Introduction & Overview of Side Man

Warren Leight
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Side Man Summary & Study Guide Description

Side Man Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading on Side Man by Warren Leight.

Warren Leight first published his Tony Award—winning play Side Man in 1998 in the United States. Inspired by his own autobiographical experiences in the music industry—his father was a jazz musician—the play also was inspired by the decline of the jazz industry itself. This memory play differs from similar works because the narrator, Clifford, "remembers" back to times before he was even born. Through these flashbacks, Clifford, who also talks directly to the audience members, drawing them into the action, chronicles the life and death of his parents' relationship, a dysfunctional pairing that has had disastrous effects on Clifford's own views of life. The narrative also makes uses of jarring time-and-place shifting effects, as Clifford's story takes the audience back and forth from 1953 to 1985 and to various points in between. These chaotic transitions help to highlight the chaos of Clifford's life and his parents' relationship, as well as their failed dreams and irresponsible behaviors. At the same time, this combined effect helps to underscore the decline and fall of jazz and big band music, beginning in the 1950s as it was replaced by rock and roll and other forms of popular music. Side Man was the work that made Leight famous on Broadway, but in 2003, Leight returned to similar material when he published Glimmer, Glimmer, and Shine, another play about the pitfalls of the jazz life. Side Man is available in a 1998 paperback edition from Grove Press.

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This section contains 240 words
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Drama for Students
Side Man from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.