Jeffrey Richards Anecdote

Thank you very much for the nice paragraph about my book Great Lengths in the latest Wesleyan magazine. I thought you might be interested to know that Great Lengths has won two national awards: the Theatre Library Association’s George Freedley Memorial Award and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.

I also want to congratulate you on the interview with Jeffrey Richards ’69. I’ve known Jeffrey for many years, going back to when he was a press agent and I was a novice theater critic for the Village Voice. I remember once getting a phone message from my editor (this was before email) asking me to review The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, which I thought at first was a joke (this editor was a big jokester). Well, it wasn’t a joke but a real assignment to review this compressed spoof of the canon, and there was Jeffrey in front of the theater on opening night with press tickets in hand. He greeted me by saying, “Hey, you know we both went to Wesleyan. How cool is that?” Ingratiation is an art, and I knew I was being played. But it didn’t matter. The show was brilliant and I was able to rave about it in all good conscience.

Professor and Acting Chair Dept. of Theatre, Hunter College