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October 06, 2011 - Image 75

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-10-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

MICHIGAN

56 ,Glii:1,4.4 6EN1q , ..elitECICA

"Wendy was covert as a spy," writes
Salamon, parceling out information to a
host of confidants, allowing each of them to
believe that he or she alone had access to the
inner sanctum. Only later did they realize
that Wasserstein had constructed her life
as a giant game of
Clue, full of hidden
WENDY AND
THE LOST BOYS
connections and
JULIE SALAMON
compartmentalized
players. She used
humor as a dodge,
intimacy as a smoke
screen. .”

CARL ORFF

GAMIN
BURANA

at the Detroit Opera House

Performed in Latin with
English supertitles

OCT. 15-23, 2011

Some of the
most powerful
and popular
classical music
ever written

Performed by the Michigan Opera Theatre
Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre Chorus,
Michigan Opera Theatre Children's Chorus
and Rackham Symphony Choir...
Conducted by Suzanne Mallare Acton,
featuring artists of Cirque du Soleil.

"H: UrFC0vMON1 LIFE OF

Paired with

WENDY

GIAN CARLO MENOTTI'S AMERICAN OPERA

WASSERSTEIN

Andre Bishop, Daniel Sullivan, Meryl
Streep and Swoosie Kurtz and was
largely played out at Playwrights
Horizon and the Vivian Beaumont
Theatre at Lincoln Center.
But there is also her relationship
with her notable siblings: Sandra, one
of the highest-ranking Fortune 500
executives, for whom there was no
glass ceiling; Bruce, the much written-
about takeover specialist and billion-
aire investment banker; and Georgette,
who ran an inn in Vermont. All of
which was previously known. (Both
Sandra and Bruce were University
of Michigan graduates, and Wendy,
writes Salamon, felt "she couldn't mea-
sure up to them:')
However, Salamon reveals what
Wasserstein wouldn't: that her two
older siblings had a different father,
George Wasserstein, who died of
an infection following a ruptured
appendix. Wasserstein's mother,
Lola, then married George's younger
brother, Morris, a fact not mentioned
to Wasserstein until she was much
older. Further, Wasserstein had an
older brother, Abner, who had mental
deficits and was put in a group home
and rarely acknowledged, much less
visited, by the family.
Lola was the force of nature that
Wendy had to deal with, and who pro-
vided anecdotal material for friends
and in her writing — but it was Lola's
secrets that Wasserstein kept off limits.
I met Wasserstein on a few occa-
sions. She wrote the words for a comic

strip that ran in New York Woman
when my wife was that magazine's
publisher, and so we found ourselves
at several of the magazine's events. In
my memory, she is a bit like Hagrid
in Harry Potter, a lovable giant with
a wild, thick mane of hair — that is,
if Hagrid had appeared at black-tie
champagne events. When you talked
to Wasserstein, you felt like there was
extra oxygen in the air — smiling was
inevitable.
After her death, New York Times
theater critic and columnist Frank
Rich wrote: "How could the most pub-
lic artist in New York keep so much
locked up?"
As Salamon makes clear,
Wasserstein's friends were her life,
and their relationships often turned
up transmuted in her work, causing
friendships with Wasserstein to run
hot and cold. Perhaps Wasserstein
compartmentalized her friends and
kept her secrets as a means of main-
taining a fiction — that they lived in a
Neverland of her own invention.
Peter Pan's Wendy refuses the boy's
entreaties to stay young, instead
maturing until, one day her own
daughter is visited by Peter. In Wendy
and the Lost Boys, Salamon details the
human cost of a life that will live on,
on stage, but was cut far too short in
real life.

"THE
MEDIUM

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October 6 • 2011

59

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