PERSONAL: Married; children: three.
CAREER: Journalist and theater critic. Began career as a disc jockey; host of radio and television shows for British Broadcasting Corporation, London, England.
(With Edward Behr) The Story of Miss Saigon, Arcade (New York, NY), 1991.
Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now, Routledge (New York, NY), 1999.
Stephen Sondheim, (music theater handbook) Josef Weinberger/Music Theatre International of New York (London, England), 2000.
The Face of the Tiger, and Other Tales from the New War (essay collection), Stockade Books, 2002.
Mark Steyn from Head to Toe: An Anatomical Anthology (essay collection), Stockade Books, 2004.
America Alone: Our Country's Future as a Lone Warrior, Regnery Publishing (Washington, DC), 2005.
Contributor to essay collections, including The Survival of Culture: Permanent Values in a Virtual Age, edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2002; and Lengthened Shadows: America and Its Institutions in the Twenty-first Century, edited by Roger Kimball and Hilton Kramer, Encounter Books (San Francisco, CA), 2004.
Articles and columns appear in numerous publications in England and the United States, including the London Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, and Spectator, and the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Sun, Washington Times, Richmond Times-Dispatch, New Criterion, Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, National Review, Canadian Western Standard, Jerusalem Post, Australian, and Irish Times.
SIDELIGHTS: Journalist Mark Steyn writes for numerous periodicals as a theater and film critic and as a columnist musing on politics, the arts, and culture. In his book Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now Steyn focuses on the history and current state of musical theater in America and Great Britain. The book is separated into two parts. In "Act One," Stein focuses on old productions and discusses such aspects of the musical as the evolution of lyrics as affected by noted lyricists. In "Act Two," the author discusses modern musicals and composers, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber. Throughout the book, he writes about numerous notable lyricists and composers, including Gilbert and Sullivan, Stephen Sondheim, Irving Berlin, and Oscar Hammerstein. He also writes about such Broadway classics as Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel, and Gypsy.
Jack Helbig, writing in Booklist, noted that Steyn "analyzes, with the keen eye of a passionate critic, the many forces that contributed to the musical's decline." A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book a "delightful, irreverent romp through seven decades of American musical theater." Robert W. Melton commented in Library Journal that Steyn's "extensive knowledge of the musical's history and his provocative commentary" will be appreciated by fans of the genre. New York Times Book Review contributor Robert Gottlieb called Broadway Babies Say Goodnight an "eccentric, funny, shrewd, and somewhat dismaying book," citing the book's faults as "blatant": "Its tone wobbles; its judgments are often shrill, or based on not enough knowledge in depth. There are far too many things wrong." Nevertheless, Gottlieb wrote that "for anyone interested in the musical, [Broadway Babies Say Goodnight] is absorbing and amusing reading." Donald Lyons, in a review for the National Review, found the book's second part less enjoyable than its first, but added that "Steyn's virtues are sharpness of perception and phrase, audacity and idiosyncrasy of presentation—all grounded in a warm understanding of why great musicals were great in those bygone days."
The Face of the Tiger, and Other Tales from the New War is a collection of Steyn's newspaper columns and essays that focus on how the world changed following the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001. In the essays, written within one year of the attack, Steyn deals with such issues as what he sees as the root causes of terrorism and the myths associated it. Writing on the Enter Stage Right Web site, Steven Martinovich noted that The Face of the Tiger "spotlights a writer who manages to effectively marry humor and insight." Martinovich also called the collection "an exercise in clear-headed rationality" and added, "The humorist in Steyn may seek to provoke with occasionally outrageous statements, whether they are on target or not, but the thinker always shines through." Steyn is also the author of the essay collection Mark Steyn from Head to Toe: An Anatomical Anthology, which highlights his opinions on topics ranging from makeup for the president to Americans' right to bear arms.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Theatre, January, 2000, review of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now, p. 88.
Booklist, April 15, 1999, Jack Helbig, review of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, p. 1500.
Economist, May 23, 1998, review of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, p. 78.
Guardian (Manchester, England), February 12, 2000, Vera Rule, review of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, p. 11.
Library Journal, May 1, 1999, Robert W. Melton, review of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, p. 82.
National Review, August 9, 1999, Donald Lyons, review of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, p. 46.
New York Times Book Review, May 30, 1999, Robert Gottlieb, review of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, p. 11.
Publishers Weekly, April 26, 1999, review of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, p. 65.
Enter Stage Right Web site, http://www.enterstageright.com/ (January 13, 2003), Steven Martinovich, review of The Face of the Tiger: And Other Tales from the New War.
Mark Steyn Home Page, http://www.marksteyn.com (March 29, 2005).