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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 (282 )
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  •  
    Diane Havens USA 05-15-12
    Diane Havens USA 05-15-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb"
    Any additional comments?

    John Lithgow is an actor I've long admired, but knew little about. In this book, he shares his life with the listener, both professional and personal. I now feel I know the man well. And I also have more to admire about him -- he's an excellent writer. As an actor myself, I learned much about his attitudes toward his craft and his life in the theater, in film, and much of it helpful. His particular career path was a winding one, his experiences, successes and failures, his self discovery -- how he learns from all of it. But it is his relationship with his father that takes center stage. Those are the moments most moving in the book, when he talks about his aging father and literature, drama, the love of words they shared. By book's end, it feels more like a fascinating conversation you've had with John Lithgow over after dinner drinks. Then you suddenly realize, you haven't said a word.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Landsborough, Australia 02-26-12
    Jenny Landsborough, Australia 02-26-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Intelligently written and spoken"
    If you could sum up Drama in three words, what would they be?

    Language to caress the ears


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Drama?

    Finding out that some authors can do justice to their written words


    Have you listened to any of John Lithgow’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    John Lithgow uses language that takes you into his life story. He reads with pathos and articulation. A pleasure to listen to and an education for my ears.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kim United States 12-08-11
    kim United States 12-08-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Fantastic!"
    Where does Drama rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    top of the list


    What did you like best about this story?

    As a theatre professional myself it was so very refreshing and inspiring to hear a seasoned member of our


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela United States 10-01-12
    Pamela United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2004

    Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I'm a sucker for John Lithgow."

    I really enjoyed this book, because I am a sucker for John Lithgow. I find every role he does fascinating by virtue of the fact it's him. I am, therefore, not a good reviewer because I am very far from impartial. Having been warned: I loved this book. The amount of self-awareness that had to go into creating this honest and self-effacing look at one's own life required someone with the ability to dig into their own dirty laundry and hold up the piece of which you're most embarassed. That is no easy task. If you're a fan of Lithgow, of the live stage, or an adult looking back on the frailties of our parents and ourselves, I think you'll like it, too.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 06-26-13
    Amazon Customer Utah 06-26-13 Member Since 2009

    tired teacher

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    "Well written, well read"

    Extremely well written and well read by the author, I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir by John Lithgow. John is such a memorable character, and I love his work. I found myself laughing one minute and crying the next throughout the first half of this book. The second half seemed mostly sad, and was a little harder to listen to. Lithgow seems happy with his life now, however, and that makes me happy for him. He will be at BYU this November, reading his stories. I plan on being there to hear him.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Reston, Virginia 10-06-12
    Jean Reston, Virginia 10-06-12 Member Since 2008
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    "I've always liked John Lithgow..."

    Now I absolutely love him! This book was honest, inspiring, fascinating. He was unsparing about his flaws and mistakes, had no false modesty about his many achievements, and generous to his colleagues. When there was criticism, he gentlemanly changed the names of the characters involved. Although I was moved to do a little research to discover the identity of "Mr. Pleasant" in one story. His is a life well lived and well told.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Dallas, TX, United States 08-04-12
    Melissa Dallas, TX, United States 08-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great"
    Would you listen to Drama again? Why?

    Yes, wonderful story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    John.


    What does John Lithgow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice is amazing, he brings the story to life.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I fInished as fast as I could.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 08-07-13
    Brian ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 08-07-13 Member Since 2005

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Yawn.....!!!!"

    I like watching John Lithgow in movies and TV shows, but was very bored with the story and could not finish it. Sorry.....

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Mount Kisco, NY, United States 12-19-12
    Dan Mount Kisco, NY, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2012
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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
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 10-16-12
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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