In this week’s New Yorker

February 5, 2010

It’s been my lifelong dream to be published in the New Yorker, the finest magazine in the history of the U.S. Not nearly as good as having a piece of writing published, but fun nevertheless: being name-checked by John Lahr in his essay on Sam Shepard. Lahr folds into his article a whole lot of biographical material he could only have gotten from my book, so I appreciate that he goes out of his way to mention my biography. What’s funny, of course, is that he quotes me quoting someone else. I didn’t meet Sam and interview him until years after the book was published. Meanwhile, Lahr knew Sam “back in the day” and was responsible for Lincoln Center Theater producing his play Operation Sidewinder, a crazy poetic rock-n-roll incantation that I wish I’d seen.

2 Responses to “In this week’s New Yorker”

  1. Steve V. Says:

    When I was an adolescent in the rural, college town of Hamilton, New York (pop.3,000 or so) in the early 1960’s, there was an acting company that came to town and put on a play. The company was called The Bishop’s Company. I don’t remember anything about the play, except that it was supposed to be sort of spiritualy uplifting, which is why they put it on in the Baptist Church, of which I was a member. Not in a church hall, mind you, but in the church itself on the stage from which our minister usually delivered his sermons. The audience, myself included, sat in the pews. I have a vague, but persistant memory of a handsome young actor with long, straight blonde or light-brown hair and a striking profile, who caught my eye, as well as my fancy. He’s actually the only reason I remember the evening.
    Could it have been Sam Shepard?
    I like to think I saw him when, a few years before the first short play of his I ever saw in New York, (in ’67 or ’68) about a guy who never gets out of the bathtub (at least in the play). I think it was produced by La Mama, but what was it called?
    (I believe it was produced on the same bill with a Leonard Melfi play called “Birdbath,” if that’s any help.)

    • dshewey Says:

      wow, Steve — I love your long memory and your intense engagement with these pockets of theater history! It might well have been Sam in the Bishops Company play you saw.

      The play of his you refer to is “Chicago,” which was done at La Mama, but not on a double-bill with “Birdbath.” According to THE OFF OFF BROADWAY BOOK, “Birdbath” played on a double bill with Jean-Claude van Itallie’s “War” for the week of March 9, 1966. The following week “Chicago” went up on a double-bill with Lanford Wilson’s “This Is the Rill Speaking.” The week after that, “Chicago” played on a triple-bill with Paul Foster’s “The Recluse” and William M. Hoffman’s “Thank You Miss Victoria.”

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