Conversations with Terrence McNally

Univ. Pr. of Mississippi. Jan. 2023. 208p. ed. by Raymond-Jean Frontain. ISBN 9781496843227. pap. $25. THEATER
Nineteen essays and interviews spanning from 1974 through 2018 on prolific American playwright Terrence McNally (1938–2020) comprise this important and outstanding trim volume by Frontain (Theatre of Terrence McNally: Something About Grace). Often in Q&As with McNally, the book offers insights into his art, career, and life. Sometimes these “conversations” come from interviews or in the form of extensive quotes, but McNally’s forthrightness and self-awareness of his life and art are consistently compelling. McNally’s “Select Works” provided at the beginning of the volume give ample evidence of the productive playwright best known for such works as Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Ritz, It’s Only a Play, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Ragtime, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Master Class, and many others. An extensive, well-written, and thorough introductory biographical essay and chronology precede the interviews and essays.
VERDICT This highly recommended collection will be an essential addition to all libraries with theater collections.
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