Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tom Santopietro

Tom Santopietro is the author of The Importance of Being Barbra, Considering Doris Day (a New York Times Editor’s Choice), Sinatra in Hollywood, and The Godfather Effect: Changing Hollywood, America, and Me. He has worked for the past twenty years in New York theater as a manager of more than two dozen Broadway shows.

His new book is The Sound of Music Story: How A Beguiling Young Novice, A Handsome Austrian Captain, and Ten Singing Von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Santopietro's response:
Right now I’m reading Goodbye: In Search of Gordon Jenkins, written by Jenkins’s son Bruce, a sportswriter who has been twice nominated for a Pulitzer.

Gordon Jenkins was one of Frank Sinatra’s two greatest musical collaborators- the other being Nelson Riddle- and it’s fascinating to read both about Jenkins trying to understand his elusive father, and the nature of Jenkins’s art as composer, conductor, and arranger. It was Jenkins who wrote that 2 a.m. of the soul ballad “Goodbye” which became Benny Goodman’s theme song, and Chris Jenkins’s description of the real life events which inspired his father to write the song is heart rending. Having written a book on Sinatra (Sinatra in Hollywood) I’m really interested in learning how Jenkins and Sinatra came to create their boozy, “set-‘em up Joe” noir masterpieces “All Alone” and “Where Are You.” Both men could be the life of the party while simultaneously carrying extraordinary sadness within them throughout their lives. That dichotomy is beautifully described by Jenkins.

I’m also reading the sprawling (600 plus pages) novel We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. The characters are complex, fascinating, irritating, annoying, and sympathetic in equal measure—in other words they are just like the people we encounter in life.
Visit Tom Santopietro's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Godfather Effect.

--Marshal Zeringue