Celebrating ten years covering drama for the Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout is such a gifted guide to stagecraft that he's begun to practice the art himself. No surprise, really. Before the play became (exclusively) the thing, Teachout was a gadabout, though of the high-end literary kind. Among other pursuits--including sitting, presumably lonely, as a conservative on the review committee for the NEA--Teachout played jazz bass and wrote a bunch of books. He knows from Balanchine to Mencken, from the apex of elegance to the power of pith. Music still figures prominently in his creative imagination--his first play was called Satchmo at the Waldorf. Satchmo, of course, is the great Louis Armstrong, about whom Teachout also wrote a book. And for all his dedication to Thespis, the critic/playwright (and librettist!) is still at the book business, bringing next to sonorous life the elegant Duke Ellington.
There's just one complaint, really: it's rather a shame that Teachout's bailiwick at the Journal has been relegated only to that drama which transpires in theaters. For the most far-reaching, devastating, and mysterious drama of the last decade certainly took place on Wall Street itself.
Terry Teachout (photo: c-spanclassroom.org)
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