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Adaptations are proving the hardest thing to do these days.

Truman Capote Reading His "A Christmas Memory" - Original 1959 Album

There's always the question of how faithful something should be. Based on the short story by Truman Capote, this new musical by Larry Grossman music , Carol Hall lyrics , and Duane Poole book expands upon the tale, first published in , but still gets stuck in the follow-through. It's about a friendship between two innocents, the effete young Buddy Silvano Spagnuolo and his adult cousin Sook Tony winner Alice Ripley , and how they bake fruitcakes each holiday season. Life is tough for Buddy, who dreams of being a tap dancer in Hollywood pictures, while he's raised by kinfolk Samuel Cohen and Nancy Hess rather than his divorcing parents.

Unlike in the Capote original, book writer Poole structures the show around the flashbacks of adult Buddy Ashley Robinson , who has returned home to settle the estate this provides the opportunity for Buddy to narrate using Capote's own lovely prose. Poole smoothly fleshes out ancillary characters, giving them a distinct personality, but he runs into trouble with the two-act format.

What Irony Is in "A Christmas Memory"?

There isn't enough conflict to justify the length, especially in the second half. In contrast, Grossman and Hall's score is filled with some real gems, most notably the rollicking ensemble number "Mighty Sweet Music" where the whole cast plays ukuleles.

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Also memorable is the second act's stunning, wistful "Nothing More Than Stars," an introspective trio for young Buddy, adult Buddy, and his sickly grown cousin Seabon Cohen. More intriguing is the way the authors have managed to work in a variety of period styles, like the cakewalk an entertaining tune called, appropriately, "Alabama Fruitcake".

The elderly cousin thinks of this as heaven, and says that God and heaven must be like this. It is their last Christmas together.

Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, A Reading by Matthew & Janet Broderick

The following year, the boy is sent to military school. Although Buddy and his friend keep up a constant correspondence, this is unable to last because his elderly cousin suffers more and more the ravages of old age, and slips into dementia. Soon, she is unable to remember who Buddy is, and not long after, she passes away. And when that happens, I know it.

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A message saying so merely confirms a piece of news some secret vein had already received, severing me from an irreplaceable part of myself, letting it loose like a kite on a broken string. That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying towards heaven.

Both the teleplay and the program's star, Geraldine Page, won Emmy Awards. The story was also adapted for Hallmark television in The story has also been adapted as part of Short Story Anthology , a part series available from Children's Television International.

A Christmas Memory | The New Yorker

Shea's sensitive reading was anthologized and sold on cassette, [7] and the anthology, Selected Shorts, Vol. The composer also created an orchestral suite from the opera. Truman Capote further explored the lives of Buddy and Sook in his story " The Thanksgiving Visitor ," which also was adapted for television. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A Christmas Memory First edition in solo book form The New York Times. This American Life , Episode Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved July 23, Capote, Truman New York: Modern Library.


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Clarke, Gerald Capote, A Biography 1st ed. New York: Simon and Schuster. Gelfante, Blanche H. Works by Truman Capote.


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