Every age has had its stars who combine show business glitz and political passion, with Bono, Sean Penn, and Angelina Jolie among those carrying that mantle currently. But few, if any, have inhabited those two worlds as dramatically and comprehensively as David Rothenberg.
Although never himself a "star," Rothenberg’s multilayered life brought him contact with Broadway’s brightest lights, as well as prison riots, political campaigns, civil rights sit-ins, and a Central American civil war. It all is recounted in his searing memoir, Fortune in My Eyes: A Memoir of Broadway Glamour, Social Justice, and Political Passion (Applause Books, October 2012, $29.99).
While a publicist, Rothenberg represented some of the most successful theater offerings of the last half of the 20th century, including Richard Burton’s Hamlet, the original production of Hair, Beyond the Fringe, Blue Man Group, John Gielgud’s production of The School for Scandal, Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, and several plays by Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams.
He later turned to producing, and it was the production of Fortune and Men’s Eyes, an off-Broadway prison drama, that reshaped his life. John Herbert’s chilling play led directly to the creation of the Fortune Society, which has evolved into one of the nation’s most formidable advocacy and service organizations in criminal justice. Few careers – in show business or out of it – ever have changed course so dramatically. In a few short years, the man who had been Elizabeth Taylor’s date at the opening night of Hamlet was being called to Attica prison as a mediator during that institution’s famed inmate uprising. In the 1980s, he was part of a delegation led by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark to determine how the Sandinista government in Nicaragua was treating imprisoned Contras. He later led the fight to bring news of the AIDS epidemic to mainstream media.
Rothenberg shares these experiences and many more, those with stars and presidents and with anonymous men and women who, once out of prison, fought to reclaim their lives. On every page, Fortune in My Eyes vividly shows that, as often as not, the human drama of the formerly incarcerated is a match for that of the entertainment world’s most fabled characters.
David Rothenberg has been involved with more than 200 Broadway and Off-Broadway productions as publicist or producer. His production of John Herbert’s prison drama Fortune and Men’s Eyes led to the creation of the Fortune Society, one of the nation’s leading advocacy and service organizations in criminal justice. He conceived, directed and coauthored the play, The Castle, based on the work of the Fortune Society, which played off-Broadway for 13 months. He is a former member of the NYC Human Rights Commission and has been the host of a weekly radio program on WBAI in New York for nearly 40 years. He lives in New York.
The book will be released today, October 9, 2012.
Price $29.99 Hardcover 978-1-55783-926-8
320 pages 6” x 9” 8-page photo insert
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard
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