Joel Grey, the Tony and Academy Award-winning Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret, finally tells his remarkable life story.
Born Joel David Katz to a wild and wooly Jewish American family in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1932, Joel began his life in the theater at the age of nine, starting in children's theater and then moving to the main stage. He was hooked, and his seven-decades-long career charts the evolution of American entertainment - from Vaudeville performances with his father, Mickey Katz, to the seedy, gangster-filled nightclubs of the '40s, the bright lights of Broadway and dizzying glamour of Hollywood, and juggernaut musicals like Cabaret, Chicago, and Wicked.
Master of Ceremonies is a memoir of a life lived in and out of the limelight, but it is also the story of the man behind the stage makeup. Coming of age in a time when being yourself tended to be not only difficult but also dangerous, Joel had to act both on and off the stage. He spent his high school years sleeping with the girls next door while carrying on a scandalous affair with an older man. Romances with to-die-for Vegas showgirls were balanced with late-night liaisons with like-minded guys until finally Joel fell in love and married a talented and beautiful woman, started a family, and had a pretty much picture-perfect life. But 24 years later, when the marriage dissolved, Joel had to once again find his place in a world that had radically changed.
Drawing back the curtain on a career filled with showstopping numbers, larger-than-life stars, and even singing in the shower with Bjork, Master of Ceremonies is also a portrait of an artist coming to terms with his evolving identity. When an actor plays a character, he has to find out what makes him who he is - his needs, dreams, and fears. It's a difficult thing to do, but sometimes the hardest role in an actor's life is that of himself. Deftly capturing the joy of performing as well as the pain and secrets of an era we have only just started to leave behind, Joel's story is one of love, loss, hard-won honesty, redemption, and success.
©2016 Joel Grey (P)2016 Macmillan Audio