It’s a good year for dishy memoirs by theater folk. First we dove into Shy, the outrageously entertaining and well-written memoir of Mary Rodgers (and Jesse Green). It’s well poised to be the theater book of the year. Now come the diaries of actor Alan Rickman, who surged to fame in 1985 with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses that took him to Broadway and a Tony nomination in 1987. That led right into an over-the-top turn as the villain in Die Hard. Rickman spent the rest of his life alternating between acclaimed stage performances (Private Lives) and films including Truly Madly Deeply, Love Actually, and, of course the Harry Potter films. If you sensed Rickman did not suffer fools gladly, well, you’re absolutely right. His diaries are not crafted for the ages — Rickman jots down the doings of the day and who said what to whom and his impressions of others. You’ll skim the entries and just about decide to put it down when yet another naughty, nasty little jibe makes you laugh and keeps you reading. Great fun.
The Whalebone Theatre is a debut novel that begins in the world of theater and leads right into World War II and undercover work where the stakes are considerably higher — it’s dying on stage versus actually dying. The story begins in 1928 with a whale washing up on shore from the English Channel. A little orphan girl rallies her brother and everyone else in sight to stage plays amid the skeletal remains. That training comes in handy 11 years later, when war strikes and both children — now young adults — are recruited for dangerous, separate missions in occupied France. The response from critics and readers is immediate and strong. So why wait? Read it now so you can argue over who should be cast in the inevitable film or miniseries adaptation.
Michael Giltz is the cohost of the weekly entertainment podcast Showbiz Sandbox. He has covered all areas of entertainment as a journalist, critic, feature writer, and analyst, contributing to numerous outlets, including the New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and The Advocate. When Michael’s not attending the theater, he’s reading about it.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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