cover image Still Here: The Madcap, Nervy, Singular Life of Elaine Stritch

Still Here: The Madcap, Nervy, Singular Life of Elaine Stritch

Alexandra Jacobs. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-374-26809-1

New York Times editor Jacobs explores the life of colorful and brash actor Elaine Stritch (1925–2014) in this celebratory biography. Stritch was born in Detroit, Mich., into a middle-class Catholic family and moved to New York City in 1943 “in pursuit of fun, music, nightclubs, and theater.” So began a legendary, boozy career that would include roles on Broadway (in Noël Coward’s Sail Away and Stephen Sondheim’s Company, among many others), in films (Woody Allen’s September and Small Time Crooks), and on television (most notably in Tina Fey’s 30 Rock). Jacobs moves meticulously through Stritch’s decades on the stage, from her audition for the road company of Oklahoma! shortly after her arrival in New York, to such achievements as her 2002 Tony Award–winning one-woman show At Liberty. The author covers Stritch’s complicated relationships with men (including her sex-deprived marriage to actor John Bay), her loneliness, and her struggles with alcoholism. She captures Stritch’s big personality through amusing stories, including the time Stritch smuggled her dog into England in a bag. Jacobs ends by praising Stritch for her “wit, resilience, unusual forthrightness, and courage.” This book, lush with detail and heavy on Broadway history, will appeal to Stritch fans and theater geeks everywhere. (Oct.)