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Garebian, Keith 1943-

GAREBIAN, Keith 1943-

PERSONAL: Born July 15, 1943, in Bombay, India; immigrated to Canada, 1961; son of Adam Stephen (an automotive engineer) and Lorna Constance (a secretary; maiden name, Alimo) Garebian; married Caryl Taugher, December 23, 1972 (divorced, 1991); children: Michael Ian; married Judith Henderson, June 10, 1994 (separated, 1998). Education: University of Montreal, B.Ed. (magna cum laude), 1964 (Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Highest Academic Achievement); Thomas More Institute, Montreal, Quebec, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1966; Sir George Williams University (now Sir George Williams Campus of Concordia University), Montreal, M.A., 1971; Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Ph.D., 1973.

ADDRESSES: Home—1515 Lakeshore Road East, Apartment 1704, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, L5E 3E3.

CAREER: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, assistant professor of English, 1974; Concordia University, Montreal, assistant professor of English, 1975-77; freelance writer, 1975—; Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, instructor, 1990-91, 1995. Judge of English entries for Grand Prix de la Ville de Montreal, 1978.

MEMBER: Canadian Theatre Critics Association (member of board of directors, 1981).

AWARDS, HONORS: Named runner-up for Nathan Cohen Award for Outstanding Theatre Criticism in Canada by Toronto Drama Bench, 1981, for reviews of the Stratford Festival published in Journal of Canadian Studies; Mississauga Arts Award for Writing, 2000; Appointed Critic-at-Large, Mississauga Public Library, 2000, to write book and theatre reviews for its web site (the first appointment in any public library); First runner-up, Scarborough Arts Council annual poetry contest, 2002, for "For an Oriental Lover"; First Prize for free verse, Ontario Poetry Society Contest, 2002, for "Ezra Pound."


Hugh Hood, Twayne (New York, NY), 1983.

Hugh Hood and His Works, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1985.

William Hutt: A Theatre Portrait, Mosaic (Oakville, Ottawa, Canada), 1988.

The Making of My Fair Lady, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988, Mosaic Press (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

Leon Rooke and His Works, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989.

(Contributor) Albert Reiner Glaap, editor, Das moderne englisch-kanadische Drama (title means "Modern English Canadian Drama"), Schwann Bagel, 1989.

A Well-Bred Muse: Theatre Writings, 1978-1988, Mosaic (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

A Well-Bred Muse: Selected Theatre Writings, 1978-1988, Mosaic (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 1991.

George Bernard Shaw and Christopher Newton: Explorations of Shavian Theatre, Mosaic (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

The Making of Gypsy, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994, Mosaic Press (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

The Making of West Side Story, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995, Mosaic Press (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

(Editor) William Hutt: Masks and Faces, Mosaic (Oakville, Ottawa, Canada), 1995.

The Making of Cabaret, Mosaic Press (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Pain: Journeys around My Parents, Mosaic Press (Oakville, Ottawa, Canada), 2000.

The Making of Guys and Dolls, Mosaic Press (Oakville, Ottawa, Canada), 2000.

I Say His Love (poetry), Mosaic Press (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

Contributor to The Montreal Storytellers, Vehicule Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1985; Beacham's Popular Fiction in America, Beacham Publishing (Osprey, FL), 1986; The Bumper Book, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986; Popular World Fiction, 1900 to the Present, Beacham Publishing (Osprey, FL), 1987; Carry On Bumping, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988; Magill's Masterplots II: Drama, Salem Press (California), 1990; Magill's Masterplots II: Juvenile and Young Adult Fiction, Salem Press (California), 1991; Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture, Salem Press (California), 1993; Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America, Salem Press (California), 1998; Magill's Encyclopedia of Propaganda, Salem Press (California), 1998; Ready Reference: Family Life, Salem Press (California), 1998; Biographical Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century World Literature, Salem Press (California), 1999; Magill's Medical Guide: Pediatrics, Salem Press (California), 1999; Racial and Ethnic Relations in America, Salem Press (California), 1999; Encyclopedia of World Geography, Salem Press (California), 2000; Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Salem Press (California), 2000; World Philosophers and Their Works, Salem Press (California), 2000; Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, Salem Press (California), 2000; Magill's Guide to Military History, Salem Press (California), 2001; Magill's Encyclopedia of Science: Animal Life, Salem Press (California), 2001; Great Events of the Twentieth Century, Salem Press (California), 2001; Masterplots II: Poetry Series, rev. ed., Salem Press, (California). 2002; Cyclopedia of Literary Places, Salem Press (California), 2002; Critical Survey of Drama, 2nd rev. ed., Salem Press (California), 2002.

Contributor to Dictionary of Literary Biography: Canadian Writers since 1960, The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, and The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre and Drama. Contributor of articles and reviews to more than sixty periodicals, including Malahat Review, Canadian Forum, Queen's Quarterly, Journal of Canadian Studies, Canadian Theatre Review, and Quill and Quire.

WORK IN PROGRESS: The Frida Kahlo Poems.

SIDELIGHTS: Keith Garebian, considered by many as one of Canada's foremost theater critics, has published more than a dozen books about the world of drama. Garebian, who won the 2000 Mississauga Arts Award for Writing, is also a scholar and has taught classes at several Canadian universities. Of his best-known works four books examine the making of some famous U.S. musicals: West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Gypsy, and Cabaret. According to a contributor for Performing Arts & Entertainment in Canada, the series is "comprehensive to say the least." The same reviewer went on to state that each of the four books "is an enterprise which Garebian approaches with affection and enthusiasm." Garebian has just published a fifth book in the series which focuses on the musical Guys and Dolls.

Garebian has also published a critically acclaimed memoir, titled Pain: Journeys around My Parents, in which he explores his feelings about his deceased immigrant parents. Dedicated to his son Michael, Garebian's book traces the lives of his parents from India to Armenia and finally in 1961 to Canada. The first section of the book is mostly set in India, the birthplace of both Garebian and his mother. The second section focuses on the family's history in Armenia, his father's homeland. Some critics have suggested that the book has post-modern elements; it jumps from place to place and from time to time and has a fractured narrative.

Pain "challenges the reader through its eclectic style that on the surface, at least, appears to be postmodern," wrote critic Lorne Shirinian, who reviewed the book for Books in Canada. In fact, one of the reasons Garebian set out to write the book was to explore the written language and reaffirm his connection to it. "This book is my attempt to keep faith with my parents and their joys and pains. It is also an attempt to keep faith with the written word," Garebian wrote in the book. Garebian also lays bare the troubles his family experienced in India, in Armenia (where his father fled a genocide), and in Canada. According to Shirinian, the tale "confronts and provokes the reader with its frank portrayal of growing up in a family marked by marginality in a society where race and status are important factors." A contributor for The Globe and Mail described the book as "a howl of anguish."

In addition to contributing to numerous anthologies, Garebian's theater reviews have appeared in such publications as Books in Canada, The Canadian Forum, Literary Review of Canada, Queen's Quarterly, Journal of Canadian Studies, and The Globe and Mail.

Keith Garebian once told CA: "I must have had very odd astrological pulls on me. My father is Armenian—one of those traumatized survivors of this century's first holocaust—and my mother is Anglo-Indian, which automatically means that history is always a colophon for me, a message lying desperately in a bottle that drifts God knows to what shores of indifference. Yet words have always danced in my blood. At ten, I discovered the works of William Shakespeare and was often given to declaiming from his plays to anyone who would listen. At thirteen, I discovered Laurence Olivier on film. I am convinced my life was changed irrevocably for the better.

"After an Anglo-Indian schooling under Jesuit tutelage, when one wonders what to do with the old school tie and cricket bat, I immigrated to Canada in 1961 with my parents and two younger sisters. I became a schoolteacher, but two years after a doctorate in Canadian and commonwealth literature from Queen's University, I launched into a career as a freelance writer.

"All my books have broken new ground and have been 'firsts' of their kind. In 1983 I published the first book-length study of Hugh Hood, a writer of emblematic fiction. This book offered a reading of Hood in terms of Christian allegory. In 1988, after a decade of intense critical commentary on Canadian theatre in various academic and mass-market journals, I published William Hutt: A Theatre Portrait—the first biography of a major modern Canadian stage actor.

"Out of a deep love for the theatre, I continue to write about this ephemeral art. I am not one who concedes that criticism is merely secondary to creativity. The best of it is art, as manifested in the potently graceful writings of George Bernard Shaw, Alfred Mason, John Brown, and Katharine Tynan. The best of it is a magnification of wonder, a concomitant meditation on and celebration of phenomena that never come our way again in quite the same form. Actors, plays, and productions all endure in the best criticism, which is never simply a memento mori, but flashes of lightning at once intellectual and sensuous. To paraphrase Anatole France, criticism is the adventure of a mind and soul among presumed works of art."



Armenian Reporter International, February 24, 2001; July 7, 2001.

Books in Canada, August-September, 1984; May, 1986; March, 1989; May, 1989; September-October, 2001, p. 12.

Canadian Book Review Annual, 1985.

Canadian Forum, April, 1984.

Canadian Literature, winter, 1984.

Globe and Mail (Toronto), September 22, 1988; December 3, 1988; July 31, 1993; January 27, 2001.

Journal of Canadian Studies, Volume LXXI, number 4, 1987.

Literary Review of Canada, February 2001, PP. 25-26.

Metropolis, February 16, 1989.

Mississauga Business Times, February 2001.

Mississauga News, May 12, 2000; November 15-16, 2000.

Performing Arts & Entertainment in Canada, winter, 1999, p. 37.

Quill and Quire, April, 1984; February, 1989.

Star (Toronto), September 3, 1988; February 4, 1989.

Theatrum, February-March, 1989.

Toronto Sun, January 2, 1989.

University of Toronto Quarterly, fall, 1987.


Mississauga Library System homepage, (May 22, 2002), biography of Keith Garebian.

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