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". . . succeeds . . . in completely and fully restoring and re-empowering Charlotte Cushman in her overlapping roles as both actor and woman. It is a richly historicized and theoreticized portrait of a multifaceted, paradoxical, altogether compelling figure. As such, Merrill's work is not only an important theatrical biography, but a signal study of the complex interstices between public and private personas. . . . When Romeo Was a Woman is an impressive scholarly achievement . . . . [It is] likely to stand as the final word on Cushman for many years to come."
—Daniel J. Watermeier, University of Toledo, Theatre History Studies, 1999
— Daniel J. Watermeier, University of Toledo
"This is the definitive biography of Cushman, a 'major contribution to our understanding of lesbian history.' Richly illustrated and highly anecdotal, it's also downright good dish."
—Carolyn Gage, Lambda Book Report, March 1999
— Carolyn Gage
". . . Lisa Merrill is able to shed light on the subject [of Cushman's appeal], while offering readers an intriguing interpretation of gender relations and much shrewd analysis of great acting."
—American Theatre, July/August 1999
— American Theatre
"Merrill's attempt to focus a queer lens on Cushman's long-term relationships with other women adds a significant layer of integrity to the continuing recovery of this major figure in theatre history. . . . Cushman, who brought an unprecedented level of research and reconsideration to each of her theatrical roles, would likely applaud Merrill's own investigative turn of mind. This engrossing account follows her through three decades of performance, travel and residence in the US, England, and Italy. . . . . Lisa Merrill's careful reading of scrupulously marshaled evidence casts new light upon the long history of the passionate munificence of women's lives together."
—Marilyn Richardson, Women's Review of Books, July 1999
— Marilyn Richardson
"Fascinating and meticulously researched biography. . . . A significant contribution to lesbian/gay theater history, this book should have wide audience appeal."
—Library Journal, January 1999
— Library Journal
"A fascinating story, and a major contribution to our understanding of lesbian history. . . . The work done on archival resources is both impressive in its extent and wholly convincing in its effect."
—Jacky Bratton, University of London
— Jacky Bratton, University of London