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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

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • kim
  • United States
  • 12-08-11

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

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • Reston, Virginia
  • 10-06-12

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Terry
  • Cardiff, Australia
  • 09-06-13

Very pleased I bought this wonderful book

Having been familiar with John Lithgow's performances in Third Rock and a couple of movies, I was interested in this autobio. It's a life more dedicated to the stage than the screen that makes up the bulk of this fascinating book. Narration by the author doesn't always work, but it certainly does in this case. I love his unique voice and his mastery of language is second to none. Beautifully descriptive and personally revealing, he lays out his life in a very compelling presentation. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good autobio or has an interest in the theatre.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jenny
  • Landsborough, Australia
  • 02-26-12

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 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • Bellevue, WA, USA
  • 05-12-13

John Lithgow - The Actor as Storyteller

I didn't care so much for the long recounting of his childhood. When he hits his professional stride, the story became more interesting. He's a good, but not great, writer but a great actor who brings the non-actor into the heart and purpose of drama.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sandra
  • Oliver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 01-13-13

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Teresa Cooper
  • 11-07-15

The world of an actor.

John Lithgow tells his life in hi own word by himself. A good book which is easy to listen to. I'd recommend this title to my friends ( I've already recommended it to a friend already).