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Nelson Algren Live (2016)

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Willem Dafoe stars in NELSON ALGREN LIVE, a performance of some of Nelson Algren's greatest and least known works, performed live at the Steppenwolf theatre in Algren's hometown, Chicago.


Oscar Bucher



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Credited cast:
Russell Banks ... Narrator
Willem Dafoe ... Role1 / Frankie Machine / Role2 / Blackie Cavanaugh
Don DeLillo ... Max
Barry Gifford ... Nelson Algren
Rick Kogan Rick Kogan ... Studs Terkel
Martha Lavey Martha Lavey ... Simone de Beauvoir
Randall Newsome ... Doc
Kathy Scambiatterra ... Rose
Dan Simon Dan Simon ... 'Shag' Donohue


One of the most neglected American writers and also one of the best loved, novelist Nelson Algren wrote about the dark underbelly of post-war America before it was ever fashionable to do so. He wrote about Chicago, his Chicago, the city, the corruption, the crime and the characters lost among its neon wilderness. Best known for the novel The Man with the Golden Arm, which later became a film starring Frank Sinatra, Algren was a bard of the down-and-outer, boldly depicting the life of the city's drunks, pimps, prostitutes, drug addicts, corrupt politicians, hoodlums and prize fighters. But despite his incredible body of work, much of Algren's writing has yet to be discovered by new generations. On what would have been his 100th birthday, a group of writers and actors gathered at the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theater in Algren's hometown Chicago to premiere... Nelson Algren Live --a celebration of Algren's life and work in his own words. This staged reading stars Willem Dafoe as ...

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Release Date:

4 June 2016 (USA) See more »

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Nelson Algren Lives.
8 January 2017 | by cmsl-30234See all my reviews

Fascinating piece. A great journey through the guts of America, Nelson Algren's America. Poetry comes crushing down the silence via the voices of some of the great living writers of our time: Barry Gifford, a unique voice in American word sculpting along with a true giant, Willem Dafoe. A great place to start to dig into the life of on of the most underrated American authors; Nelson Algren Live is a true labor of love and a great way of celebrating the memory of a man who was not against sentimentality. Director Oscar Bucher steps right in striking all the right notes and hovers above the fascinating music of the words of nelson Algren. Barry Gifford's way of striking those notes, as a magnificent conspirator with his fellow men, takes us to that place in time into a grim world whose dark corners reflect the frail souls of the underworld, but with great dignity. This is an invaluable document that must be seen. Long live Nelson Algren and may his voice resonate for a long time to come. Thumbs way up!

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