The Astaires: Fred & Adele By Kathleen Riley


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Before Fred & Ginger, there was another famous pair...

Fred & Adele
By Kathleen Riley

(Oxford | March 15, 2012 | Hardcover | 272 pages | $27.95 | ISBN: 9780199738410)

Advanced Praise:

“Riley writes with zest and authoritative expertise, displaying a grace and elegance equal to her subjects. Her scholarly skills are showcased in this effervescent, spirited history..." —Publishers Weekly

“A fascinating look at a movie icon and a revealing snapshot of theater history." —Booklist

“Although I was extremely close to both my father and my aunt, in this informative book Kathleen Riley has captured the essence of their lovely spirits far better than I could." —Ava Astaire McKenzie

“With this book, Kathleen Riley has given Adele her proper place in the life and legacy of her brother. Recreating a time when 'celebrity' meant talent, charisma and dedication with her evocative prose, this book is a 'must' for Astaire and musical theatre history fans."

—Larry Billman, author Fred Astaire: A Bio-Bibliography and Film Choreographers and Dance Directors

“We are so accustomed to thinking of 'Astaire' teamed up with 'Rogers' that we overlook Astaire's stage career with sister Adele. That story is told with elegance and authority in Kathleen Riley's enthralling, thoroughly researched The Astaires, a book that sheds further light on an important period in Fred Astaire's pre-screen career."

—Peter Evans, Emeritus Professor of Film Studies, Queen Mary, University of London

“Of the many books on Fred Astaire, this is the most unique. Focusing on Fred's amazing partnership with his sister, Adele, Kathleen Riley has produced a work of remarkable depth and nuanced detail."

—Ken Barnes, Writer and Producer

Nothing short of a spectacular, one-one-of-a-kind performance could warrant such critical acclaim as “Nothing like them since the Flood." Yet this kind of praise was typical for Fred and Adele Astaire. The panache-filled and talent-exuding Adele and her disciplined,—and eventually—polished younger brother danced their way through sensational shows all across the globe. Theater historian Kathleen Riley brilliantly tells the story of the Astaires' journey to theatrical stardom in her new book, THE ASTAIRES: Fred & Adele (Oxford | March 15, 2012).

THE ASTAIRES chronicles the theatrical careers of dance legends Fred and Adele Astaire, from their humble Midwestern beginnings as child stars, to Broadway and beyond. Riley explains that from the start, Adele was a natural performer with a commanding personality on stage. Fred on the other hand, required years of disciplined rehearsals to achieve the suave, effortless talents that he became known for later in his career. Drawing on exclusive primary-source and unpublished materials that are supplemented by dozens of photographs within the book, Riley details the duo's eventual rise to adoration the world over.

In THE ASTAIRES, Riley shows the incredible impact that the Astaires had on their art. For example, the Gershwins crafted their musicals to fit the dance style of Fred and Adele. Riley shows their impact on musical theater history, as evident, for example, in the fact that their performances were held as a standard for entertainers.

Though the siblings eventually went their separate ways—Adele married into British royalty while Fred continued to pursue a dancing and film—Riley shows that the prestigious dance career of Fred and Adele Astaire was not merely a prelude to Fred's illustrious legacy. As Riley expertly shows in THE ASTAIRES, together Fred and Adele Astaire made an immeasurable and lasting impact on American musical theater.

About the Author:

Born in Australia and educated at Sydney and Oxford Universities, Kathleen Riley is a classical scholar and modern theater historian. She is the author of Nigel Hawthorne on Stage and The Reception and Performance of Euripides' Heakles: Reasoning Madness. At Oxford in 2008 she convened the first international conference on the art and legacy of Fred Astaire.


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