Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir

Master of Ceremonies A Memoir Joel Grey the Tony and Academy Award winning Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret finally tells his remarkable life story Born Joel David Katz to a wild and wooly Jewish American family in Cleveland Ohio

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  • Title: Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir
  • Author: Joel Grey
  • ISBN: 9781250057242
  • Page: 319
  • Format: ebook
  • Joel Grey, the Tony and Academy Award winning Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret finally tells his remarkable life story Born Joel David Katz to a wild and wooly Jewish American family in Cleveland, Ohio in 1932, Joel began his life in the theater at the age of 9, starting in children s theater and then moving to the main stage He was hooked, and his seven decades long careJoel Grey, the Tony and Academy Award winning Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret finally tells his remarkable life story Born Joel David Katz to a wild and wooly Jewish American family in Cleveland, Ohio in 1932, Joel began his life in the theater at the age of 9, starting in children s theater and then moving to the main stage He was hooked, and his seven decades long career charts the evolution of American entertainment from Vaudeville performances with his father, Mickey Katz to the seedy gangster filled nightclubs of the forties, the bright lights of Broadway and dizzying glamour of Hollywood, to juggernaut musicals like Cabaret, Chicago, and Wicked.Master of Ceremonies is a memoir of a life lived in and out of the limelight, but it is also the story of the man behind the stage makeup Coming of age in a time when being yourself tended to be not only difficult but also dangerous, Joel has to act both on and off the stage He spends his high school years sleeping with the girls next door while carrying on a scandalous affair with an older man Romances with to die for Vegas Showgirls are balanced with late night liaisons with like minded guys, until finally Joel falls in love and marries a talented and beautiful woman, starts a family, and has a pretty much picture perfect life But 24 years later when the marriage dissolves, Joel has to once again find his place in a world that has radically changed.Drawing back the curtain on a career filled with show stopping numbers, larger than life stars and even singing in the shower with Bjork, Master of Ceremonies is also a portrait of an artist coming to terms with his evolving identity When an actor plays a character, he has to find out what makes them who they are their needs, dreams, and fears It s a difficult thing to do, but sometimes the hardest role in an actor s life is that of himself Deftly capturing the joy of performing as well as the pain and secrets of an era we have only just started to leave behind, Joel s story is one of love, loss, hard won honesty, redemption, and success.

    One thought on “Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir”

    1. Started the new year off right with a book I knew I was going to love. I didn't know a whole lot about Joel Grey going into this book -- or I knew less than I thought I did. What I knew: He originated the role of the Emcee in Cabaret, for which he went on to win the Oscar and the Tony, and originated the role of the Wizard in Wicked. Also that he's the father of Jennifer Grey from Dirty Dancing. This book delved into Joel's personal life and upbringing, where he grappled with his own identity fr [...]

    2. I have seen Joel Grey at least three times. The first times, he was Joel Katz and I had no idea who he was. I was a child and my mother took my brother and me to the Cleveland Play House to see some of the children’s plays. While I don’t remember which ones or who was in them but it was during the mid-1940s and, since Joel was an active member of the Curtain Pullers, the children’s division of the Play House at that time, he must have appeared in at least one of the shows I saw. That’s [...]

    3. What a life this man leadd who can not remember him in Cabaret?? Eh?I started this this morning,and read the whole book todayunputdownableWhat a talent.

    4. Joel Grey is an icon, of that there is no doubt. As the Master of Ceremonies, or Emcee, in Cabaret, he created that role with the writers that made his career, but the parallels go far deeper than just the role. Well-written and engaging, this book charts Grey's life from his youth, when he was Joel Katz, and performed with his father, and then was a star of the nightclub scene, which he hated - since he always wanted to be seen as a serious actor. That, and heterosexual. These desires; to becom [...]

    5. I've come to a point where, much as I enjoy a celebrity memoir (provided it's a celebrity I'm interested in, anyway), I groan a little inside when I see they had help from a ghostwriter. No matter how honest the celebrity sets out to be, having a professional ghostwriter involved flattens out their voice. Life stories often become biopics, with sign-posted themes and carefully broken paths navigating through the complexities of the subject's actual life. And it doesn't help that, as interesting [...]

    6. This memoir by the man who initiated the role of the MC in Cabaret was only somewhat interesting. It deals mostly with Joel's acceptance that he is a gay man after a long-time marriage and two children. However, I didn't feel like I know him any better than I did before I read the book. If you're a huge Joel Grey fan or a Cabaret fan, you'll like the interesting tidbits he shares. I realized that I have seen very little of his work so I couldn't relate to the behind-the-scenes tales of the vario [...]

    7. Such a lovely, classy man and a performer whose career arc started in the Yiddish theatre circuit and encompassed so much and so many people. There is sadness here as a gay man who never felt totally comfortable in the times and places he lived to be out and trust who he really was, much of this crisis due to his mother's reaction to him as a teenager and nasty dismissal. His talent and the timing of his career defines him, his opportunities and his awards, as well as his connection to his audie [...]

    8. I never knew a lot of details about this Broadway legend's personal life so I was eager to read his memoir. It provides a framework of his life and details about the stage and movie versions of CABARET. It briefly touches on GOODTIME CHARLEY but essentially tells nothing at all about THE GRAND TOUR and WICKED. So it left this theatre nerd wanting more. It also makes me sad that he came of age at a time when you couldn't live openly as a gay man.

    9. Look elsewhere if you're looking for a salacious tell-all book. Joel Grey has always been an elegant, classy man and he stays true to himself in this book. He writes lovingly about his marriage and his children. He is what he isa man who loves his family, but who happens to be gay. Perhaps if he had come of age in today's world his story would have been different. But it's not.

    10. A brief synopsis of Joel Grey's life and coming to terms with who he is as a person. If you thought he was only the emcee in Cabaret, you would be wrong. He's been a working actor for over 50 years. Interesting read.

    11. I am a fan of Joel Grey. I have always wished I had the chance to see him on Broadway. I liked him in the movie Cabaret,so was interested in reading his memoir. Like most memoirs he writes of his childhood. For him it was in Cleveland Ohio. His father was a musician and mother a homemaker. His dad had a good sense of humor and used in his act. Joel's mother was very harsh and critical rarely giving any emotional support. Joel was born Joel Katz. As a child he appeared in plays in Cleveland. The [...]

    12. An interesting history not just of Joel Grey's life, but of the forces in society that kept him from expressing who he was - bold and brash in his acting, but hiding his Jewish heritage (Jennifer Grey wasn't the first one in the family to get a nose job) and his sexuality, not coming out as gay until his 80s, for fear of ruining his career or being thrown in prison. I'd be interested to hear the prospective from his wife of 24 years about how their marriage was, because he talks very openly abou [...]

    13. I saw Grey as the MC in the original production of Caberet and, of course, in the movie. He was amazing and frightening. And, as a gay man 10 years his junior, I was interested when he finally came out a few years ago. What was his journey and his story. Master of Ceremonies delivers on both and it is a well done narrative of his life as he sees it. He is honest and owns his faults and his struggles. What was missing for me was any compassion for anyone but himself. His mother, his wife, and oth [...]

    14. What a selfish man! He did his wife a great disservice. He put an end to her career, made her wear clothing he chose over her own choices, insisted they have children before she actually wanted to, and is shocked when he is can't understand why she isn't pleased when he admits to being gay all along (and cheating on her with other gay married men). It was always all about him and his career.

    15. Splendid! Listened to the audiobook, narrated by Joel Grey himself. A very personal look at his professional and private life, his gradual acceptance of himself as a gay man, his stories about "Cabaret", "Dancer in the Dark", "The Normal Heart", etc. A very humble narrative.

    16. Loved this memoir, made even more compelling by the fact that it is read by the author. Complicated and often painful tale of difficult relationships with his parents, a decades-long effort to come to terms with his homosexuality, traditional marriage and family, great success in the theater and movies, and much more. All told in the words and voice of such a warm, open, honest, and totally appealing man.

    17. This popped up as recommended on MO libraries to go and I do like a memoir! Found this one a perfect fit for my cross Missouri drive last week. Interesting enough I had to pay attention, no zoning out. But not so complicated I didn't want to pay attention! I didn't know much about Joel Katz/Gray before starting this book and now am definitely wanting to look up his work.

    18. Surprisingly interesting autobiography of Grey. I was all set to hate this because of how long it took him to come out. I had known that he was gay. He seems very human. He talks of the age that of what it was like—the fear—of coming out. The hidden qualities that one had to keep secret. I thought the way that he spoke of his marriage was interesting.

    19. 3.5 starsListened as a BCDI always enjoy when the author reads their own memoir as he has a great, gravely, old man voice.I had never heard of Joel Grey before and had no idea he was Jennifer Grey’s dad. Fascinatingly terrible look at what a gay man had to live through, and a fascinatingly wonderful career.So much so I had to put Cabaret on hold at the library!

    20. Make Friends with Joel This is a lovely memoir told with wit, candor, and love. Reading that very last page filled me with an aching sadness. I was so sorry to bid adieu to this theatrical legend. I felt as if he had become a dear friend.

    21. I am a long time fan of Mr. Grey and a fellow Clevelander. His story is heartfelt. Enjoyed this very much.

    22. "I know firsthand the power of transformation, that things can, and things do change. A doting mother turns into an antagonist; a wife becomes a stranger; children grow into adults; a husband of a woman finds he loves men; and the horror of a crass vaudevillian becomes the beautiful part of a lifetime."

    23. There's no question that Joel Grey is a remarkably talented man who has contributed a great deal to the american musical. So, of course, I just had to read his recently published memoir "Master of Ceremonies;" (the title comes from the role he played in both the Broadway and film versions of "Cabaret," the musical which made him a superstar.) My feelings about the book are somewhat mixed, but that has more to do with my own tastes than with Joel's writing.This book seems to run along several dif [...]

    24. A tender and entertaining memoirs from one of Broadway's finest. Joel Grey takes us on a journey through his life. Details abound at the beginning as he contends with his parents, his extended family, his burgeoning sexuality. They slip a bit as we dash between the shows and the limelight of his later career. Grey is witty, self-deprecating, and generous with his readers.

    25. My review for the New York Observer starts like this! Love Letter to Joel Grey On the occasion of his memoir,Master of Ceremonies observer/2016/03/a-love-leOTHER TEENAGERS IDOLIZED SWAGGERING ROCKstars, folksy crooners or bad-boy movie stars in well-worn jeans. But my crush sang and danced in tails and women’s lingerie. He had cupid-painted lips, false eyelashes and rouge. My crush, from the moment I saw him in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret, was Joel Grey.I was in high school—my third since we moved [...]

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