12-11-12
    Pseudo I washington, DC 12-11-12 Member Since 2012
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    "John Lithgow is the consummate dramatist"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Drama to be better than the print version?

    John Lithgow is peerless in his ability to tell a tale. Hearing him is a treat.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Lithgow tells great stories of "brushes with fame" in his youth and encounters with theater greats. Even when he is not "telling all," he is compelling and reads so well.


    Any additional comments?

    To my mind, this was the perfect audiobook--great stories told by the ultimate perfomer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada 11-07-12
    susan Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada 11-07-12 Member Since 2014

    I like to weed and read at the same time.

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    "Lovely generous book,beautifuly read."

    A beautiful 'slim volume' ostensibly about his father but also containing some wonderful insights into his own impressive acting career on the stage. I have never seen him on the stage and am unlikely to, living where I do; however, he is going to be in The Magistrate by Pinero live in HD from the National Theater London. Jan 2113-check your local listings.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 10-16-12
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent Writer, Excellent Narrator"

    To me, it is always a treat to listen to a book read by the author. This was a double delight as John Lithgow is both an excellent writer and skilled narrator. I was ambivalent about John Lithgow (hadn't seen much of his work) prior to listening to Drama but came out with a great admiration for this well educated, humble man. This is not a book full of tidbits and gossip about the Hollywood or Broadway scene but truly a tale about the difficult journey to finding success in the acting world, regardless how talented or smart you may be.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alana 10-15-12
    Alana 10-15-12 Member Since 2011

    knittingnut

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well, it's John Lithgow"

    I don't usually read memoirs by well-known people, but I have always enjoyed Lithgow's acting. Third Rock from the Sun was one of my favorite TV shows. Interestingly, he talks little about this program, and I was looking forward to some behind the scenes scenarios. I saw some bloopers from this show and they were very funny.

    I was looking for something humorous to listen to, and the memoir is not very funny. Still, I enjoyed listening to him relate his life's story; it just wasn't what I expected. It appears that an actor can play a humorous role without being a funny person. I guess that's called acting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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