Shaffer, Peter 1926–
Shaffer, Peter 1926–
(Peter Anthony, a joint pseudonym, Peter Levin Shaffer)
PERSONAL: Born May 15, 1926, in Liverpool, England; son of Jack (a real estate agent) and Reka (Fredman) Shaffer. Education: Trinity College, Cambridge, B.A., 1950. Politics: "Conservative anarchist." Religion: Humanist. Hobbies and other interests: Music, architecture.
ADDRESSES: Home—173 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10024-1615. Office—The Lantz Office, 888 7th Ave., Ste. 2500, New York, NY 10010-6000. Agent—c/o McNaughton-Lowe Representation, 200 Fulham Rd., SW10, England.
CAREER: Playwright and critic. Worked in the New York Public Library, New York, NY, 1951–54, and for Boosey & Hawkes (music publishers), London, England, 1954–55; literary critic for Truth, 1956–57; music critic for Time and Tide, 1961–62. Military service: Served as a conscript in coal mines in England, 1944–47.
MEMBER: Royal Society of Literature (fellow), Dramatists Guild, Garrick Club (London).
AWARDS, HONORS: Evening Standard Drama Award, 1958, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 1960, both for Five Finger Exercise; Antoinette Perry Award (Tony) for Best Play, Outer Critics Circle Award, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, all 1975, all for Equus; Tony Award, 1981, and best play of the year award from Plays and Players, both for Amadeus; New York Film Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and Academy Award of Merit (Oscar) from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, all 1984, all for screenplay adaptation of Amadeus; named Commander of the British Empire, 1987; Evening Standard Drama Award for Best Comedy, 1988, for Lettice and Lovage: A Comedy; Hamburg Shakespeare Prize, 1989; William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre, 1992; knighted by the Queen of England, 2001.
Five Finger Exercise (produced on the West End, London, England, at the Comedy Theatre, July 16, 1958; produced on Broadway, New York, NY, at the Music Box Theater, December 2, 1959; also see below), Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1958, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1959.
The Private Ear [and] The Public Eye (two one-acts; produced on the West End, London, England, at the Globe Theatre, May 10, 1962; produced on Broadway, New York, NY, at the Morosco Theater, October 9, 1963; also see below), Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1962, Stein & Day (Briarcliff Manor, NY), 1964.
The Merry Rooster's Panto, produced on the West End, London, England, at Wyndham's Theatre, December, 1963.
The Royal Hunt of the Sun: A Play Concerning the Conquest of Peru (produced by the National Theater Company at the Chichester Festival, Chichester, England, July 7, 1964; produced on Broadway, New York, NY, at the ANTA Theatre, October 26, 1965), Samuel French (London, England), 1964, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1965.
Black Comedy (one-act; produced by the National Theatre Company at the Chichester Festival, Chichester, England, July 27, 1965 [also see below], produced on Broadway, New York, NY, at the Ethel Barrymore Theater with White Lies [also see below], February 12, 1967; produced on the West End, London, England, at the Lyric Theatre as Black Comedy [and] The White Liars [also see below], 1968), Samuel French (New York, NY), 1967.
A Warning Game, produced in New York, NY, 1967.
The White Liars, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1967.
Black Comedy [and] White Lies, Stein & Day (New York, NY), 1967, published as The White Liars [and] Black Comedy, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1968, published as The White Liars and Black Comedy: Two One-Act Plays, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1995.
It's about Cinderella, produced in London, England, 1969.
Equus (produced by the National Theatre Company on the West End, London, England, at the Old Vic Theatre, July 26, 1973; produced on Broadway, New York, NY, at the Plymouth Theater, October 24, 1974; also see below), Deutsch (London, England), 1973, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1974.
Shrivings (three-act; produced on the West End, London, England, at the Lyric Theatre as The Battle of Shrivings, February 5, 1970; also see below), Deutsch (London, England), 1974.
Equus [and] Shrivings, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1974.
Three Plays (contains Five Finger Exercise, Shrivings, and Equus), Penguin (New York, NY), 1976.
Four Plays (contains The Private Ear, The Public Eye, White Liars, and Black Comedy), Penguin (New York, NY), 1981.
Amadeus (produced on the West End, London, England, by the National Theatre Company at the Olivier Theatre, November 2, 1979; produced on Broadway, New York, NY, at the Broadhurst Theater, December 17, 1980; also see below), Deutsch, 1980, Harper (New York, NY), 1981, published as Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, with an introduction by Sir Peter Hall and a new preface by Shaffer, Perennial (New York, NY), 2001.
Collected Plays of Peter Shaffer, Crown (New York, NY), 1982.
Yonadab: The Watcher, produced on the West End, London, England, by the National Theatre Company at the Olivier Theatre, December 4, 1985, published as Yonadab: A Play, Harper (New York, NY), 1988.
Lettice and Lovage: A Comedy (produced on the West End, London, England, at the Globe Theatre, 1987; produced on Broadway, New York, NY, at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, March 25, 1990), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1990.
The Gift of the Gorgon: A Play (produced at the Barbican, 1992), Viking (New York, NY), 1993.
NOVELS; WITH BROTHER, ANTHONY SHAFFER
(Under joint pseudonym Peter Anthony) Woman in the Wardrobe, Evans Brothers (London, England), 1951.
(Under joint pseudonym Peter Anthony) How Doth the Little Crocodile?, Evans Brothers (London, England), 1952, published under names Peter Shaffer and Anthony Shaffer, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1957.
Withered Murder, Gollancz (London, England), 1955, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1956.
(With Peter Brook) Lord of the Flies, Walter Reade, 1963.
The Pad (and How to Use It) (adaptation of The Private Ear), Universal, 1966.
Follow Me!, Universal, 1971.
The Public Eye (based on Shaffer's play of the same title), Universal, 1972.
Equus (based on Shaffer's play of the same title), United Artists, 1977.
Amadeus (based on Shaffer's play of the same title), Orion Pictures, 1984, released as Amadeus: Director's Cut on DVD, with commentary by Shaffer and Milos Forman, Warner Home Video, 2002.
The Salt Land (television play), Independent Television Network (London, England), 1955.
The Prodigal Father (radio play), British Broadcasting Corp. (London, England), 1955.
Balance of Terror (television play), British Broadcasting Corp. (London, England), 1957.
(Editor) Elisabeth Frink Sculpture: Catalogue Raisonne, Trafalgar Square (London, England), 1988.
Whom Do I Have the Honor of Addressing?, Deutsch (London, England), 1990.
Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Theatre Arts, Atlantic, Encore, and Sunday Times.
ADAPTATIONS: Five Finger Exercise was filmed by Columbia Pictures in 1962; The Royal Hunt of the Sun: A Play Concerning the Conquest of Peru was filmed by CBS's Cinema Center Films.
SIDELIGHTS: "Whatever else Peter Shaffer may lack, it isn't courage, it isn't derring-do. His plays traverse the centuries and the globe, raising questions that have perplexed minds from Job to Samuel Beckett," Benedict Nightingale wrote in the New York Times. Shaffer examines the conflict between atheism and religion in The Royal Hunt of the Sun: A Play Concerning the Conquest of Peru; the nature of sanity and insanity in modern society in Equus; the role of genius in Amadeus; and Old Testament ethics in Yonadab: The Watcher. These epic plays are always a visual spectacle, but some critics have felt that Shaffer's spectacles mask superficial stories. Newsweek contributor Jack Kroll characterized the typical Shaffer play as "a large-scale, large-voiced treatment of large themes, whose essential superficiality is masked by a skillful theatricality reinforced by … extraordinary acting." Despite such criticism, Shaffer's plays are enormously popular—both Equus and Amadeus had Broadway runs of more than 1,000 performances each.
Shaffer's first major success was The Royal Hunt of the Sun, based on Francisco Pizarro's sixteenth-century expedition to the Incan Empire of Peru. To force the In-can people to give him the gold he desired, Pizarro took their leader, Atahuallpa, prisoner. But Atahuallpa refused to concede defeat and the resulting battle between Pizarro's forces and the Incan Indians proved disastrous for his people. In the ensuing battle, Atahuallpa is killed, but Pizarro had befriended the Incan leader. When Atahuallpa dies, Pizarro renounces Catholicism to adopt the Incan religion.
The Royal Hunt of the Sun is considered unique because of its historical subject and its stylized theatrical techniques, including mime and adaptations of Japanese Kabuki theater. To enhance the visual spectacle of the play, Shaffer specified that the Indians wear dramatic Inca funeral masks during Atahuallpa's death scene; many in the audience later claimed to have seen the masks change expression during the production. "They hadn't, of course," Shaffer told Richard Schickel in Time. "But the audience invested so much emotion in the play that it looked as if they had."
Despite this positive emotional response from audiences, some critics felt the play's language and theatrical devices are not effective. Drama's Ronald Hayman thought that Shaffer borrows from so many different traditions and uses so many theatrical devices that "instead of unifying to contribute to the same effect, the various elements make their effects separately and some of them are superfluous and distracting." Warren Sylvester Smith in the Dictionary of Literary Biography indicated that the language "sometimes fail[s] to achieve the magnitude of the characters or to match the scope of the events." And Hayman faulted the dialogue for being "lustreless, tumbling into cliches and even pleonasms like 'trapped in time's cage' when nothing less than poetry would take the strain Shaffer is putting on it."
But other critics, and many playgoers, had a more generous response to The Royal Hunt of the Sun. These reviewers mentioned that the elaborate sets and costumes, the epic story, and the innovative rendition of history were exciting additions to the contemporary dramatic scene. John Russell Taylor wrote in Peter Shaffer that as a "piece of sheer theatrical machinery the play is impeccable." He concluded that The Royal Hunt of the Sun is "at once a spectacular drama and a thinkpiece."
In Shaffer's 1973 play, Equus, he confronts the question of sanity in the modern world. Despite its morbid focus, Equus was so well-liked that the opening-night Broadway audience gave it a five-minute standing ovation. "It's never happened to me before," Shaffer told Schickel. "I cry every time I think about it." Shaffer got the idea for Equus from a newspaper report of a boy who blinded several horses in a north England stable. He only used the boy's act of blinding the horses, the rest of the play is his creation.
The play revolves around psychiatrist Martin Dysart's treatment of the boy, Alan Strang, for the offense he committed. During his examination of the boy, Dysart discovers that Strang is a pagan who believes that horses are gods. When a stable girl attempts to seduce him in front of the horses, Strang is impotent. In frustrated rage that they have seen his failure, Strang blinds the horses. Dysart tries to treat him in a conventional manner, but eventually finds that he prefers Strang's primitive passion to his own rational, controlled personality. Brendan Gill noted in the New Yorker that Dysart "poses questions that go beyond the sufficiently puzzling matter of the boy's conduct to the infinitely puzzling matter of why, in a world charged with insanity, we should seek to 'cure' anyone in the name of sanity."
Equus brought complaints from some reviewers who argued that it superficially portrays insanity and psychoanalysis. Equus, John Simon suggested in New York, "falls into that category of worn-out whimsy wherein we are told that insanity is more desirable, admirable, or just saner than sanity." Commentary contributor Jack Richardson stated that Equus seems to be a "perfect case-study in the mediocrity of insight necessary nowadays for a play to enjoy a popular reputation for profundity." Simon concluded that no "amount of external embellishment can overcome the hollowness within."
Shaffer's next play, Amadeus, is based on the life of eighteenth-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Richard Christiansen of the Chicago Tribune believed that the characters in Amadeus and Equus are similar, remarking that "here again, as in Equus, an older, learned man of the world is struck and amazed by the wild inspiration of a much younger man who seemingly is possessed with divine madness." The older man in Amadeus is Antonio Salieri, portrayed as a second-rate composer who is consumed by jealousy because of the young Mozart's greater talent.
Shaffer became interested in the rivalry between Mozart and Salieri upon reading material about Mozart's mysterious death. Shaffer at first suspected that Salieri might have murdered the composer, but further research proved this to be wrong. "But by then the cold eyes of Salieri were staring at me," Shaffer told Roland Gelatt in the Saturday Review. "The conflict between virtuous mediocrity and feckless genius took hold of my imagination, and it would not leave me alone."
In Amadeus, Salieri has made a bargain with God. He is to remain pious in return for being made the most popular composer of his time. As court composer in Vienna, Salieri is satisfied that his bargain with God has been kept. But then Mozart arrives at the court, playing music Salieri considers to be the finest he has ever heard. And in contrast to Salieri's piety, Mozart is a moral abomination—a bastard, a womanizer, and an abrasive man with a scatological sense of humor. Salieri feels cheated and angry, and begins to sabotage Mozart's budding career by spreading rumors about him. These rumors, along with Mozart's contentious personality, serve to ostracize him from polite society and cause him to lose his pupils. Eventually Mozart becomes ill and dies, and the play asks whether he was killed by Salieri or died from natural causes.
"Amadeus … is about the ravaging of genius by mediocrity," Robert Brustein wrote in the New Republic. Some critics believed Shaffer handled his material in much the same manner, charging him with a superficial portrayal of Mozart's life. Brustein argued that "at the same time that the central character—a second-rate kapellmeister named Antonio Salieri—is plotting against the life and reputation of a superior composer named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a secondary playwright named Peter Shaffer is reducing this genius, one of the greatest artists of all time, to the level of a simpering, braying ninny."
Despite complaints from reviewers, audiences received Amadeus enthusiastically, and it played in many European cities. Bernard Levin, writing in the London Times, summed up the feelings of many theatergoers by writing that "those who go to [Amadeus] prepared to understand what it is about will have an experience that far transcends even its considerable value as drama." Impressed with the play's serious intentions, Gelatt wrote that "Amadeus gives heartening evidence that there is still room for the play of ideas." Perhaps Shaffer's most famous work is the screenplay adaptation of Amadeus, written in collaboration with director Milos Forman and producer Saul Zaentz. This 1984 film won several Academy Awards, including best screenplay adaptation and best picture of the year.
Amadeus was filmed with Shaffer's characteristic visual spectacle in the centuries-old cathedrals and churches of Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). Geoff Brown commented in the London Times on the ambience of the production, writing that "so many films lie on the screen today looking shrivelled or inert; Amadeus sits there resplendent, both stately and supple, a compelling, darkly comic story of human glory and human infamy."
In December of 1985, Shaffer's play Yonadab: The Watcher opened to mixed reviews. Based on the Old Testament account of King David's reign in ancient Jerusalem, the play focuses on court hanger-on Yonadab, who believes an ancient superstition that incest committed between members of the royal family promotes wisdom in government. He convinces Amnon, King David's son, to rape his own sister, Tamar. Commenting on the strikingly different subject matter of this play, Shaffer told Higgins: "I never want to repeat myself, so it is essential to come up in a different place every time."
Although some critics expressed many of the same complaints about Yonadab: The Watcher that they had about previous Shaffer plays—historical inaccuracies, superficial treatment of theme, lack of character development—Shaffer remained undaunted. Dan Sullivan reported in the Los Angeles Times that Shaffer told the Associated Press's Matt Wolf: "Audiences are very excited by the play; that's the main thing."
Audience reaction to 1987's Lettice and Lovage: A Comedy was also positive. Wolf wrote in the Chicago Tribune that the play, "an overtly commercial, out-and-out comedy," was winning "nightly bravos and may even get an award or two." Shaffer wrote the play as a gift for actress Maggie Smith, who starred in his earlier work Black Comedy and played the lead role of Lettice, a middle-aged woman and would-be actress who finds herself working as a tour guide in an English mansion. To make her job more interesting, Lettice makes up stories about what happened in the house. "The play is a bitingly funny satire on English attitudes towards their national heritage," David Sheward noted in Back Stage; mixed in with the humor, "serious points are made on the British penchant for worshipping the past and yet destroying great architectural landmarks and replacing them with ugly, modern skyscrapers."
Like many of Shaffer's earlier plays, and in sharp contrast to the comedy of Lettice and Lovage, The Gift of the Gorgon is a serious, philosophical work that "asks more questions than it answers," as Sam Abel wrote in Theatre Journal. "The Gift of the Gorgon, like its predecessors," Abel continued, "is essentially a mystery story, where the plot revolves around the discovery of the motivations behind a horrible crime, but where the 'whodunnit' aspect of the story is ultimately subsumed within larger moral and psychological issues." In this play, the crime is the death of playwright Edward Damson, who fell—or was pushed—off of a cliff near his retirement home on a Greek island. After he dies, his illegitimate son, who never met his father, asks Edward's wife Helen if she can help him write a biography of his father. The play then unfolds through flashbacks, as Helen describes Edward's life to his son.
The Gift of the Gorgon opened in London with a stellar cast, including Michael Pennington as Edward and Judi Dench as Helen, and their performances were widely praised. The tension in the play comes from their love-hate relationship, which is based on the attraction of opposites. Edward is a flamboyant playwright who sees the world through the prism of Greek tragedy, with its emphasis on the redemptive potential of vengeance. Helen, on the other hand, is a meeker academic who puts her faith in reason and mercy. In the play's Greek frame of reference, Edward personifies the Dionysian hero Perseus and Helen, the Apollonian goddess Athena. The Gift of the Gorgon "is drenched in stage blood, Greek mythology and high rhetoric about creativity, violence and justice," Christopher Porterfield wrote in Time, and "once again, Shaffer somehow makes riveting drama out of it all."
The fact that audiences are excited by Shaffer's plays is a testament to his popularity and staying power. Smith concluded that though Shaffer is sometimes slighted by critics, "none of [his] imputed failings has inhibited the lines at the box office or deterred serious theatergoers from expressing gratitude for the revitalization [he] has brought to contemporary drama."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia, 3rd edition, Harper (New York, NY), 1987.
Brustein, Robert, The Third Theatre, Knopf (New York, NY), 1969.
Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography, Volume 8, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991.
Contemporary Dramatists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 5, 1976; Volume 14, 1980; Volume 18, 1981; Volume 37, 1986; Volume 60, 1990.
Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 13, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1995.
Cooke, Virginia, and Malcolm Page, editors, File on Shaffer, Methuen (London, England), 1987.
Crystal, David, editor, Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1998.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 13: British Dramatists since World War II, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1982.
Drama Criticism, Volume 7, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, 3rd edition, Volume 4, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Gianakaris, C. J., Peter Shaffer, Macmillan (London, England), 1992.
Kamm, Anthony, Biographical Companion to Literature in English, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 1997.
Klein, Dennis A., Peter Shaffer, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1979.
Lumley, Frederick, New Trends in Twentieth-Century Drama, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1967.
MacMurraugh-Kavanagh, M. K., Peter Shaffer: Theatre and Drama, Macmillan (London, England), 1998.
Magill, Frank N., Critical Survey of Drama, revised edition, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1994.
Magill, Frank N., Cyclopedia of World Authors, 3rd edition revised, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1997.
McCrindle, J. F., editor, Behind the Scenes, Holt (New York, NY), 1971.
Modern British Literature, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Ousby, Ian, The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1988.
Parry, Melanie, Chambers Biographical Dictionary, 6th edition, Larousse (New York, NY), 1997.
Plunka, Gene A., Peter Shaffer: Roles, Rites and Rituals in the Theater, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Teaneck, NJ), 1988.
Reference Guide to English Literature, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1991.
Taylor, John Russell, Anger and After, Methuen (London, England), 1962.
Taylor, John Russell, Peter Shaffer, Longman (London, England), 1974.
Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1991.
Wynne-Davies, Marion, editor, Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, Prentice-Hall (New York, NY), 1990.
America, January 24, 1981, Catharine Hughes, review of Amadeus, p. 62; October 13, 1984, Richard A. Blake, review of Amadeus, p. 210; April 21, 1990, Thomas P. O'Malley, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 410; January 29, 1994, Joseph J. Feeney, review of The Gift of the Gordon, pp. 23-26.
American Scholar, winter, 1992, review of Amadeus, p. 49.
Back Stage, December 25, 1981, Jennie Schulman, review of The Public Eye and The Private Ear, p. 108; March 30, 1990, David Sheward, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 48; January 29, 1993, Roy Sander, review of The Gift of the Gorgon, p. 41; July 16, 1993, Rob Stevens, review of Equus, section W, p. 8; September 10, 1993, Martin Schaeffer, review of Black Comedy and White Liars, p. 44.
Back Stage West, April 21, 1994, Rob Stevens, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 9; May 30, 1996, Lesley Jacobs, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 21; June 25, 1998, Charlene Baldridge, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 15; July 9, 1998, Paul Birchall, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 13; January 28, 1999, Judy Richter, review of Amadeus, p. 14; February 28, 2002, Les Spindle, review of Black Comedy, p. 29.
Booklist, March 15, 1960, review of Five Finger Exercise; November 15, 1974, review of Equus and Shrivings, p. 315; April 15, 1981, review of Amadeus, p. 1135; March 15, 1983, review of The Collected Plays of Peter Shaffer, p. 942; June 1, 1990, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 1871.
Bookmark, November, 1959, review of Five Finger Exercise.
British Book News, September, 1980, review of Amadeus, p. 563; September, 1981, review of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, p. 521.
Chicago Tribune, March 7, 1983; September 19, 1984; November 15, 1987, Matt Wolf, review of Lettice and Lovage.
Choice, March, 1975, review of Equus and Shrivings, p. 78; September, 1981, review of Amadeus, p. 1135.
Classical and Modern Literature, summer, 1995, review of The Gift of the Gorgon, p. 345.
Commentary, February, 1975, Jack Richardson, review of Equus.
Commonweal, April 25, 1975; June 15, 1990, Gerald Weales, review of Lettice and Lovage, pp. 388-389.
Comparative Drama, summer, 1998, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 145.
Drama, autumn, 1970; autumn, 1977, review of White Liars, p. 80; January, 1980; autumn, 1981, review of The Royal Hunt of the Sun and Four Plays, p. 51.
Encounter, January, 1975, review of Shrivings and Equus, p. 65.
Film Comment, September-October, 1984; January-February, 1985.
Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), June 13, 1987.
Guardian, August 6, 1973.
Harper's, July, 1981.
Hollywood Reporter, April 8, 2002, David Hunter, review of Amadeus: Director's Cut, p. 18; September 26, 2002, Glenn Abel, review of Amadeus: Director's Cut, p. 57.
Hudson Review, summer, 1967.
Kliatt Paperback Book Guide, fall, 1981, review of Amadeus, p. 29.
Library Journal, January 15, 1960, review of Five Finger Exercise; April 1, 1981, review of Amadeus, p. 811.
Listener, February 12, 1970; December 12, 1985.
Los Angeles Times, December 5, 1982, Martin Bernheimer, review of Amadeus, p. 63; December 10, 1982, Dan Sullivan, review of Amadeus, p. 1; September 16, 1983, Dan Sullivan, review of Amadeus, p. 1; September 19, 1984, Sheila Benson, review of Amadeus, p. 1; October 6, 1984, Charles Champlin, review of Amadeus, p. 1.
Maclean's, October 1, 1984, Mark Czarnecki, review of Amadeus, p. 83; May 28, 1990, Patricia Hluchy and Brian D. Johnson, review of Lettice and Lovage, pp. 62-63.
Manchester Guardian, February 20, 1959, Gerard Fay, review of Five Finger Exercise, p. 5.
Modern Drama, September, 1978; March, 1985.
Monthly Film Bulletin, January, 1985.
Nation, February 27, 1967; January 17, 1981, Stephen Harvey, review of Amadeus, pp. 59-60; May 7, 1990, Thomas M. Disch, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 644.
National Review, October 19, 1984, John Simon, review of Amadeus, pp. 56-57.
New Leader, February 27, 1967; January 26, 1981, Leo Sauvage, review of Amadeus, pp. 17-18.
New Republic, January 17, 1981, Robert Brustein, review of Amadeus, pp. 62-63; October 22, 1984, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Amadeus, pp. 30-32.
New Statesman, February 13, 1970; April 25, 1985, John Coleman, review of Amadeus, p. 37; July 5, 1985, Andrew Rissik, review of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, p. 35; December 13, 1985, Benedict Nightingale, review of Yonadab, pp. 31-32.
New Statesman & Society, December 11, 1992, Kate Bassett, review of The Gift of the Gorgon, pp. 32-33.
Newsweek, February 20, 1967; November 4, 1974; December 29, 1980, T.E. Kalem, review of Amadeus, p. 57; September 20, 1984, David Ansen, review of Amadeus, p. 85; April 2, 1990, Jack Kroll, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 54.
New York, November 11, 1974, John Simon, review of Equus; September 24, 1984, David Denby, review of Amadeus, pp. 93-95; April 9, 1990, John Simon, review of Lettice and Lovage, pp. 102-103; September 6, 1993, John Simon, review of Black Comedy and White Liars, p. 63.
New Yorker, February 25, 1967; November 4, 1974; March 10, 1980; December 29, 1980, Brendan Gill, review of Amadeus, p. 54; October 29, 1984, Pauline Kael, review of Amadeus, pp. 122-123; April 9, 1990, Edith Oliver, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 80; September 13, 1993, Edith Oliver, review of Black Comedy, p. 120.
New York Times, September 29, 1968; December 23, 1979; December 18, 1980, Frank Rich, review of Amadeus, p. 21, section C, p. 16; January 4, 1981, Walter Kerr, review of Amadeus, section D, p. 3; March 2, 1980, Harold C. Schonberg, review of Amadeus, section D, p. 21; June 1, 1982, Frank Rich, review of Amadeus, p. 24, section C, p. 10; September 16, 1984; September 19, 1984, Vincent Canby, review of Amadeus, p. 22, section C, p. 23; September 23, 1984, Donal Henehan, review of Amadeus, section H, p. 1; December 22, 1985, Benedict Nightingale, review of Yonadab, section H, p. 5; February 13, 1987; November 22, 1987, Benedict Nightingale, review of Lettice and Lovage, section H, p. 5; March 26, 1990, Frank Rich, review of Lettice and Lovage, section B, p. 1, section C, p. 11; December 23, 1992, Frank Rich, review of The Gift of the Gorgon, section B, p. 3, section C, p. 9; September 2, 1993, Ben Brantley, review of White Liars and Black Comedy, section B, p. 3, section C, p. 13; December 16, 1999, Ben Brantley, review of Amadeus, section B, p. 1, section E, p. 1; January 16, 2000, Vincent Canby, review of Amadeus, section AR, p. 7; September 27, 2002, Peter M. Nichols, review of Amadeus: Director's Cut, section B, p. 23, section E, p. 25.
New York Times Magazine, August 17, 1973; October 25, 1974; October 27, 1974; April 13, 1975.
Observer, February 25, 1968; December 8, 1985.
Partisan Review, spring, 1966.
People, October 1, 1984, review of Amadeus, p. 14.
Punch, February 28, 1968.
Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, Volume 40, number 1, 1986, review of Yonadab and Amadeus, p. 52.
Saturday Review, February 25, 1967; November, 1980, Roland Gelatt, review of Amadeus, pp. 11-14; February, 1981.
School Library Journal, April, 1983, review of The Collected Plays of Peter Shaffer, p. 134.
South Atlantic Quarterly, autumn, 1980.
Spectator, March 1, 1968.
Theatre Journal, December, 1993, Sam Abel, review of The Gift of the Gorgon, pp. 549-552.
Time, November 11, 1974; December 29, 1980; April 2, 1990, William A. Henry, III, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 71; March 15, 1993, Christopher Porter-field, review of The Gift of the Gorgon, pp. 69-70; September 20, 1993, William A. Henry, III, review of Black Comedy and White Liars, p. 84.
Times (London, England), January 9, 1985; January 18, 1985; November 28, 1985; December 6, 1985; November 17, 1988.
Times Educational Supplement, February 24, 1984, review of The Royal Hunt of the Sun and Equus, p. 29; June 22, 1984, review of Amadeus, p. 28; September 4, 1987, review of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, p. 29.
Times Literary Supplement, January 2, 1959, review of Five Finger Exercise, p. 5; December 25, 1992, Oliver Reynolds, review of The Gift of the Gorgon, p. 17.
Variety, November 19, 1980, review of Amadeus, p. 84; December 24, 1980, review of Amadeus, p. 62; December 23, 1981, review of Amadeus, p. 70; March 28, 1990, review of Lettice and Lovage, pp. 103-104; May 11, 1992, Markland Taylor, review of Lettice and Lovage, p. 126; January 11, 1993, Matt Wolf, review of The Gift of the Gorgon, p. 72; September 13, 1993, Jeremy Gerard, review of Black Comedy and White Liars, p. 35; May 25, 1998, Matt Wolf, review of Black Comedy, pp. 68-69.
Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 1993, review of Equus, p. 285.
Washington Post, July 5, 1979; November 9, 1980; November 13, 1980; November 23, 1980; December 15, 1982, David Richards, review of Equus, section C, p. 1;December 3, 1984, Jonathan Yardley, review of Amadeus, section C, p. 2; March 27, 1985, Edwin M. Yoder, Jr., review of Amadeus, section A, p. 23; March 26, 1990; September 8, 1993, Edwin Wilson, review of Black Comedy, section A, pp. 10, 12; April 22, 1998, William Triplett, review of Amadeus, section D, p. 14; April 27, 1999, Nelson Pressley, review of Equus, section C, p. 5.
Yale Review, autumn, 1983, J.D. McClatchy, review of Amadeus, p. 115.
"Shaffer, Peter 1926–." Concise Major 21st Century Writers. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 23, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/culture-magazines/shaffer-peter-1926
"Shaffer, Peter 1926–." Concise Major 21st Century Writers. . Retrieved January 23, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/culture-magazines/shaffer-peter-1926
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.