Magic Time: A Memoir; Notes on Theatre & Other Entertainment

Smith & Kraus. Aug. 2020. 311p. ISBN 9781575259420. $34.95. THEATER
Teacher, writer, critic, and theater producer Wilson looks back on his life and work, including travels around the world with his wife, Chic, who passed away in 2016 after almost 50 years of marriage. Wilson began a nearly 40-year teaching career at Hunter College in 1964, and in late 1972 stumbled into the role of theater critic for the Wall Street Journal, a post he held for more than two decades. He produced multiple plays and a few films, including the 1968 documentary The Nashville Sound, which was released only after Ken Burns purchased the rights to several segments for inclusion in his 2019 series Country Music. Wilson’s legacy as a writer may be tied to The Theatre Experience, a college textbook currently in its 14th edition and a standard resource for theater appreciation classes. Concluding this work are Wilson’s theater reviews and articles originally published in the Wall Street Journal between 1972 and 1990, and while they serve as a fine capstone for the volume, they don’t add much appeal for the general audience.
VERDICT A pleasant yet unremarkable story of a well-lived life in the world of theater.

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