Jack Be Nimble by Jack O'Brien
The Accidental Education of an Unintentional Director

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So there’s sadness here, the disciple rejecting the master. But throughout “Jack Be Nimble” there’s also upbeat excitement. If the book has a fault, it’s that Mr. O’Brien bustles affably, nostalgically, unstoppably...
-NY Times

Synopsis

A warm, witty tell-all and history of American regional theater, from one of our best-loved directors

For Jack O'Brien, there's nothing like a first encounter with a great performer, nothing like the sound of an audience bursting into applause. In short, there's nothing like the theater.
Following a fairly normal Midwestern childhood, O'Brien hoped to make his mark by writing lyrics for Broadway but was instead pulled into the growing American regional theater movement by the likes of John Houseman, Helen Hayes, Ellis Rabb, and Eva Le Gallienne. He didn't intend to become a director, or to direct some of the most brilliant—and sometimes maddening—personalities of the age, but in a charming, hilarious, and unexpected way, that's what happened.
O'Brien has had a long, successful career on Broadway and as artistic director of San Diego's Old Globe Theatre, but the history of the movement that shaped him has been overlooked. In the middle of the last century, some extraordinary people forged a link in the chain connecting European influences such as the Moscow Art Theatre and Great Britain's National Theatre with the flourishing American theater of today. O'Brien was there to see and record it all, in beautifully vivid detail.
Funny, exuberant, unfailingly honest, Jack Be Nimble is the tale of those missing heroes, performances, and cultural battles. It is also the irresistible story of one of our best-loved theater directors, growing into his passion and discovering what he is capable of.

 

About Jack O'Brien

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Jack O’Brien was born in 1939 and is an American director, producer, writer, and lyricist, who served as the artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego from 1982 to 2007. He has won three Tony Awards and been nominated for seven more, and he has won five Drama Desk Awards. O’Brien lives in New York City.
 
Published June 18, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 369 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Benedict Nightingale on Jun 20 2013

So there’s sadness here, the disciple rejecting the master. But throughout “Jack Be Nimble” there’s also upbeat excitement. If the book has a fault, it’s that Mr. O’Brien bustles affably, nostalgically, unstoppably...

Read Full Review of Jack Be Nimble: The Accidenta... | See more reviews from NY Times

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