Melissa Rose Bernardo
March 30, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

All That Glittered

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Ethan Mordden
publisher
St. Martin's Press
genre
Theater, Nonfiction, History

We gave it a B

Estimable musical-theater/opera historian Ethan Mordden turns the spotlight on straight plays in All That Glittered, his dense, detailed account of ”The Golden Age of Drama on Broadway: 1919?1959.” It’s a daunting task for the author and his readers, but Mordden’s an affable emcee, whether ruminating on ”Sophistication” (read: homosexuality) or dishing on the Lunts (”Lynn and Alfred brought out the sex in Shakespeare”), Ethel Barrymore (”There were more interesting actresses, but no finer company”), and Tennessee Williams (”His idea of glamour was being on site when Gore Vidal slipped on a banana peel”). Casual Broadway buffs might bolt at the midpoint, but serious theatergoers will stick it out to the final curtain. B

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