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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    184
  • 4 Stars
    119
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    7

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    237
  • 4 Stars
    67
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    152
  • 4 Stars
    106
  • 3 Stars
    49
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    8
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  • Overall
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Steve
  • Delray Beach, FL, United States
  • 12-19-12

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Elisabeth
  • Durham, NC, United States
  • 10-16-12

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Alana
  • Middletown, CA, United States
  • 10-15-12

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Melissa
  • Dallas, TX, United States
  • 08-04-12

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

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  • Story
  • Steve
  • Metung, Australia
  • 12-03-15

Very good

Mr Lithgow has a brilliant speaking voice and combine this with an interesting life in the theatre/TV/film makes for a very enjoyable listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Egoist

What disappointed you about Drama?

I know, actors ARE egoists; however this was unbearable and tedious so I didn't finish it. John prattles on about how wonderful he is for realizing his own faults, still oblivious to the egotism buried in his statements. The feigned humility used throughout feels so omni-present all the time I got tired of the boasting. The book reads like a narcissist who realizes that narcissism is bad so the author covers up his real pretentiousness with a phoniness that oozes in the background. NO!: John didn't go to Harvard, he was a simply country boy who found himself at Harvard. It's was more like an accident really... Constantly portraying himself as the guy who didn't fit in but magically found himself in roles where he was the center of attention, John manages to evince that he just stumbled through his social life without doing much to manipulate anything.

What do you think your next listen will be?

3 hours of Lithow's ego was enough thanks.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Read a different book.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Drama?

Chapters 2 onwards.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

His professionaly life nearly exclusively

Would you try another book from John Lithgow and/or John Lithgow?

Sure, he is one of the most versatile actors in the country and he is an astute observer of humanity.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

It would have been nice if there was somewhat more about him, the private person and broaden the perspective on him a little wider than the book does.

What else would you have wanted to know about John Lithgow’s life?

What makes him who he is? What are his priorities and motivations? What makes things matter to him?

Any additional comments?

If you're looking for a well told account of his professional life, then this is something you will appreciate. If you want anything outside of that realm, you may very well be disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful