Vamp Until Ready

James Magruder ’82

Magruder, who holds a doctorate in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism from Yale, is an author and playwright whose résumé includes the book of the 1997 Broadway musical Triumph of Love. His latest work is a novel-length series of connected stories set in and around the Ithaca theater scene from 1980–92—featuring such real-life locales as the Cornell and Ithaca College campuses, the Hangar Theatre, and Simeon’s restaurant. (Alumni and Ithacans of that era will also recognize some bygone local establishments, including Harold’s Army-Navy clothing store and Clever Hans Bakery.) “It’s a tour de force performance, charming and unstrained, in which changes taking place offstage magically reset the narrative, and where the theater, with its state of ‘perpetual panic,’ and Ithaca, with its ‘sprouty culture,’ play roles as important as any character,” says Kirkus, dubbing Magruder’s tale “a pleasant romp deepened by its insights into character.”