Jefferson Square was a multi-million dollar culture center...but there was nothing at all cultural about some of the things that happened there during its grand opening in the Sixties. At the Repertory Theater, a play called Confessional was in rehearsal. Some called it dramatic literature. Others considered it a tasteless exploitation of the playwright's former marriage to America's queen of sex. In the expensive interior of Symphony Hall, the brilliant and erratic conductor of the Jefferson Square Symphony Orchestra was working feverishly on a new concerto while his private life was rushing toward its own scandalous crescendo. In the board room, the dream of the state's governor for a presidential nomination was interrupted by the discovery that Jefferson Square was making this rich man richer. And in the executive offices, where architects' drawings were still being argued over, Jefferson Square's recently hired cultural director was being tempted to destroy what he had been employed to hold together.
Jefferson Square provides a fascinating glimpse of life behind the scenes in the midst of the creation of a new urban cultural epicenter, a symbol of the gentrification forcing out longtime neighborhood inhabitants. From the glitz and the glamor of Jefferson Square proper, to the hardships faced by residents of the condemned projects in the area, Gerson brings microcosms of the Sixties to Technicolor life.
Noel B. Gerson served in World War II in Army Intelligence before becoming a scriptwriter, and ultimately, and author. He is the author of over 300 books, including The Anthem and 55 Days in Peking.
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