Ten Thousand Nights

Highlights from 50 Years of Theatre-Going
Marvin Carlson
Relives essential moments and remarkable achievements in modern theatre, from the 1960s to the present


Esteemed scholar and theater aficionado Marvin Carlson has seen an unsurpassed number of theatrical productions in his long and distinguished career. Ten Thousand Nights is a lively chronicle of a half-century of theatre-going, in which Carlson recalls one memorable production for each year from 1960 to 2010.  These are not conventional reviews, but essays using each theater experience to provide an insight into the theater and theatre-going at a particular time.  The range of performances covered is broad, from edgy experimental fare to mainstream musicals, most of them based in New York but with stops at major theater events in Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Milan, and elsewhere. The engagingly written pieces convey a vivid sense not only of each production but also of the particular venue, neighborhood, and cultural context, covering nearly all significant movements, theater artists, and groups of the late twentieth century.  
“Marvin Carlson has probably attended more performances than any other person on the planet . . . One couldn’t ask for a more amiable, passionate, astute, and knowledgeable guide to a rich half­century of work for the stage.”
—Alisa Solomon, Columbia School of Journalism
“The appeal of this book extends far beyond academia . . . To people who work in theatre, it offers an exhilarating excursion through the great achievements of the past half-century; to theatre lovers, a delightful memory palace as well as supplement to our own cherished recollections of great performances; finally, to students and young artists, an inspiring invitation to embark on their own lifelong voyages of artistic discovery.”
—Una Chaudhuri, New York University

“10,000 Nights is the memoir of a journey by the man who may well have seen more performances over half a century than any theater-goer at any time in history.  Carlson begins his story in Kansas c. 1953 in sepia tones, but the Yellow Brick Road he travels for a lifetime bursts into brilliant technicolor as it passes over the rainbow and through multiple genres, styles, venues, nations, and languages.  Follow it with him, and I guarantee that you will meet many unforgettable characters along the way.”
—Joseph Roach, Sterling Professor of Theater, Yale University

“10,000 Nights brings back to life some of the greatest theatre productions of the last five decades. Marvin Carlson has been a passionate theatre goer not only in New York but in London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow as well, witnessing some of the most exciting European productions of the era. Only Marvin Carlson could have written such a wonderful and engaging theatre history.”
—Erika Fischer-Lichte, Freie Universitat Berlin

Marvin Carlson is the Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies at the City University of New York and director of the Marvin Carlson Theatre Center at the Shanghai Theatre Academy.  His many influential books have been translated into fifteen languages.

Praise / Awards

  • "Carlson's descriptive evocations of these long past, ephemeral experiences are enjoyably lucid, jargon-free and densely informative without being stodgy."
    --Times Literary Supplement

Look Inside

News, Reviews, Interviews

Watch: Marvin Carlson speaking at the Segal Center Link | 12/6/2017

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 288pp.
  • 6 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2017
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-13050-4

Add to Cart
  • $44.95 U.S.

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