Patrick McGilligan, author of Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane.
On the centennial of Orson Welles birth, the defining wunderkind of modern entertainment gets his due in local author Patrick McGilligan’s latest, Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane, a groundbreaking new biography of his early years—from his first forays in theater and radio to the inspiration and making of Citizen Kane.
In the history of American popular culture, there is no more dramatic story—no swifter or loftier ascent to the pinnacle of success and no more tragic downfall—than that of Orson Welles. In this magisterial biography, Patrick McGilligan brings young Orson into focus as never before. He chronicles Welles’s early life growing up in Wisconsin and Illinois as the son of an alcoholic industrialist and a radical suffragist and classical musician, and the magical early years of his career, including his marriage and affairs, his influential friendships, and his artistic collaborations.
The tales of his youthful achievements were so colorful and improbable that Welles, with his air of mischief, was often thought to have made them up. Now after years of intensive research, McGilligan sorts out fact from fiction and reveals untold, fully documented anecdotes of Welles’s first exploits and triumphs, from starring as a teenager on the Gate Theatre stage in Dublin and bullfighting in Sevilla, to his time in the New York theater and his fraught partnership with John Houseman in the Mercury Theatre, to his arrival in Hollywood and the making of Citizen Kane. Filled with intriguing new insights and startling revelations—including the surprising true origin and meaning of “Rosebud”—Young Orson is a fascinating look at the creative development and influences that shaped this legendary artistic genius.
Patrick McGilligan is the author of the Edgar-nominated Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light; The New York Times notable books Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast and George Cukor: A Biography of the Gentleman Director; and books on the lives of directors Nicholas Ray, Robert Altman, and Oscar Micheaux, and actors James Cagney, Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood. He also edited the acclaimed five-volume Backstory series of interviews with Hollywood screenwriters and (with Paul Buhle) the definitive Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not far from Kenosha, where Orson Welles was born.
Wednesday December 9, at 7:00 pm:
Margaret M. Goss, author of The Uncommitted.
Please join us at Boswell for a reading and signing with Madison author Margaret M. Goss, debuting her novel The Uncommitted. When a young mother in St. Paul, Minnesota, unexpectedly realizes she possesses a spiritual gift to channel lost souls, her family, her life and her faith are challenged beyond the confines of the physical world.
Josie has an unrealized gift, one that has haunted her since the drowning death of a childhood friend. Josie is a messenger, as were her mother and grandmother before her, carrying messages from the dead to the living through dreams, visions and telepathy. For years, Josie suppresses her gift, but when her mother dies, she is unable to ignore it any longer. Upon exploring her ability, she finds she has underestimated the dangers in channeling the dead when those she loves become targets of an invisible evil. Her sanity comes into question, and she is at risk of losing everything she holds dear.
Margaret M. Goss knew from a young age she wanted to be an author, but her pragmatic upbringing in Oswego, New York directed her to a more solid career that provided her with an immediate living: nursing. Margaret is a graduate of Arizona State University (Nursing) and has her Masters in Public Policy and Administration from the La Follette Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Friday, December 11, at 9:00 pm
Saturday, December 12 at 9:00 pm
Sunday, December 13, at 7:00 pm:
The Milwaukee Opera Theatre presents The Story of My Life.
This story about friendship (music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill) is set in a bookstore! Don’t miss this special event at Boswell. General admission tickets are $25 ($15 for students and artists) and are available from the Brown Paper Tickets website. You can also order by phone at 1-800-838-3006
Each performance lasts 90 minutes with no intermission. Boswell will be open for browsing 30 minutes before each performance for ticketholders. Presented with help from our friends at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, The Story of My Life will warm hearts and feed souls this holiday season.
Featuring: Doug Clemons as Alvin Kelby (the bookseller); Adam Estes as Thomas Weaver (writer)
The creative team: Stage Direction: C. Michael Wright; Music Direction: Anne Van Deusen; Costume Design: Jason Orlenko; Lighting Design: Antishadows LLC
Elaine Schmitt writes for the Journal Sentinel: "The MOT production, directed by C. Michael Wright with music direction by Anne Van Deusen, feels tailor-made for the tiny space. Singer/actors Doug Clemens as Alvin Kelby and Adam Estes as Thomas Weaver use gently nuanced lines, subtle facial expressions, and characters drawn on a perfectly human scale to create poignantly earnest, deeply affecting theater. Clemens and Estes gave beautifully balanced performances, making the silliness and earnestness of their youngest flashbacks and the achingly sorrowful scenes of their adulthood equally real. They used the small space to pull the audience into their world rather than worrying about making intimate, personal scenes play to the back of the hall."
Paul Kosidowski reviewed the production for Milwaukee Magazine: "Stage a musical in a bookstore. Seems like an odd idea, but not for The Story of My Life, which Milwaukee Opera Theatre opened this weekend at Boswell Books. Neil Bartram and Brian Hill’s chamber musical takes place, after all, in a bookstore (mostly). It’s two adults who were inseparable childhood friends—one a small town bookstore owner, the other a famous writer—and what happens to them as they childish things behind. The wall-to-wall shelves of novels, histories and “True Crime” give the scenes a touch of realism, but the backdrop also gives the story its central metaphor: our lives—friendships, lovers, family—are made up of stories. Sometimes they are vignettes, sometimes they are generation spanning epics."
And here's Dave Begel in OnMilwaukee.com: "It's hard to overstate the emotional wallop of this production. It doesn't hit you over the head but sneaks into the deepest recess of your heart, filling you with a warmth and wonder over two men who are what we all hope to have, best friends."