Tales of a The­atri­cal Guru

Dan­ny Newman
  • Review
By – November 16, 2011
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.

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