"One of the best films I have ever seen about the theater."
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
"One of the year's ten best."
—David Denby, The New Yorker
"Art is a fairy tale we choose to believe in, and this movie, a fiction confected about real people, is too good not to be true."
—The New York Times
Kaplow wrote "Me and Orson Welles" in 1993 and 1994 during one of two sabbaticals he took from teaching. The story is a valentine to his father, Jerome, to whom the book is dedicated. The former Checker Cab Co. executive served as a model for the book's protagonist, Richard Samuels, a 17-year-old senior at Westfield High during the fall of 1937.
As narrated by Samuels over the course of a week, Welles is about to inaugurate his Mercury Theater on Broadway with a production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." The budding director/actor, in a moment of characteristic capriciousness, recruits Samuels off the street to play the bit part of Lucius, a servant of Welles' Brutus. The teenager learns in the action that follows that heroes can have feet of clay; falling in love with a beautiful, ambitious production assistant is hard on the heart; and fame can be a corrupting force. [From a piece by James Poyner published by Salon.]