For anyone needing an inspirational guide to both living and exploiting one’s cultural life to the fullest, I recommend this entertaining, informal autobiography by Danny Newman. Publicist, press agent, personal representative, theatrical manager, his experiences in the world of opera, theatre, musical comedy, as well as the Yiddish stage have given him more than seventy years of interesting stories and adventures with some of the greatest performers in show business. Each of the thirty-three chapters revolves around anecdotes that connect the author to the famous personality being discussed, such as George Balanchine, Sam Goldwyn, Danny Kaye, Yul Brynner, Richard Tucker, Maria Callas, Milton Berle, and others. But this is much more than a “and then I met” collection of stories. Newman’s work with the Chicago Goodman Theatre and the Lyric Opera of Chicago was emulated by many other companies throughout the United States, especially in the field of ‘subscription series.’ The most personal and interesting part of this autobiography deals with his Jewish identification throughout his professional life. The sections describing his continuing involvement with the Yiddish stage and its performers, as well as his forty-year marriage and professional association with the Polish- American actress Dina Halpern, are charming and heart-warming.
Shimon Gewirtz is a cantor, composer, and playwright who has lectured on Jewish music at various universities and elderhostels around the country. His original songs and translations (from both Hebrew and Yiddish) appear in many anthologies. He has a Masters Degree in Theater Ed. from NYU.