A Principled Opportunist

Free for All
Joe Papp, The Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told
Kenneth Turan and Joseph Papp
Doubleday, $39.95, 575 pp.

Joe Papp. Those staccato monosyllables still evoke within me a mixture of dread and delight, nearly twenty-five years on. I first met Papp in 1986, when I happened to walk into his office at the Public Theater at just the right moment and he hired me to work on a new project. Over the next two and a half years, I found him both terrifying and fascinating, almost a compendium of the Shakespearean characters whose lines he could quote at will: mercurial as Puck, imperious as Julius Caesar,...

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About the Author

Elizabeth Kirkland Cahill, a frequent contributor, is the co-author (with Joseph Papp) of Shakespeare Alive! and a 2010 graduate of Yale Divinity School.