With freezing cold, the forecast of more storms to come and Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow this Groundhog Day, predicting another six weeks of winter, it’s a good time to warm up and warm up at night and catch up on a bedtime reading after you enter the theater. These three top picks provide options for a variety of interests and ages.
Pardon My French – It’s the Language of Ballet: The Adventures of Lilly Nilly – The first of at least three children’s books in The Adventures of Lilly Nilly series by New York-based author/illustrator, former dancer and choreographer and Julliard alumnus Nancy Paris takes readers inside the inquisitive mind of the eponymous six-year-old ballet student, determined to understand exactly what ballet and why the words are in French, and to share her thoughts on dance – and life – with the rest of us.
Written in the language of a precocious, rambunctious, strong-willed girl, and complemented by “super cute” childish illustrations, the delightfully funny story, based on Paris’ personal experiences as a professional dancer and teacher, encourages readers to all ages to share the adorable Lilly joy of living, “trust their instincts, seek their own answers, and be kind to everyone.” I’m not exactly six years old, but it made me laugh and love this brave little girl, her irrepressible curiosity and the valuable lessons she learned.
NancyParis, Pardon My French – It’s the Language of Ballet: The Adventures of Lilly Nilly (November 17, 2021), ISBN-13: 978-0-578-31688-8, 40 pages, paperback, $12.99, is available at Amazon.
Eurydice: a play – Theater Communications Group (TCG) – the largest independent publisher of dramatic literature in North America, with eighteen Pulitzer Prizes for Theater on its list of books – published the standalone edition of the Pulitzer Prize finalist and nominee at the Tony Awards Sarah Ruhl haunting rumination on love and death, in a modern retelling of the timeless ancient Greek myth by musician and poet Orpheus.
Reimagined from the perspective of his beloved wife Eurydice, who died in a sudden accident on their wedding day, the titular figure takes us on a dreamlike journey from a joyous earthly life to a disturbing surreality, where she encounters her deceased father. and the Stones and Lord of the Underworld. There she must leave behind the sounds, home, loved ones and memories of the world she left behind, to enter an eternal state of silence and oblivion – then start again when her grieving husband tries in vain to recover it.
The deeply touching, darkly humorous and lyrically poignant three-movement piece, which had its world premiere in 2003, was made into an opera, with music by Matthew Aucoin, and recently performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 2021. This next book, some twenty years after the start of the work, contains an afterword of twenty questions that the playwright asks herself, and that her readers must consider, about her motivation, her inspirations, her choices and her vision, and the process of loss and mourning that we all experience.
Sarah Ruhl, EurydiceNew York, Dec 21, 2021, 98 pages, paperback, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-63670-009-0, e-book, $12.99, ISBN 978-1-63670-010-6, is available in line of the TGC.
I was better last night — Coming soon to Knopf Books (March 1) is a hilarious and heartfelt memoir by cultural icon, gay rights activist, actor, and four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Harvey Fierstein (Song of the Torch Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles, Naughty boots, News). Tracing his life and times from his roots in 1952 Brooklyn to the experimental worlds of Andy Warhol and the Theater of Ridicule in the 60s, to the Gay Rights Movement of the 70s and the AIDS crisis of the 80s , to the absurd excesses of Hollywood and the rear, Fierstein’s autobiographical memorabilia and untold stories provide a rich window into downtown New York life, gay culture, and the evolution of post- modern (of which he was a defining figure), his personal decades of addiction, despair and ultimate triumph, and a moving account of his family’s journey of acceptance.
The highly entertaining book is filled with overtly vulnerable and outrageously funny tales of mistakes made, wisdom gained and stories that come together to describe a colorful and meaningful life, in Fierstein’s unique and recognizable voice, which appears on the page .
Harvey Fierstein, I was better last night, New York, Alfred A. Knopf Publisher, March 1, 2022, 400 pages, 59 illustrations, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-593-32052-5. To pre-order, click here.