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dirac

Books: New Jerome Robbins book(s)

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AmandaNYC

Does anyone know anything about the new book about Jerome Robbins that should be coming out any day now (it seems to have been delayed)? It's entitled: "Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man". I only know what's posted on Amazon & B&N. There's also another one coming out in the spring. If anyone knows anything about either, please share! Thanks. Happy holiday!

 

-Amanda

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Alexandra

Amanda, I think that Deborah Jowitt is writing a book about Robbins, but I don't know when it's due to be released. I don't know anything about this one except its impending existence, unfortunately. It's a shame it's missed the pre-Christmas season, though.

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Dale

New York magazine had a small sidebar about this about two weeks ago. It said that there were two books, the Christine Conrad book, "Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man." Evidently Conrad had access to Robbins' papers and personal items. Another book, "Dance with Demons" by Greg Lawrence is expected to come out some time in 2001. This book is supposed to be more gossipy. Wasn't Lawrence married to Gelsey Kirkland and co-wrote her two books?

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dirac

Yup, if it's the same Greg Lawrence. This is unfortunate, if the Robbins book is written in the same turgid prose as the Kirkland opuses. As for the gossipy part, if even half of what one hears about Robbins', uh, management style is true, there should be plenty of dish to dish.

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Guest Manhattnik

I don't know anything about the Conrad book, but I do know that Deborah Jowitt has been working hard and diligently on an "authorized" biography of Robbins, and has been given access to his personal papers and memorabilia. I would be quite surprised that the estate would give two writers such access at the same time, but stranger things have happened.

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dirac

Although I haven't seen it yet, I think the Conrad book is more of a pictures-with-text coffee table kind of volume, and so it wouldn't be intruding on Jowitt's territory or vice versa.

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ltraiger

I heard what Mahattnik described. Deborah spoke this past summer at the D.C. dance conference about her work. She has authorized permission and access to all his papers (detailed as boxes and boxes of letters, notes, journals, etc.) and, I recall, she is still in the interviewing stage, I believe. I, too, would be surprised that more than one biographer was authorized by the Robbins estate.

 

------------------

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Alexandra

I should check this before I write it but I have a vague memory of hearing that there ARE two authorized biographies, because they cover different aspects of his life? It would be possible to have an artistic one and a more general biography, for example.

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AmandaNYC
Originally posted by dirac:

Although I haven't seen it yet, I think the Conrad book is more of a pictures-with-text coffee table kind of volume, and so it wouldn't be intruding on Jowitt's territory or vice versa.

 

 

Yup, that it is (though not coffee table book size). Got it today, though B&N said it wouldn't be available for 1-2 weeks. Not the kind of book I'd buy for myself, but a good gift book, which it is for my Robbins-loving sis.

 

After one quick page-flip, I already found an error. There's a pic from Brandenberg labeled as Wendy Whelan and Peter Boal. But, it's not them. Looks like James Fayette and Maria Kowroski to me. Ah, well.

 

-Amanda

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liebs

I had a look at the Robbins book "That Broadway Man... the other day in the NYCB gift shop. It is definately a "coffee table" book, not a serious biography or study of his work. It was very attractively designed and had many lovely photographs.

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dirac

In the current issue of Vanity Fair, the one with Jennifer Aniston on the cover, there is an excerpt from a forthcoming new biography of Robbins by Greg Lawrence (Gelsey Kirkland's husband). The piece focuses on Robbins' testimony as a friendly witness in front of HUAC and his Broadway career afterward.

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Guest Diana L

In "Town & Country", I think it's Suki S. (sorry, I don't want to butcher her last name) in an advertisement for bone density screenings.

And in the new "Harper's Bazaar" Wendy Whelan is photographed in an article on Pilates but not credited.

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Guest martykihn

I just read this book, written by Greg Lawrence (he collaborated w/ his g.f. Gelsey Kirkland on the memorable "Dancing on My Grave"). it's quite long, stylistically what you'd call "chatty" -- the product of a prodigious number of rather revealing interviews w/ those who knew Robbins, often shoehorned into the text w/out much editing or interpretation on the part of Lawrence.

 

as a piece of prose it may be deficient, but thought of as a chronologically-arranged series of interviews (a la Peter Manso's "Mailer" or George Plimpton's "Edie") it's very interesting. Lawrence got many, many people to talk, and it's a good -- if not entirely thoughtful -- read.

 

how does Robbins emerge? in fact, he doesn't. we get a picture of a nasty, tortured, brutal man who was capable of stunning acts of kindness; a man who had sadistic quirks of personality but appears to have been the only person on earth to awe Balanchine; a man who loved kids and dogs, but not himself.

 

p.s., it contains some more texture to the ongoing "Did Balanchine want Martins to succeed him?" controversy. the answer appears to be no. (see p.450-55) NYCB manager Betty Cage is quoted calling the Board "stupid" and the chairman "dumb", picking Martins before G.B.'s death basically because he looked the part.

 

another great quote (from Wilma Curly), regarding G.B.: "George hated the school [s.A.B.]. He wouldn't go there. And every time I hear the quote, 'First a school,' I want to throw up. He hated the school."

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Mme. Hermine

just as a side bar, gelsey kirkland was not greg lawrence's g.f. but rather his wife at that time....

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