Using the theatre metaphor to characterize the actions of Congress and to help make the institution more understandable, congressional life and behavior are dissected and placed in the broader context of changes in Congress in the 1990s. The contributors evaluate the way members of Congress play to the media and the larger audience, the electorate; analyze leadership roles in a cast of 535 "leading players"; evaluate the committee systems as "little theatre"; and analyze relations among the various branches of government. Coeditors Herbert Weisberg and Samuel Patterson conclude the unique presentation by reminding us that in Congress, "the play's the thing."
"In 1994, the Republicans gave political scientists a great gift--the 104th Congress--and the Weisberg-Patterson collection of thoughful essays takes full advantage of it. The result: an original, well-informed, up-to-date mini course on the contemporary Congress." Richard Fenno, University of Rochester "Congress is indeed on stage, there for all to see, and as the authors of these twelve sparkling essays realize, the relentlessly open nature of the institution affects everything it does and touches. Those readers seeking to understand fallout from the momentous election of 1994 as well as those seeking more general information about the modern Congress will greatly benefit from this volume, edited by two of the discipline's finest." John R. Hibbing, University of Nebraska "Great Theatre presents the historic 104th Congress in all its glory as revealed by a talented cast of astute political scientists. Both scholars and students of American politics should be sure to catch the show." Gary Jacobson, University of California, San Diego "A good book to bring students of Congress up to date on what has been happening there over the last decade. Recommended for all college and university collections." Choice "For those seeking an interesting, diverse, and thoughtful collection of academic writings on contemporary (pre-impeachment) Congress, Great Theatre is a worthwhile resource and a viable addition to any medium-sized or larger academic library collection." Cassandra Hartnett, Journal of Government Information