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Wilborn Hampton
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After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin, Hampton was hired as a reporter for United Press International in Dallas. To satisfy his abiding love of the theater, he also worked in his spare time at Theatre Three, acting in several productions and writing adaptations for that company’s children’s Saturday matinee series. After working at U.P.I. for only two months, Hampton was suddenly thrust into helping cover one of the biggest news stories of the time – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Being in the very whirlwind of history was a life-changing experience for him and his fledgling acting career took a back seat to his new goal of becoming a foreign correspondent.
Two years later, Hampton was transferred to the New York headquarters of U.P.I., and later was posted to London, where he covered the outbreak of sectarian strife in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the entry of British troops there. After two years in London, he was assigned to Rome, where he spent five years, first as correspondent then as bureau chief. From Rome, he traveled frequently to the Middle East and covered three wars in that turbulent region. As a news agency reporter, he covered many different kinds of stories – diplomatic conferences, sporting events, riots, hijackings, wars, and, being based in Rome, the Vatican. After several years as a foreign correspondent, Hampton returned to New York as an editor, going out only occasionally on big stories. One of the last major stories he covered as a reporter was the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. Shortly after that, Hampton was hired by The New York Times as an editor on the paper’s foreign news desk. For the next 26 years, he worked as an editor at The Times – on the foreign desk, in the paper’s Book Review section and on the Culture News desk. During his time in that last job, he was able to return to his first love of the theater, and he began to write occasional drama reviews for the paper. Even after leaving its full-time employ, Hampton continued to write theater reviews for The Times on a free-lance basis.
About the same time, Hampton began writing Young Adult nonfiction books about some of the stories he covered as a journalist, starting with the Kennedy assassination. Since then Hampton has published three more Young Adult books on contemporary history – the meltdown at Three Mile Island, the wars in the Middle East, and the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001, as well as YA biographies of Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth and an adult trade biography of the playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote.

Entries by Wilborn Hampton

'Incident at Vichy': Arthur Miller's Polemic on Nazi Terror

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 1:37 PM

If anyone still doubts after the attacks in Paris that terror and barbarity must be must be fought with all one's strength, they should get tickets to the Signature Theatre's revival of Incident at Vichy, Arthur Miller's gripping polemic on another age's terror and barbarity.

Confronted with senseless atrocity, the...

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Met Opera: Petersen Wows in a Sexy New "Lulu"

(1) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 3:27 PM

Opera thrives on femmes fatales, and there are none in all the repertory quite as fatale as Lulu, the titular siren of Alban Berg's unfinished final work which the Metropolitan Opera has returned to the stage in a dazzling new production by William Kentridge and with the alluring Marlis Petersen...

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"Therese Raquin": A Haunted Keira Knightley in Her Broadway Debut

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 1:59 PM

Murder is never easy, rarely solves anything and almost invariably comes with disastrous side effects. For Therese Raquin, the orphaned dreamer hauntingly played by Keira Knightley in an admirable Broadway debut, it is her ruin.

In Helen Edmundson's stage adaptation of Therese Raquin for the Roundabout Theatre, Zola's 19th...

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"King Charles III": Uneasy May Lie the Head But Tim Pigott-Smith Reigns

(0) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 2:59 PM

Short of discovering a long-lost Shakespeare play, Mike Bartlett's King Charles III is about as close as one can hope to get to a modern-day Shakespearean drama. Subtitled "a future history play," Bartlett has crafted a dazzling and gripping piece of theater that needs no apologies to the greatest playwright...

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"The Gin Game": Jones and Tyson Are Superb in a Battle Across a Card Table

(1) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 11:30 AM

Comedy may not all be in the timing, but a large part of it is and James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson give an acting master class in it in a delightful revival of The Gin Game, D.L. Coburn's bittersweet play that opened last night on Broadway.
Jones and...

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Met Opera: A Sublime Tannhauser From Levine, Botha and Westbroek

(5) Comments | Posted October 13, 2015 | 3:05 PM

The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is still weak in Tannhauser, Wagner's stirring tale of profligacy and redemption which the Metropolitan Opera has returned to the stage with a top-notch cast and a magnificent performance by James Levine and the Met Orchestra.

With the excellent South African tenor...

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"Fool for Love": Arianda and Rockwell Slug It Out in the Desert

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 2:33 PM

Whether we like to admit it or not, our parents follow us around all our lives, stalking our every movement and subconsciously pervading our every thought. For Eddie and May, the battered lovers in Sam Shepard's searing play Fool for Love, the sins of the father plague their very existence.

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"Old Times": Owen Strolls Down Pinter's Memory Lane

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 1:59 PM

Memory, like truth, can be elusive. And as everyone knows, it can play tricks. But rarely is it as perplexing as in Pinter's Old Times, which opened last night in a haunting revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company with a sterling cast led by Clive Owen in his Broadway debut....

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Met Opera: Radvanovsky Soars as Anne Boleyn

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 5:33 PM

It's been a big year for the Tudors in New York. First there was the stage and TV series of Wolf Hall. And now the Metropolitan Opera is giving Ann Boleyn's side of the story with a revival of Donizetti's Anna Bolena, and the ill-fated second wife of King Henry...

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Cloud Nine: Sex and Longing, Then and Now

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 5:28 PM

It's all about sex. Even when we think it's about Queen and Country. Or family values. Or power. Or money. It's really about sex, and a delightfully ribald revival of Caryl Churchill's play Cloud Nine by the Atlantic Theatre Company makes the case.
Churchill has been one of...

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"The Quare Land": A Humorous Homily on Greed With Peter Maloney

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 12:38 PM

Hard on the heels of Pope Francis' visit and admonition to Wall Street on the perils of unbridled capitalism, the Irish Repertory Theatre is offering a parable on the wages of greed in The Quare Land, a play by John McManus that is both funny and a vehicle for a...

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Met Opera: A Rousing 'Trovatore' With A Stellar Cast

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 2:04 PM

Few operas can be as emotionally rousing as Il Trovatore, and with the stellar cast the Metropolitan Opera has put together for this season's revival of Verdi's grand opus on love, obsession, jealousy, and revenge, the raw passion of the music burns anew.

Trovatore runs the gamut from lustful craving...

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Met Opera: Love Wins Again in Puccini's 'Turandot'

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 1:42 PM

Love can conquer all, and if there are any lingering doubts about it the Metropolitan Opera's fabulous production of Puccini's Turandot, which returned to the stage last night with a solid cast, should erase them.

With the strong soprano Christine Goerke taking the title role, a reliable Marcelo Alvarez...

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Met Opera: A New 'Otello' To Open A New Season

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 3:12 PM

The glitter belonged strictly to New York's glitterati last night as the Metropolitan Opera opened its season with a stark and simple yet often powerful new production of Otello, Verdi's passionate and masterful rendering of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays.

While the Met Opera lobby was packed with New...

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Elena Ferrante's Naples Quartet: A Literary Masterpiece Comes Full Circle

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 2:06 PM

Once in my youthful and idealistic search to discover answers to the eternal and inexplicable mysteries of life, I asked my college professor what was the true meaning of love. He replied: "I think that real love is having been through a lot together."

With the publication this week...

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'Mercury Fur': Philip Ridley's Butterfly-Plagued Dystopia of the Future

(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 12:01 PM

Entering the theater for a performance of Philip Ridley's Mercury Fur one might assume the play takes place in some desolated village along the Syrian-Iraqi border. The set the audience encounters looks like an apartment that has taken a direct hit from a drone strike.

It is not long after...

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John: Annie Baker's Romantic Weekend in Gettysburg

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2015 | 11:41 AM

Annie Baker has a delightfully inventive mind. This can be a major asset for a young playwright, but it can also lead to eccentricity becoming an end in itself. In John, her new play that opens the Signature Theater's new season, there is an abundance of ideas kicking around --...

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Met Opera: Verdi's 'Ballo In Maschera' Beautifully Sung And Played

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 2:16 PM

Verdi was no stranger to forbidden love and he captured all its passion and anguish in Un Ballo in Maschera, which the Metropolitan Opera returned to the stage last night with a top-flight cast led by Piotr Beczala and Sondra Radvanovsky and with James Levine in the pit for a...

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Met Opera: A Stunning New 'Cav/Pag' With Alvarez Shining in Both

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 7:20 PM

Scorned love can have dire consequences, and when it involves adultery, it can lead to jealous rage and violent death. The Met Opera's striking new production of the twin-bill of Cavelleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, with the tenor Marcelo Alvarez singing the dual roles of cuckolder in the first and cuckold...

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'Skylight': Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan Renew Old Lovers' Quarrels

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2015 | 6:30 PM

Breaking up may be hard to do, but getting back together is near impossible, though Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan give it a game try with searing performances in a spirited and caustic revival of Skylight, David Hare's one-night stand of lovers' recriminations.

At the time of the play, the...

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