Directed by James Burrows: Five Decades of Stories from the Legendary Director of Taxi, Cheers, Frasier, Friends, Will & Grace, and More

Ballantine. Jun. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9780593358245. $28.99. TV
After five decades directing classic sitcoms, Burrows is uniquely qualified to write both a love letter to the art of TV comedy and a how-to guide for aspiring writers, directors, and actors. Burrows movingly reflects on a childhood immersed in the theater of his father, legendary playwright and director Abe Burrows, who instilled the importance of hard work and passion for entertainment in his young son. Burrows turned to television as a way to separate himself from his father’s shadow, cutting his teeth on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s. He then moved on to direct Taxi, co-create Cheers, develop Frasier, and direct every episode (including the reboot) of Will & Grace, among many others. Burrows provides entertaining behind-the-scenes stories and explains his belief in the importance of harmony among cast members, his favorite set designs (varying levels and pillars), and his recognition of the importance of utilizing his platform to promote understanding and empathy. Infused with classic scenes and memorable lines from his many shows, Burrows’ writing is funny, self-effacing, and nostalgic.
VERDICT Burrows’s insights will delight fans and inspire ambitious artists.
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