Elaine Kendall


An author, journalist and playwright, Elaine Kendall has written four books of social history: The Upper Hand, an irreverent account of changing male/​female roles; The Happy Mediocrity, an examination of American choices in architecture, food, clothing, manners and mores as they have developed over the centuries; Peculiar Institutions, an informal account of the development of womenís education from pre-revolutionary times to the present, and Seeing Europe Again: Confessions of a First World Traveler; a light-hearted comparison of European and American cultural attitudes.

Her articles about art, theater, travel and various aspects of the changing American scene have appeared in Harpers, The New York Times Magazine, Performing Arts, Horizon, American Heritage, Vogue, The Dramatist, Playbill, and many other national magazines. From 1974 to 1997, she was a weekly book columnist for The Los Angeles Times.

Elaine Kendall has also written and collaborated on libretti and lyrics for musical plays produced in New York, California, Hawaii and Connecticut. "An American Cantata" is an adaptation of the late John Sanfordís chronicle of American women, and is available from Samuel French, Inc. The "Would-be Diva" is a musical comedy based upon the extraordinary life of the Polish-born beauty Ganna Walska. "Isadora!" is a musical drama about Isadora Duncan, and Kendallís 2003 show "Cole & Will: Together Again" a unique revue melding Cole Porterís memorable lyrics to appropriate moments from 15 Shakespearean dramas and comedies.

Kendall's non-musical plays are "Two Margarets", (the double life of Margaret Sanger, the iconic birth control crusader); "The Chameleon" (based upon the extraordinary career of Judah P. Benjamin; Confederate statesman and eventually, leading English barrister). "The Trial of Mata Hari" draws upon newly translated records implying that Mata Hari may not have been guilty of espionage during Word War I. The closing speech from "The Trial of Mata Hari" is included in the 2011 Smith & Kraus edition of Best Women's Monologues. Kendall is also the author of a short comedy "the "I" Word", published by ArtSpace.

Elaine Kendall is a member of The Authors Guild, The Dramatists Guild, and ASCAP.

Selected Works

Book Review
1. Non-Fiction
Provocative social history--thoughtful, witty, and surprising.
Dealing with the basics of American life.
Time-tested methods of women-watchers applied to men.
4. Article
from Santa Barbara News-Press 4/03