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Notice: Due to the massive redesign and creation of Burckhardt Books, some internal links in blogs posted before January 24, 2022 may no long be active. If you find a broken link, please send us an email and let us know which blog it is in. We will do our best to go back and check links in previous blogs as time permits. But let's be honest, it's going to be slow going. 


Book Banter Season 2 FINALE - EP 97: Gail Merrifield Papp Interview

Hello My Happy People,

I am so thrilled to bring you this interview today. Chatting with Gail Merrifield Papp about her book, Public/Private: My Life with Joe Papp at The Public Theater was just such an amazing pleasure. I have to say, I think her book was the most surprising that I have read this season, and in the most wonderful way.

There is absolutely no way I would be able to sum up Gail in a few paragraphs on this page, so I'm are not even going to attempt it. Instead I'm going to share the text provided in a press release from Applause Theater & Cinema Books. Be sure to click the purple microphone below to listen to today's incredible interview.

From the Press Release: Blending the ultimate insider’s account of the creation and first decades of New York City’s Public Theater with the star-studded story of life working alongside her husband, The Public's founder Joe Papp, Public/Private: My Life with Joe Papp at the Public Theater is theater director of new works Gail Merrifield Papp’s enthralling memoir of their rich partnership and of the legendary theatrical institution. Opening in the early Sixties, Merrifield Papp’s narrative spans the twenty-six years she and Joe worked, then lived together until Joe's death in 1991. During most of that time, Gail was Developer of New Plays and Musicals at The Public while it staged hundreds of productions, ranging from free Shakespeare in Central Park to new plays, such as Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, and musicals like Hair and A Chorus Line. Gail and Joe’s production genius was responsible for an extraordinary body of work that launched the careers of dozens of actors, including James Earl Jones, Colleen Dewhurst, Gloria Foster, Morgan Freeman, Raúl Juliá, Kevin Kline, George C. Scott, Martin Sheen, Meryl Streep, and Diane Venora, all of whom make an appearance in the book. Gail Papp paints a comprehensive picture of the ways that The Public was driven by Joe's ambition to create a democratic theater whose artists and audiences would reflect the city's population. Also highlighted are unfamiliar aspects of his many battles with the establishment, from tilts with Robert Moses to theater critics. She remembers the scourge of AIDS, its impact on the many friends, family and colleagues close to Joe and Gail, and the toll it exacted on Joe's son, Tony. In recounting setbacks and frustrations alongside moments of passionate artistry and theatrical innovation, Gail's personal remembrances lend the narrative a keen, emotional edge which will captivate readers. At a time when America remains divided over issues of equality, identity, and freedom of expression, Public/Private is an important chronicle of how The Public Theater became a transformative beacon for social change and of the couple who created it. About the Author: GAIL MERRIFIELD PAPP was born in San Francisco into a family with a deep theater lineage. After joining Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival in 1965, she became Director of New Works Development for The Public Theater and was responsible for identifying up and coming playwrights and composers. Gail’s work curated some of its best-remembered productions in Public Theater history. These include The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s Tony Award-winning play about the AIDS crisis, for which she received the Human Rights Campaign Arts and Communication Award, and Rupert Holmes’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Gail Merrifield and Joseph Papp were married in 1976. Producer-Director JOSEPH PAPP (1921–1991) is the founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival, which since 1956 has produced free Shakespeare in New York City. In 1965 he steered the New York City’s acquisition of the Astor Library landmark building where he created The Public Theater dedicated to new American work, opening in 1967 with the original production of Hair. Papp produced over six hundred plays and musicals which, by 1991, had won more than 200 stage, film, and television awards. Called “the most important force in the English-speaking theater” in the twentieth century, he was also an outspoken champion of human rights and the First Amendment who, in the words of the Congressional Record, “struggled to make New York City and our country a more livable place, to uplift our spirits, to challenge our minds, and see us through to another day.”

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listen to the current episode.

Manic Monday Vlog

Time for some amusing holiday Dad jokes ...

Q: Why Rudolph drop off the honor roll in school after joining Santa's team?

A: Because he went down in history.

Q: What do Santa's reindeers use to decorate Christmas trees?

A: Horn-aments.

Q: Which reindeer is always getting in trouble with Santa?

A: Rude-olph.

Q: What does Santa give his reindeer when they eat too many Christmas cookies?

A: Elk-a-seltzer.

Q: Which of Santa’s reindeers loves to party on New Years Eve?

A: Dancer!

Q: Why do Rudolph and Dancer get so many coffee breaks?

A: Because they are Santa’s star-bucks!

Q: How are a reindeer and a coin alike?

A: They both have a head on one side and a tail on the other.

And last but not least ...

Q: How much does it cost Santa to use his sleigh on Christmas Eve?

A: Only eight bucks ... nine if the weather is bad.


Book Banter Magazine News for 2024!

Going forward, Book Banter Magazine will be published every other month beginning in February with the start of season 3 of Book Banter with Dianne Burckhardt - Book Talk Podcast. We will also have the Year End Book Buying Guide in November for holiday shopping with every author guest from season 3. Follow us on social media to stay up to day on all our coming issues.

Follow us on Facebook: @BurckhardtBooks and @DianneBurckhardt.Author

Book Banter Magazine's December Issue is Live!

This holiday issue is all about great gifts for any gift giving occasion. We have amazing authors from Book Banter with Dianne Burckhardt - Book Talk Podcast and a Book Banter Magazine exclusive feature author, J.B. Kaufman. J.B. is a world renowned movie historian who specializes in silent and early "talkie" movies and has written several books on Walt Disney Animated Movie histories. Our featured cookbook author is Faith Kramer and her cookbook 52 Shabbats. As always we have a recipe, a puzzle, and so much more. Check it all out on our Book Banter Magazine page, just click HERE. Bookmark it so you never miss an issue.

Book Banter Magazine's

Year End Book Buying Guide is Live!

The Year End Book Buying Guide features every author who has been a guest on Book Banter with Dianne Burckhardt - Book Talk Podcast with with a few extra Book Banter Magazine exclusive authors. It aso has live links to buy the authors' books and to their social media. Check it all out on our Book Banter Magazine page. You can find this issue and more by clicking HERE. 

The Into the West Saga Serial is Complete!

Check out the award-winning, historical fiction, family saga, Into the West Saga Serial. All the books, one through seven, are available now on Amazon. Click here to order your copy of each of the seven novellas in this serial today or you can read them all for free with Kindle

Prairie Dog Comics
Wichita, KS

Burckhardt Books want to give a shoutout to Prairie Dog Comics in Wichita, KS. The "go-to" shop for all your Comic Book needs. Find them on Ebay Stores by searching Prairie Dog Comic or email them at

Podcast Links

Listen to our podcast, Book Banter with Dianne Burckhardt, every Wednesday. Check your favorite podcast provider for listings.

Listen to Book Banter with Dianne Burckhardt on These Featured Podcast Providers:

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It's even easier now to support Burckhardt Books and our Book Banter with Dianne Burckhardt podcast, many options are no cost to you. Click here for more information.

Support Our Book Banter Buddies (2023 Guest Interviews):

Season Two Finale - Gail Papp, PUBLIC/ PRIVATE: My Life with Joe Papp at The Public Theater (EP 97: Dec. 20th)

  • Gail Merrifield Papp Website

Season 2 Past Guest Interviews (2023):

LM Wilson, author of The Last of the Spirit Drakes (EP 51: Feb. 1)

LeRoy A Peters, author of The Edge of the World Series (EP 52: Feb. 8)

C. D'Angelo, Author of The Difference and The Visitor (EP 53: Feb. 15th)

Val Collins, author of the Aoife Walsh Books (EP 54: Feb. 22)

Kirstie Page, Visual Storyteller/Artist (EP 55: March 1st)

Lance Steen Anthony Nielsen, Author of Diamonds in the Sky Series

(EPs 56/57: March 8th/15th)

David Gibson, PhD FRSB, Author of Planting Clues: How Plants Solve Crimes.

(EP 58: March 22nd)

Linaya DiNoto, Science Fiction Author of Lithaflora: The Chrysalis: The Forever After Series (EP 59: March 29)

Kelly Florence, Screenwriter/Podcaster and Co-Author of 5 books in The Science of Series

(EP 60: April 5)

Steph LaVigne, Cozy Mystery Author of Headlines, Deadlines, and Lies

(EPs 61/62: April 12/19)

Nzondi (Ace Antonio Hall), horror author/actor/musician (EP 66 & 67: May 17 & 24)

Benecia Ponder, author coach and bestselling author (EP 68: May 31)

Diann Floyd Boehm, Children's Book Author/Educator/Podcaster (EP 69: June 7th)

Angela R. Hughes, Historical Epic Fantasy Author (EP 70: June 14)

Donna Edman, Photographer/Visual Storyteller/Author (EP 71: June 21)

Wendy Jo Cerna, Inspirational Author (EP 72: June 28)

Sabrina Hammonds, Kingdom Connections Podcast and Media Agency (EP 73: July 5)

Ann Charles, Mixed Genre Mystery Author (EP 74: July 12)

Natacha Deen, YA, Adult, and Non-Fiction Author (EP 75: June 21)

Kammy Wood, The Modern Wordist, Creative Writing Consultant (EP 76: June 26)

Francesca Maria, Horror and Comic Book Author (EP 77: August 2nd)

Reenita M. Hora, Author, Creative, Entrepreneur (EP 78 & 79: August 9th & 16th)

Christopher (Chris) Denmead, Comic Book Author/Podcaster (EP 80: August 23rd)

Carole T. Beers, Contemporary Western Mystery Author (EP 81: August 6th)

J.C. Fuller, Mystery Author and TikTok Queen (EP 82: September 6th)

Meliza Farndell, Author, Coach, Speaker (EP 83: September 13th)

  • Meliza Farndell's Website

Dianne Burckhardt, Historical Fiction, Crime Thrillers, & more (EP 84: Sept. 20th)

Mikel Melwasul, Epic Military Fantasy Author (EP 85: Sept. 27th)

Liz Shipton, Part-Time Author, Full-Time Pirate (EP 86: Oct. 4th)

Sagit Schwartz, Suspense Thriller Author (EP 87: Oct. 11th)

Otto Schafer, Award-Winning YA and Adult Fiction Author (EP 88: Oct. 18th)

Michele Di Pietro, SOUPified Cookbook Author (EP 89: Oct. 25th)

Debbie Weiss, Memoir Author & Entrepreneur (EP 90: Nov. 1st)

Lynne Golodner, Author, Coach, Marketing Entrepreneur & Podcaster (EP 91: Nov. 8th)

Michelle Glogovac, THE Podcast Matchmaker™ & Publicist (EP 92: Nov. 15th)

Leah Ann Brown, Middle Grade Fantasy Author (EP 93: Nov. 22nd)

Faith Kramer, Jewish Global Kitchen Cookbook Author (EP 94: Nov. 29th)

Brian Kaufman, Textbook and Fiction Author (EP 95: Dec. 6th)

Mary Carroll Moore, Women's Fiction Author (EP 96: Dec. 13th)


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