I Will Be Cleopatra by Zoe Caldwell (awwwe...a girl after my own heart)
"An affecting, inspiring memoir, I Will Be Cleopatra serves as an indispensable guide for any reader who wishes to gain a clearer insight into Shakespearean theater, and will be one of the most vital books for actors and theater lovers for years to come.
This is a riveting account of a determined yet modest woman who became one of the leading classical and Broadway actors of our time, working with such luminaries as Paul Robeson, Laurence Olivier, and Tennessee Williams. Born the daughter of a plumber and a taxi dancer in Australia at the height of the Great Depression, young Zoe Caldwell first appeared on the stage at the age of nine in Melbourne in Peter Pan. So dyslexic that acting was the only way she felt she could communicate, Caldwell became a tried and true professional by the age of fourteen, performing on the radio. Soon she was playing roles under the legendary Elsie Beyer, who sent her to Stratford-on-Avon where she began a Shakespearean career that would culminate in her portrayal of Cleopatra, the Bard's greatest female role. "The Best Theater Book of the Year...touching and wise—and very unpretentious."—New York Observer "Hers is a vision for not only actors to ponder but anyone longing for greatness in this ancient art."—Arthur Miller "[C]lean, direct and magnificent. This is a book anyone even remotely interested in the theatre will insist on reading."—Terrence McNally, author of Corpus Christi "Caldwell's] book, like her acting, holds your attention from first to last, and again and again rewards it."