Act One

  • by Moss Hart
  • Narrated by Jim Meskimen
  • 17 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Moss Hart's Act One, which Lincoln Center Theater presented in 2014 as a play written and directed by James Lapine, is one of the greatest American memoirs - a glorious memorial to a bygone age filled with all the wonder, drama, and heartbreak that surrounded Broadway in the early 20th century. Hart's story inspired a generation of theatergoers, dramatists, and readers everywhere as he eloquently chronicled his impoverished childhood and his long, determined struggle to reach the opening night of his first Broadway hit. Act One is the quintessential American success story.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good but not great

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, especially if you like theater. The story, about the early days of Broadway, is fascinating and Hart finds himself in all sorts of interesting situations.

What other book might you compare Act One to and why?

A little bit to Neil Simon's memoirs, especially in showing how playwriting actually happens.

What didn’t you like about Jim Meskimen’s performance?

He was way too slow a reader, pauses too long. I had to listen to it at 1.5 speed and it still sounded normal.

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- Cool dude

Great Reading of a Great Broadway Story

Jim Meskimen's reading was exceptional. I never wavered a moment from thinking this was Moss Hart telling his story of struggle, perseverance, bitterness, audacity, talent and luck as a young playwright. He captured all of Hart's nuances, sounded like a 20th century New Yorker in tone and attitude, and seemed entirely in sync with Moss Hart's perspective and view of the theater world of the 1920s-1930s.

Much is written about developing "grit" and "perseverance" in young people. This story -- of a young man forced to leave school after 8th grade, making the most of his opportunities, wrestling with his own doubts and fears, reckoning with the soul destroying aspects of poverty, dusting himself off after being knocked down in humiliating ways -- is an inspiring lesson. A bit dated in how PG it all seems -- but the reader has the sense that those more risqué aspects of that world are omitted rather than sugarcoated in this memoir written in the 1950s. And having background understanding of and interest in 20tj century Broadway theater are probably essential in appreciating this book. But Jim Meskimen must get full credit for making this take of another era feel so alive and immediate and the audio book feeling like Moss Hart is right there with you in 2016, telling you what happened in that Broadway producer's crowded gritty Times Square office.
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- Jenny Jenkins

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-28-2015
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.