S stories to her lost boys Salamon s book unfolds as life itself unfolds There are no preambles no presaging passages no unwarranted philosophizing or speculations Salamon simply lets her subject s life speak for itself Days whirl into the months and years of WW s ambitious frenetic drive To see the way the Wasserstein siblings morphed into variants of their feared and formidable mother gives one pause I still don t like Wasserstein s plays but now I m willing to give them another look Truth to tell I always thought I had playwriting talent than WW It s been hard to get over the fact people like WW who went to the proper summer camp for successful playwrights Yale Drama School and who new how to make the most of their contacts succeeded in the theatre world I never figured out how to parlay my many playwriting prizes into a career I once asked Richard Gilman why he included a certain vapid play in his short list of Broadway plays to see during a time of decadence on B way Oh Gilman said the author was a student of mine at Yale Steam came out of my ears I had a brilliant friend who was Wasserstein s chum at Yale His assessment of his friend There s no one funnier as a dinner companion But she can t write a play to save her soul His assessment of WW s plays felt like a vindication of my own harsh view of her work It also fired the curiosity I have long felt about the person behind the plays Thank you Julie Salamon for pulling the playwright from behind the wings REVIEW FOR THE WASHTENAW JEWISH NEWSWendy Wasserstein who died of cancer at age 55 was the first female playwright to win a Tony A friend who called it a page turner gave me this book We both worked on the Playwrights Horizons production of Isn t It Romantic and also with many of the theatre people who populate the book so for us it definitely was Contrasting the private Wasserstein with the public Wasserstein the book reveals an ambitious talented driven social woman who defied uppercrust conventions in her appearance but was buffeted about privately by traditional societal expectations of family life and stalked by tragedy It does not sufficiently convey how funny she could be The uote most interesting to me was from John Lyons the one time literary manager who said that if Playwrights had received blind submissions of a Noel Coward play and a Sam Shepard play the Noel Coward would be the one that would have been produced Aha The rich and privileged do think different from you and me I started by skimming this book and then I half decided I wouldn t bother reading the whole thing Then I started it this morning and couldn t put it down How lucky for Miss Wendy to grow up in the lap of privilege which sure doesn t hurt when you want to pursue a career in the arts That and having a brother who is rich as Croesus The children were sickly for the most part an elder sister died of brain cancer an even older brother had been spirited off as a child with alleged retardation Wendy died of varied forms of leukemia and her brother died of a heart attack To my nowledge that leaves one sister leftI identified so much with the decades of growing and development The confused role for women in college in the sixties I watched an interview on You Tube with one of her Mount Holyoke classmates and she was recalling and this is so true of how hard it was to graduate then with all of the upheaval on campus and in life She didn t spell it out but she didn t have to for me Riots constant cultural change having to evacuate classrooms due to bomb scares that happened than you would believe Then you were dumped into that world and to do whatThe author Julie Salamon wrote some beautifully constructed sentences that could have been out of Edith Wharton s New York Describing a summer weekend on Nantucket with the Washington Post Graham s and the snafus over dinner plans Salamon writes She ept changing the date for her Nantucket visit This was of conseuence in a milieu where social arrangements were handled with the ind of nervous attention usually reserved for matters involving delicate international diplomacy Chance was not a welcome guest at the table You could have ripped that passage out of The Age of Innocenceand her final words on Wendy s life and legacy Until the end Wendy Wasserstein took comfort in being part of a larger entity the self defined generation that had created a unified consciousness from a mass marketed set of cultural references Among Wendy s last works was an essay called Baby Boomers published in The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2004 in which she addressed the hubris of the Peter Pan generationThe thing about being a baby boomer is somewhere we still believe that no one is going to do it better than we did she wrote No one will be better than the Beatles no one will be glamorous than Jack Kennedy no time will be as turbulent as the late 60 s no parents will be a s difficult as ours were and no psyches will be as interesting as oursShe continued to aim for immortality even as she mocked her own desire Because boomers came of age in a world fascinated by them and partially created for them we are often not the most cooperative when it comes to aging she wrote We are in fact at the forefront of not just aging gracefully at all Against all odds we will hold back the hands of timeAs Wendy wrote those words she must have sensed that the clock was ticking she was already desperately ill She never grew old but she lived long enough to watch her generation begin to fossilize guarding it s accumulated memories and possessions asserting it historical preeminence as fiercely as every generation that had come before Even as a child it seems she had understood that all relationships ambitions politics hopes worries pains ruminations and dramatizations could command passionate attention one day and then vanish the next Every bright shining beacon would be extinguished and replaced the same as tyrants and fools But she was a gentle social critic clarifying the pretensions of her peers and expressing frustration at their hypocrisies and self deceptions while showing tender appreciation for their frailities and conveying genuine empathy for the desire and uncertainty that made them human That was her gift to the world she tried to make her own. W were aware that she was gravely ill The cherished confidante to so many Wendy privately endured her greatest heartbreaks alone At once a moving portrait of an uncommon woman and a nuanced study of the generation she came to represent Wendy and The Lost Boys uncovers the magic of Wendy’s work A daughter of the 1950s an artist that came of age during the freewheeling 1970s a power woman in 1980s New York and a single mother at the turn of the century Wendy’s very life spoke to the tensions of an era of great change for women in particular Salamon brings each distinct moment to vibrant life always returning to Wendy’s works The Heidi Chronicles and others to show her in the free space of the theater Here Wendy spoke in the most intimate of terms about everything that matters most family and love dreams and devastation And that is the Wendy of Neverland the Wendy who will never grow
An incredibly fun read not only about Wendy Wasserstein but her generation of playwrights It reads like an extensive magazine profile than a traditional biography punctuated with incisive uotations and observations from her family and friends not only about Wendy and her work While largely reflecting upon the 60s and the 80s her potent themes examining uncommon women familiarly set in the context of the seven sisters colleges family and aging still feel incredibly fresh and contemporary The end depicting her deteriorating health runs a little long but otherwise this is a great read on how an artist takes the deeply personal and elevates it into art A couple of favorite linesFor the Smithies Mary Jane felt that their friendship really began senior year when they were away from the odd pressure of being rare specimens at Amherst emphasis mineOn the 80s and really now Our social concerns really have to do with the uality of our own livesWe tend to want to live well and we re unhappy when we can t John Lyons one of the casting directors Wasserstein worked withOn the etiuette of the theater Good manners go a long way But even people in the mafia have better manners than in show business Caroline Aaron Not gonna lie when I reached the end of the book I felt like crying I guess it was because the book made me feel like I really new who Wendy Wasserstein was her funny and bubbly personality shine through the pages and her admirable resilience is awe inspiring The book was really fantastic and I wish Wendy Wasserstein was still with us today to spoil us with her endless wit or flash a great smile at us I was a huge fan of Wendy Wasserstein I saw the Heidi Chronicles on Broadway with my four best high school chums shortly after we graduated from college I also saw the Sisters Rosenzweig some time later I studied her plays for acting class I met her briefly a couple of times and yes she did look homeless I also had the occasion to meet Bruce several times And boy was Salomon s take on him pitch perfect I say all of this as a sort of disclaimer and I am a huge name dropper because I felt as if I Clojure In Action knew Wendy when I was reading the book I lapped up every word I love reading about people who choose an artistic life when that is something so obviously not encourage in their family I loved reading about Wendy and Meryl Streep and Terrance McNally and Christopher Durang in their early careers I loved reading about Wendy s struggle with intimacy and romance evidenced by her incredibly close relationships with gay men who would never want to touch her and her less close relationships with straight men who so clearly wanted to marry her Salomon does a brilliant job of Weaving Wendy s personal life with her subject matter I was hookedIt would be hard for me to recommend this book to somebody who has never seen her plays But if you have read the book It is not without flaws I still have so many uestions about this woman And I saw some other reviews that complained that the book was not funny Wendy was funny why wasn t the book I somewhat agree that her humor wasn t displayed enough in this work but ultimately her life wasn t that hilarious Meryl Streep who seems normal to me characterized her as lonely and sad 4 stars star off because of the lack of humor within these pagesI m completely wrung out after reading this book and felt that way during my entire reading of it More on that laterBut first This is an excellent book It s well written and fascinating It is exactly what a biography should be It looks as though it would have been great fun to research and write as the author interviewed so many family members friends acuaintances of her subject as well as made use of written records to get as full a picture as possible of the woman Brilliant and tragic and captivatingThe only negative of the book from an objective view there were plenty for me subjectively is that given how funny Wasserstein was and that s commented on a lot in these pages this book isn t funny at least not to me It didn t make me laugh or smile in amusement I would have liked some humor in the telling For a book about a woman with a fabulous sense of humor the lack of humor in the book was strikingFor me I felt depressed and infuriated as I read and as I think about Wasserstein s life It wrung me out and was a emotionally difficult read for meWasserstein was three years older than I and I recognized the era and I was familiar with some of Wasserstein s work This wonderful birthday gift book brought back many of my memories from over the years it was hard for me not to think of exactly what I was doing and feeling as each time period was discussedI actually took a short break from reading this book to read a children s novel about the Holocaust to cheer me up that s how depressing this book felt for meBecause of all the people Wassersteinnew the whole book could seem like one long name dropping document but this was her life and it s a valid account of her lifeUpsetting to read about for me were these people who were ultra wealthy family members who were close nit but in a dysfunctional way successful and famous and spoiled and selfish people yet somehow many times very endearing but the most infuriating and sad aspect for me was what I consider to be the psychopathic secrecy and denial that Wendy grew up with and mightily perpetuated and I was especially outraged for Lucy Jane I m allergic to such lies given my own background and it was unpleasant for me to read how the Wasserstein family and Wendy functionedI ve had this author s book Hospital Man Woman Birth Death Infinity Plus Red Tape Bad Behavior Money God and Diversity on Steroids on my to read list forever I really want to get to it she s a fabulous writer and non fiction storyteller I was wholly unfamiliar with Wendy Wasserstein but I love reading about writers and her life featured so many elements I enjoy reading about women s colleges New York City the arts scene and complicated families This is an authorized biography and I was apprehensive at first that would mean a glossing over of anything unsavory about Wasserstein or her family Instead I found it to be measured fair and detailed albeit dry from time to time Wasserstein s life has elements of the fairy tale a secret Winner of the Pulitzer Prize the first woman playwright to win a Tony Award Wendy Wasserstein was a Broadway luminary But with her high pitched giggle and unkempt curls she projected an image of warmth and familiarity Everyone new Wendy Wasserstein Or thought they did In Wendy and the Lost Boys Salamon delicately pieces together the many fractured narratives of Wendy’s life the stories often contradictory that she shared amongst friends and family the half truths of her plays and essays the confessions and camouflage present even in her own journal writing to reveal Wendy’s most expertly crafted character herself Born in Brooklyn on October 18 1950 to Polish Jewish immigrant parents Wendy was the youngest of Lola and Morris Wasserstein’s five children Her mother had big dreams for her children and they didn’t disappoint Sandra Wendy’s glamorous sister became a high ranking corpo.
Rother suirreled away in an asylum her mother s forgotten first marriage rollercoaster success as a playwright her secret pregnancy and Salamon presents Wasserstein s story with respect and a BWWM (Interracial Romance BWWM African American Multicultural Romance) *2 (Interracial Romance BWWM African American Multicultural Romance) *2: Billionaires Secret Baby (BWWM Secret Baby Romance Contemporary Romance) kind of calmness At some points I wanted a little less distance Salamon writes very openly about the Wassersteins intense secrecy and even though she shares painful revelations I still felt at arm s length Perhaps it was the subject herself as Salamon explains in her Acknowledgments Untangling Wendy Wasserstein s story reuired constant triangulation between her dramatic interpretations of her life and times her nonfiction essays and everything else The snapshots of Wasserstein s life at Mount Holyoke were especially fascinating to me I love reading about women s colleges in the 60s and learning about the Off Broadway theater scene was very eye opening especially in regards to how women were treated I enjoy taking risks with my reading now and then and I appreciated this biography of a new to me writer Wendy Wasserstein is now on my TBR having this background will make reading her work richer I think and I m curious now about other female playwrights from the 60s and 70s I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the life of playwright Wendy Wasserstein who died in 2006 at the age of 55 Inew Wasserstein through her plays which were all about personal identity and relationships and so well reflected the Boomer generation and her New Yorker articles This narrative chronicles her life from her childhood in a family of Jewish immigrant parents to her undergraduate years at Mt Holyoke and her graduate studies at Yale Drama School through struggles and successes as a playwright The revealing story of her family and its dynamics is fascinating as is the portrayal of the New York theater world whose inhabitants became her extended family The books does a fine job of introducing readers to her family and friends and re creating the world in which she lived I am madly in love with Wendy Wasserstein in that oh em gee your plays rock my world ind of way so reading Wendy and the Lost Boys by Julie Salamon was a no brainer I should give you a bit of background firstAbout six months ago I realized that I was seeing a lot of shows but not reading many plays so I took it upon myself to start reading one play a week to pick up on a large chunk of work that I was unfamiliar with To simplify my process I choose one playwright at a time and read their whole cannon before proceeding and I am working on alternating males and females while mixing up race as well I started with August Wilson s Century Cycle then moved on to Wendy Wasserstein since the theatre I work for had a long standing relationship with her and my boss new her well I thought it was appropriate I African Literature: Overview and Bibliography know you don t care but I am on Harold Pinter right now What this means is you would have an additional book review each week if I were reviewing the plays but I digressI fell in love with Wendy and her characters I relate to her work and I am moved by seeing her in all of her characters the search for oneself and the longing for the unattainably perfect life we were told we could have or even worse the life our parents want us to have without regard for what we want Wendy and I might be separated by a few decades in age but I relate to her work so deeply Reading Wendy and the Lost Boys was an incredibly enjoyable experienceOn top of getting down and dirty with Wendy s family what a clan this book also added another chapter to the History of Off Broadway cannon You can t have a history of Off Broadway without a history of it s people and this book is no exception It joins Free For All Joe Papp The Public and The Greatest Theater Story Ever Told by Kenneth Turan and Joseph Papp as one of my favorite theatre history books I have no doubt that there are some inaccuracies as people claim Wendy passed away over 5 years ago and was an incredibly private person anyhow when alive but I appreciate the story as a whole and love the tribute that this book is to her and to her work the work that I admire so deeplyhttpsassypeachreadsblogspotcom Note after the first 3 paragraphs below written immediately upon completing the book find the review I wrote for the Washtenaw Jewish News I loved this book I never much liked Wasserstein s plays but I thought that she herself was an intriguing personality Julie Salamon whose writing I ve long admired is a consummate journalist and biographer thorough thoughtful and sensitive and lyrical Like Wendy Wasserstein Salamon is Jewish and her Jewishness subtly informs this biography While Salamon is never overtly judgmental her sturdy spine and her clear however tacit notions of right and wrong are in evidence through the uotations she chooses to include Someone refers to WW as selfish One wonders whether Salamon agrees though JS is careful about including so many other descriptions including those of WW s generosity I had the feeling through much of the book that Salamon s view of WW was similar to my own But at the end Salamon seems to bestow weight to Wasserstein s writing to the plays as well as to the many essays and longer prose pieces I wondered though whether it is Salamon s critical acuity that adds heft to WW s writings WW picked up the tenor of the times partly through uncanny powers of recall which allowed her to use exploit ancient conversations and confidences almost verbatim WW s uniue set of neuroses somehow allowed her to mimic the tropes of her generation which she does with her pitch perfect memory for dialogue This was often discomfiting to her characters real life prototypes Her brother s wife divorced him after seeing herself parodied in one of WW s plays Old confidantes shut their doors against WW after seeing themselves aped Even I was discomfited by the evident exploitation But WW was also enormously generous Examples abound Salamon also explores the lost boys of Wendy s life including a brother who was ill and put away only to be discovered in middle age by his astounded siblings But lost boys also refers to the legion of gay men who were WW s bosom buddies She referred to many of them as my husbands One of them published a book called Diary of a Lost Boy Others referred to Wendy as the one who will not grow up who tell. Rate executive at a time when Fortune 500 companies were an impenetrable boys club Their brother Bruce became a billionaire superstar of the investment banking world Yet behind the family’s remarkable success was a fiercely guarded world of private tragediesWendy perfected the family art of secrecy while cultivating a densely populated inner circle Her long time friends included theater elite such as playwright Christopher Durang Lincoln Center Artistic Director André Bishop New York Times theater critic Frank Rich the many women of the theater for whom she served as both mentor and ally and countless others Yet almost no onenew that Wendy was pregnant when at age forty eight she was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital to deliver Lucy Jane three months premature The paternity of her daughter remains a mystery At the time of Wendy’s tragically early death less than six years later very fe.
Julie Salamon has written eleven books in many genres most recently An Innocent Bystander released in June 2019 by Little Brown Julie's other books include New York Times bestsellers Wendy and the Lost Boys and The Christmas Tree illustrated by Jill Weber as well as Hospital The Devil’s Candy Facing the Wind The Net of Dreams and Rambam’s Ladder She has written two children's books M