A wistful air hung over the Upper East Side on the final evening of February, when the last-ever Paris Review party was convened at the longtime East 72nd Street home of its editor, the late George Plimpton. Plimpton’s widow, Sarah, is selling the place and moving to New Mexico. The curtain came down on an era. Perhaps it was ever thus, but the pangs of melancholy are unavoidable when it’s one’s own era that is ending, or even, as in my case, the era just ahead of mine. The day after that party brought the opening of Later Life (at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row through April 14), a play by that devoted chronicler of the fading of the wasp aristocracy, A. R. Gurney. Gurney died last year. Any of the veterans on hand at The Paris Review would have agreed with Gurney’s line from the...


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