Wednesday, June 20, 2007

One Person's Trash...

A few weeks ago my wife brought home a few old books she had found lying out with other items for trash pickup. The books were in really good shape and they were theatrical in subject.

One of them was titled, Life Among the Playwrights; Being Mostly the Story of the Playwrights' Producing Company, Inc. by John Franklin Wharton.

The book is a real gem that has all of the inside scoop on how several playwriting talents of the 1920's and 1930's teamed together to produce their own work, and, to that end, founded the Playwright's Producing Company in 1938.

Robert Sherwood, Maxwell Anderson, Elmer Rice and others produced their own work and the work of other playwrights until 1960, (including the premieres of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Gore Vidal's The Best Man.)

It is an exciting chronicle of that period, including frank discussions of how, sadly, some of these great talents would start to lose their edge. At one point Wharton writes of how they would all tremble when some of the aging writers would give a draft of new play.

I will post some great quotes and anecdotes over the next few months, as I also will discuss some of the work of these playwrights.

I guess it will be my summer reading. If anybody can recommend biographies or books about these men and this period in American Drama I would be grateful.

No comments: