His Life and Legacy to the American Theater
Washingtonian magazine called Gilbert V. Hartke one of the five most powerful men in Washington, D.C. He was at once a flamboyant showman, respected statesman, and devout Dominican priest. The day after his death in February 1986, the Washington Post mourned him with a moving editorial and a full-page obituary that declared, "Father Hartke was a figure of legendary stature in the Washington theater community, but his influence and reputation extended far beyond. . . ."
In this long-awaited biography, Mary Jo Santo Pietro chronicles Father Hartke's experiences and endless achievements by combining his own stories, taped weekly during the last year of his life, with stories told by friends, colleagues, and celebrities. The book offers an inside look at major theatrical and political events in the nation's capital from the 1930s through the 1980s, and also uncovers the complex and paradoxical character of the man known as the "White House priest" and "Show Biz priest."
Father Hartke founded and for thirty-seven years headed the famed Speech and Drama Department at the Catholic University of America. It was the first of its kind at an American Catholic college, and it shaped dozens of Oscar, Tony, and Pulitzer prize-winning actors, directors, and playwrights. Hartke founded America's oldest classical touring company, wrote five full-length plays, directed more than seventy plays, sent nine productions to Broadway, and received numerous honorary doctorates and awards. He was a presidential envoy to several countries, a member of the first National Council on the Arts, and a leader in the campaigns to end racial discrimination in Washington's theaters, to build the Kennedy Center, and to construct the CUA theater that now bears his name.
Mary Jo Santo Pietro is associate professor of speech-language pathology at Kean University.
"Rev. Gilbert V. Hartke was a character for all seasons . . . [His] legacy became global. . . . [This book] truly is a history of Washington theater, as seen through the prism of Hartke's involvement and advocacy. Carefully researched and exhaustively written, it collects and keeps alive the progress made in the performing arts here during much of the last century."—The Washington Times
"intriguing. . . . The anecdotes from Hartke and his former students provide snap and sizzle."—Library Journal
"A revelation even for those who knew the priest, and a fascinating read for anyone interested in headliners."—The Catholic Standard
"Santo Pietro has shaped the life lived into a story told, and told with coherence, balance, and objectivity. . . ."—Commonweal
"Santo Pietro offers a lively testimonial to a man she deeply revered. Her abundant research has produced a detailed document of the joy, the boldness, and the faith of one of the most colorful adventurers of the American Catholic culture."—America
"An extraordinarily well-researched and interestingly told story of a monumental man, an outstanding priest, an important practitioner of the theatre, and a complex, fascinating and remarkable individual. Santo Pietro has created a lively saga of theatre in the national capitol during the middle of the 20th century."—Prof. Donn B. Murphy, Georgetown University; President, The National Theatre
"Fr. Hartke was one of the most dynamic men I have ever met. He is 'alive and well' in these pages."—Ed McMahon, actor, CUA graduate
"Santo Pietro has well captured the life and spirit of Fr. Hartke, one of the most colorful figures in the history of the Catholic University of America. His deep faith, theatrical talent, generosity and capacity for friendship will be delightfully remembered in this gracefully written biography."—Rev. Msgr. Robert Paul Mohan, professor emeritus, CUA
"A loving, celebrity-st
Other Titles in RELIGION / Christian Church / History
Other Titles in Church history