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Authors: John Lithgow

Drama (32 page)

BOOK: Drama
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’ve written books before, but they’ve been picture books for children. These were all in rhyming verse and none was over thirty pages long.
is something else altogether. I could not have undertaken it without the encouragement and support of several people. Robert Miller, Julia Cheiffetz, Jonathan Galassi, and Jean Strouse helped me get started. My publisher, Jonathan Burnham, and my editor, Tim Duggan, added fuel to the fire. Tim in particular helped me shape and focus the book and reminded me often, at crucial moments, to “show, don’t tell.” Steve Martin read the very first completed draft of the book, and his acute editorial advice provided ample evidence that he has completely missed his calling.

I am a hopeless self-archivist, so the process of gathering photos from the past sixty-five years was fitful and arduous. I was helped by Matt Weinberg, who haunted the Harvard Theatre Collection; Frank Vlastnik, who camped out at the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts; and Zoe Chapin, who tended to the business of photo credits, permissions, and fees.

As described in the preceding pages, the book was inspired by an autobiographical one-man show which I first performed in early 2008. This was the first time I had written material for myself based on events from my own life. Here, too, I required a lot of encouragement. Therefore thanks are also due to Jack O’Brien, who egged me on to write the show, and André Bishop of Lincoln Center, who gave me a setting to present it in. The warm reception for the piece helped prod me to expand it into a book. An actor thrives on applause, so I thank my New York audiences as well.

As the book neared completion, Mr. Duggan’s assistant, Emily Cunningham, took it in hand and marshaled the talents of her HarperCollins colleagues to steer me through the last stages of the publication process. Everyone I met in the offices of Harper persuaded me that my book was in expert hands.

Thanks finally to each person who appeared in this drama. Major and minor players alike, from every chapter of my life, gave me all the material I needed for my first long-form piece of writing. Chief among these people are the main characters of my early years: my sisters, my brother, my mother, and especially my late father, Arthur Lithgow. As in every other thing that I have attempted, my wife, Mary, was forbearing and supportive. This time, I was venturing into her area of expertise. She is no stranger to the challenge of writing a book over the long haul. I could have never sustained the effort without the benefit of her experience, wisdom, and love.


About the Author

is an award-winning actor who has starred on stage and in film and television. A
New York Times
bestselling author of eight books for children, he lives in New York and Los Angeles.

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Cover design by Richard Ljoenes

Cover photograph © John Midgley



The names and identifying characteristics of some of the individuals featured throughout this book have been changed to protect their privacy.


DRAMA. Copyright © 2011 by John Lithgow. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.


EPub Edition October 2011 ISBN: 9780062097736


HarperCollins books may be purchased for educational, business, or sales promotional use. For information, please write: Special Markets Department, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.


All images are courtesy of the author unless otherwise noted.




Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Lithgow, John

  Drama : an actor’s education / John Lithgow.

  p. cm.

  ISBN 978-0-06-173497-7 (hardback)

  1. Lithgow, John 2. Actors—United States—Biography. I. Title.

  PN2287.L473A3 2011


  [B] 2011008172


11 12 13 14 15 OV/RRD 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


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BOOK: Drama
6.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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