Joe Papp in Five Acts
Matt Roush says...
American Masters pays homage to one of the most influential figures in 20th-century New York theater, whose legacy lives on at the Public Theater and its popular Free Shakespeare in the Park series, now in its 60th summer season. “He wanted theater to be as public as the library was,” explains James Earl Jones, one of the many stars who took advantage of Joe Papp’s progressive, egalitarian approach to the classics. Clashing with urban giants like Robert Moses to achieve his dream of free theater in Central Park, using hits like A Chorus Line to bankroll his eclectic vision, Papp is a towering personality, remembered by stars including Kevin Kline (who recites Shakespearean verse to open each act), Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep, seen in tantalizing clips from her early Park appearances (including The Taming of the Shrew opposite Raul Julia). A must for theater lovers.