Moss Hart's Act One, which Lincoln Center Theater presented in 2014 as a play written and directed by James Lapine, is one of the great American memoirs, a glorious memorial to a bygone age filled with all the wonder, drama, and heartbreak that surrounded Broadway in the early twentieth century.…
Why read it?
2 authors picked Act One as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
While the prose style of Act One is a little fussy, florid, and overly eager to impress, this is still a moving, funny, and emotional biography of a talented, ambitious young man who is determined to make his mark as a Broadway playwright. And, at the end, when he single-handedly turns his out-of-town failure (co-written with George S. Kaufman) into a hit, you want to stand up and cheer.
In this 1959 memoir, the You Can’t Take It With You playwright tells the story of how he dreamed his way out of deepest, dreariest Brooklyn, inspired by an outlier aunt who turned him on to Broadway. Hart’s Promised Land is just a long subway ride away from his tenement home, but it takes a Moses-like journey to get him there for good—whereupon he renounces traveling by subway forevermore.
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