Command Performance: An Actress In The Theater Of Politics (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Jane Alexander is a renowned stage and film actress who always cared passionately about the role of the arts in America. When President Clinton appointed her head of the National Endowment for the Arts, she became tireless in pressing for national funding and support of the arts in the Republican Gingrich-ruled Congress of the early 1990's. In her new memoir, Command Performance, she offers a personal account as well as a keen historical and political perspective of how our government is controlled and manipulated by the powers that be. Appalling ignorance and exceptional dedication are portrayed in equal measures, as she dissects the labyrinths of governmental action and inaction. I came away feeling great admiration for this dedicated artist, as well as gaining greater understanding of our political systems. This is an eye-opening account. — Barbara Morrow


Jane Alexander had never been involved in mainstream politics and was happily engaged in her acting career when she was asked to consider becoming head of the embattled National Endowment for the Arts in the early 1990s. When, during her first visit to the Hill, Senator Strom Thurmond barked at her, "You gonna fund pornography?" she knew it would be a rough ride. Nothing had quite prepared her for the role of madame chairman. Her tenure coincided with the ascent of the infamous 104th Congress, presided over by Speaker Newt Gingrich, and its campaign to eliminate the Endowment completely. In Command Performance, Alexander brings a Washington outsider's perspective and an actor's eye for the telling human detail to an anecdote-filled story of the art of politics and the politics of art. And at the start of a new administration in Washington, she reminds us why we need art and why government should be in the business of supporting it.

About the Author

Jane Alexander has starred in dozens of movies, including The Great White Hope, All the President's Men, Kramer vs. Kramer, Eleanor and Franklin, Testament, and The Cider House Rules. She was chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1993 to 1997. She lives in New York State.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780306810442
ISBN-10: 0306810441
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication Date: May 10th, 2001
Pages: 360
Language: English