As Thomas Lask describes: "It is not a collection of anthology pieces, but a sketch of what Whitman, his personality and his life were like. The passionate faith in man, the buoyant egalitarianism, the humanitarian, the mystic and prophet, the man who affirmed the body as well as the soul, who saw old age and death part of the cycle of life, the great yea-sayer are all celebrated in Mr. Shyre's dramatization. He tracks Walt from his early days on Long Island and in Brooklyn, including his affection for New York (he was an early and confirmed Manhattanite) through what was the central experience of his life and that of his generation—the Civil War. Walt's misery as he sits by watching the wounded and dying is movingly conveyed and the graphic account of Lincoln's assassination is easily the high point of the evening. Walt's writing of Leaves of Grass, and what the book meant to him, his illness and decline, and his calm acceptance of death occupy the second half of the evening…" and round out, with poignant effectiveness, this portrait through his own words of one of our most memorable, vital and exultant poets.
A successful Off-Broadway production, drawn from the soaring eloquent writings of the great American poet. Both prose and poetry are included in the dramatization, combining to evoke a touching and honest revelation of Whitman the man, and a vivid picture of the times in which he lived. "Everything about A WHITMAN PORTRAIT is superb…It is a portrait of not only a stirring American poet but of an exultant American nation." —Brooks Atkinson. "…the lines have an inherent dignity and nobility." —NY Times.