Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

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August 21st, 2020 by Oscar E Moore

As the shutdown of Broadway – and all live theatre – continues due to the devastating effects of Covid-19 with no immediate date to reopen and the world is in disarray over that deplorable and infamous 8 minute 46 second knee-on-the-neck video that resulted in the tragic death of George Floyd, MAGIC TIME a memoir – notes on Theatre & Other Entertainments by Edwin Wilson is about to be published on August 25th 2020.

It may seem an inopportune time but for me it is a beacon of hope.  A lesson in fortitude, hard work, research and luck.  And entertaining to boot!

This will all become clear when you grab yourself a copy and immerse yourself in the fascinating life of Mr. Wilson.  When you read his words: concise and straightforward, humble and generous.   Mr. Wilson explains it much better than I ever could as he’s lived it firsthand.

At ninety one Edwin Wilson is still sharing his vast theatrical knowledge in his own candid, inimitable way after being the theatre critic for 23 years at The Wall Street Journal (a few choice reviews included) serving on the faculty at Hunter College for 45 years and the CUNY Graduate Center for nearly half a century.  He can be seen wearing a dapper bow tie on YouTube SPOTLIGHT as he interviews the likes of Walter Kerr and Eric Bentley (just died at 103) et al.

An accomplished academic, he is hardly stodgy and stuffy.  Never mean.  Serious with a low key humor.

Anecdotes about George Abbott, My Fair Lady, Lena Horne, Fiorello! (“the original script was hopeless” quoting Mr. Abbott), working on the film The Lord of the Flies, summer stock, Shaw and Shakespeare, John Guare, Joseph Papp & A Chorus Line, advertising, Al Hirschfeld. London, Paris and Quogue Long Island, Fiddler in Japan, Tennessee Williams, Hofstra, John Gassner, Yale, writing, directing, producing and above all teaching, sharing and always learning.  He has done it all.

Having been happily married to Chic (as in “chick” without the “k”) his wife of almost 50 years, a successful decorator in New York and Paris.  It is to her memory that MAGIC TIME is dedicated.

Peppered throughout with phrases such as “out of the blue” “once again luck was on my side” “I had the extreme good fortune” and “by pure coincidence” we get the impression that he was extremely lucky.  With great connections.  But he was a hard worker, decent, passionate and willing to do the research and to take risks to get ahead.  There’s more to “being lucky” at work here.

Born and raised in Nashville, Mr. Wilson had no ambition to be a writer.  He calls himself “an accidental author.” Giving credit to George Bernard Shaw for teaching him the fundamentals of writing through reading and studying Shaw’s output.

I suggest it was his unwavering passion for live theatre – the connection between audience and actors – “magic time” that has resulted in this most illuminating and inspirational memoir.

Your true passion will find you even if at first you do not realize what your true passion is.  It’s a calling.  Is that fate?  Who knows?

MAGIC TIME a memoir by Mr. Edwin Wilson is highly recommended.  I wish him well and continued success and hope I meet him one day – the most fascinating and unforgettable character I have never met, yet greatly admire.

Photo:  Paul Kolnik


Call (toll free) 877 668 8680

Paperback ISBN 978-1-57525-942-0 – $19.95

Hardcover ISBN 978-1-57525-947-5 – $29.95

311 pages

Publication date:  August 25, 2020

Contact: marissa@smithandkraus.com

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