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What's Todd Olson reading?


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Todd Olson

Olson is the producing artistic director for American Stage Theatre in St. Petersburg. He received his master of fine arts degree from the University of North Carolina and is a graduate of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. Currently, he is directing Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband for American Stage.

What's on your nightstand?

The books on my nightstand are A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane, Rants and Raves and The Theater of Revolt by Robert Brustein and Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman.

Is Brustein a go-to read for you frequently?

He's a big one when it comes to playwrights, theory, history and criticism. It is hard for me to read a play and not immediately wonder what Brustein thought of it. If I'm working on Hamlet, I go back and read, for example, what he wrote about a Swedish Hamlet, or if I'm preparing for Chekhov, I'll go back and read The Theater of Revolt.

I know American Stage was where Lehane first put on his play Coronado, but what made you revisit him?

I wanted to start from the beginning of Lehane's work as I was acquainted with his stories and films. It's funny, I actually don't read many novels. I read many more plays. I'm getting into how he as a novelist plants seeds early on in the book. I've enjoyed this especially in his detective fiction like Moonlight Mile.

Do you think he should write more plays?

I wish he would. I don't know if he has started yet, but he knows he has a home at American Stage. And we've got a standing offer to adapt Shutter Island to the stage. It is uniquely theatrical, that notion of a madhouse. For me, it's perfectly suited for the stage.

Times staff writer Piper Castillo can be reached at

What's Todd Olson reading? 12/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 3:30am]
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