PERFORMING ARTS

Still Here: The Madcap, Nervy, Singular Life of Elaine Stritch

Farrar. Oct. 2019. 352p. notes. index. ISBN 9780374268091. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374714659. THEATER
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Spoiler alert...she’s not, y’know, still here (Elaine Stritch died in 2014), although in the sense in which the title is intended (a reference to “I’m Still Here,” from Stephen Sondheim’s Follies), Elaine ain’t going away anytime soon. For better or, most likely, a whole lot worse, they don’t make them like Stritch anymore. A fixture on Broadway’s musical and dramatic stages for decades, with numerous television and film credits in her 50-plus-year career, Stritch is perhaps best known for her Emmy Award–winning performance as the mother of Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, the fierce and sardonic Colleen. Here, New York Times journalist and cultural critic Jacobs presents a thoroughly researched and documented life story of a talented and complicated actor. A highly functioning alcoholic, Stritch could drink like a fish and curse like a sailor, and her acting and vocal chops culminated in her 1995 induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Stories and anecdotes abound from the cornucopia of professional colleagues and artists interviewed to illuminate her work with, among many others, Sondheim, Noel Coward, and Tennessee Williams.
VERDICT An excellent biography of a true American theater original. For all performing arts collections. [See Prepub Alert, 4/8/19.]

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