Command Performance; An Actress in the Theater of Politics

New York: Public Affairs, 2000. First Edition [Stated], First Printing [Stated]. Hardcover. xiii, [3], 335, [1] pages. Illustrations. Black mark on bottom edge, Includes Acknowledgments, Prologue, Epilogue, and Index. Topics covered include Early Training; The Audition; The Rehearsal; Curtain Up; The Production; The Scene; The Players; On the Road; Intermission; Act II; The Critics; Hollywood; Backstage; and Curtain Down. The witty, no-holds-barred memoir of the acclaimed actress who became head of the National Endowment for the Arts. Jane Alexander (born October 28, 1939) is an American author, actress, and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a Tony Award winner and two-time Emmy Award winner. Alexander made her Broadway debut in 1968 in The Great White Hope and won the 1969 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Other Broadway credits include, 6 Rms Riv Vu (1972), The Night of the Iguana (1988), The Sisters Rosensweig (1993) and Honour (1998). She has received a total of seven Tony Award nominations and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1994. She went on to star in the film version of The Great White Hope in 1970 and received the first of four Academy Award nominations for her performance. Her subsequent Oscar nominations were for All the President's Men (1976), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), and Testament (1983). An eight-time Emmy nominee, she received her first nomination for playing Eleanor Roosevelt in Eleanor and Franklin (1976). She has won two Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Playing for Time (1980) and Warm Springs (2005). In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Alexander chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts, the organization that had provided partial funding for The Great White Hope at Arena Stage. Alexander moved to Washington, DC, and served as chair of the NEA until 1997. Her book, Command Performance: an Actress in the Theater of Politics (2000), describes the challenges she faced heading the NEA at a time when the 104th U.S. Congress, headed by Newt Gingrich, unsuccessfully strove to shut it down.[3] She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999.

Derived from a Kirkus review: A well-written account of Alexander’s 1993–97 term as head of the National Endowment of the Arts, smoothly interwoven with tales of her stage and screen life. Until the NEA appointment, Alexander’s only bureaucratic experience was as a politically active citizen. Her commitment to the NEA was bolstered by her role in The Great White Hope, which earned her a Tony Award and an Oscar nomination and was developed with an NEA grant. The organizing principle of her 15 theatrical chapter titles, divided into two acts and bookended by a prologue and epilogue, smartly links Alexander’s professional world onstage with her stint in the theater of politics. “The Audition,” “The Rehearsal,” and “Curtain Up” detail the intricate voyage through nomination and confirmation. On the heels of the swearing-in comes the process of learning the ropes and expanding her list of useful acquaintances. The many profiles of movers and shakers, for and against the NEA, reveal a dry authorial wit and add human interest. No sooner did this Washington outsider learn to deal with Beltway insiders than she was confronted with the Gingrich Congress, which turned her plan to increase NEA funding and visibility into a battle of containment—if not extinction. The agency survived, but a personal tragedy and mounting disenchantment with the time-wasting politicization of the legislative process prompted Alexander to resign. She compares the frustrating ditherings of bureaucracy to the results-oriented production of a play. The author’s intelligence and personable quality, combined with her large cast of political and show-business celebrities, make for an entertaining and informative discussion of important arts issues.
Condition: Very good / Very good.

Keywords: Bill Clinton, Actresses, National Endowment for the Arts, Jesse Helms, Newt Gingrich, Sidney Yates, Melanne Verveer, Hollywood, Motion Pictures

ISBN: 1891629961

[Book #23906]

Price: $35.00

See all items in Bill Clinton, Motion Pictures
See all items by