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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

Met Opera: A Sparkling Mozart for Levine's Finale

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2016 | 12:55 PM

The course of true love, as everyone knows, never runs smoothly. But rarely does it face quite as many roadblocks as Mozart threw up in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, the Metropolitan Opera's final offering of the season and James Levine's last appearances at the podium as music director.

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Vengeance Reigns in New Staging of 'Elektra'

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2016 | 11:30 AM

Vengeance may best be served cold for some people, but in Strauss's Elektra it is a rite of unbridled passion and Nina Stemme conveys all its fury in a fiery performance of the title role in the Metropolitan Opera's stark and searing new production.

With Adrianne Pieczonka giving a...

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Met Opera: Domingo, Levine, and Verdi Together Again in "Simon Boccanegra"

(0) Comments | Posted April 6, 2016 | 11:46 AM

If one were able to choose a dream team for an exciting night at the opera, the trio of Placido Domingo, James Levine, and Giuseppe Verdi would be at the top of the list, and the Metropolitan Opera has brought all three together for a stirring and poignant revival of...

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Met Opera: Radvanovsky Triumphs in "Roberto Devereux"

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2016 | 5:45 PM

Sondra Radvanovsky completed her hat trick of singing all the leads in Donizetti's Tudor Trilogy last night with a triumphant and bravura performance as Queen Elizabeth I in the Met Opera's premiere production of Roberto Devereux.

Supported by an excellent Matthew Polenzani in the title role and...

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Met Opera: Opolais Shines in Minghella's 'Madama Butterfly'

(5) Comments | Posted March 22, 2016 | 3:37 PM

There are few, if any, more heart-rending operas than Madama Butterfly, and there are few, if any, productions that more fully capture the emotional power of Puccini's score than Anthony Minghella's magical staging for the Metropolitan Opera. And with a splendid Kristine Opolais singing the title role, it is an...

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Met Opera: Camarena Returns in a Rousing "Don Pasquale"

(4) Comments | Posted March 6, 2016 | 7:33 PM

The Met Opera brought Donizetti's Don Pasquale back to the stage Friday night in a fun-filled frolic that provided a showcase for the return of the dazzling tenor Javier Camarena, a stunning debut by the soprano Eleonora Buratto, and a show-stopping baritone duet by Ambrogio Maestri and Levente Molnar that...

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'Buried Child': Ed Harris and Amy Madigan Plow Sam Shepard's Illinois Cornfield

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2016 | 9:44 AM

Every family has its secrets, some darker than others, but they don't get much blacker or more ominous than the one in Sam Shepard's Buried Child, now in a riveting revival by The New Group at the Signature Theatre. The skeleton in the train wreck of Dodge and Halie's marriage...

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Met Opera: Opolais and Alagna in a Nazi-Era "Manon Lescaut"

(2) Comments | Posted February 16, 2016 | 3:22 PM

True love rarely, if ever, runs smoothly, but it seldom has quite as many roadblocks as Puccini throws up in Manon Lescaut, the composer's first great success, or the political pothole of the Met Opera's new production by Sir Richard Eyre, but with Kristine Opolais in the title role and...

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Met Opera: Radvanovsky Is Superb in Donizetti's Game of Thrones

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2016 | 6:22 PM

Whichever side one may take in the final Tudor family feud, for Donizetti, whose Maria Stuarda returned to the Met Opera stage Friday night, it was a slam-dunk for Mary, Queen of Scots, over Queen Elizabeth I, and with Sondra Radvanovsky delivering such an exquisitely bravura performance in the title...

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Met Opera: A Lustrous 'Pearl Fishers' to Ring in the New Year

(2) Comments | Posted January 3, 2016 | 12:21 PM

It has taken the Met Opera 100 years to get Bizet's Les Pecheurs de Perles back on the stage, but the new production the company unveiled in a gala New Year's Eve premiere is such a spectacular success, beautifully sung and acted by a splendid cast and chorus, it should...

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Met Opera: A Sparkling "Barber of Seville" for the Holidays

(1) Comments | Posted December 22, 2015 | 2:35 PM

There are few if any sure-fire hits in the theater. In opera about the closest one can come to a slam-dunk is The Barber of Seville, and the Met Opera's holiday staging of Rossini's comic masterpiece is a delicious confection that is at once sweet and light and immensely satisfying.

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

(1) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 12:37 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 | 2:27 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 | 12:59 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

(1) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 1:59 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 | 10:30 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 | 2:05 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 | 1:33 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 | 12:59 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 | 4:33 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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