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Theatre and Plays

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Theatre and Plays

Theatre and Plays

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New York Shakespeare Festival Report, Gersten, Bernard (text)
41 Gersten, Bernard (text) New York Shakespeare Festival Report
[New York] The New York Shakespeare Festival [1965] NO Stapled wraps Near Fine Illustrated by (design by) Al Vandenberg 
[beautiful clean copy, with just a bit of wear along the stapled edge]. (B&W photographs) 24-page (including covers) promotional booklet for the Festival, issued just prior to the 1965 season. Largely photographic, with quotes about the Festival and its productions from various sources. Includes a full-page statement from founding director Joseph Papp, and a smaller statement from then-NYC Mayer Robert F. Wagner, under whose administration (1953-1965) the Festival was established and flourished -- with the annual budget for the program having by then (according to Papp's statement) reached the stratospheric sum of $825,000. Among the more prominent actors featured in the photos of a dozen or so recent productions are James Earl Jones (shown in both "Othello" and "King Henry V"), Julie Harris ("Hamlet"), George C. Scott ("The Merchant of Venice") and Colleen Dewhurst ("Antony and Cleopatra"). 
Price: 20.00 USD
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New Theatres for Old [*SIGNED*], Gorelik, Mordecai
42 Gorelik, Mordecai New Theatres for Old [*SIGNED*]
[New York] Samuel French 1940 NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Alex Kahn Signed by Author
[nice clean copy, minimal shelfwear, very slight bump to bottom rear corner; jacket has a few small tears, moderate soiling, browning/sunning to sine, about 3/8" paper loss at top of spine]. (B&W photographs, drawings) SIGNED by the author at the top of the ffep (no inscription). A leading theatrical designer of his day, the Russian-born author (whose credits included many important productions for the Group Theatre and the Theatre Guild in the 1930s) also designed costumes, was a lighting director, and, later in life, a teacher of theatre. In this volume, an acknowledged classic, he "presents a vivid panorama of stage and screen technique, showing how styles of production change constantly in response to new audiences. It is the first adequate study of the social meaning of stage production. It analyzes the artistic relation of the stage to the screen. It describes the effect of new political ideologies on dramatic life and thought." (Although occasional reference is made to film design, it appears that Gorelik himself did not work in Hollywood until a bit later in the 1940s, receiving credit on NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART and DAYS OF GLORY, both released by RKO in 1944.) Signed by Author 
Price: 75.00 USD
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Out of the South: The Life of a People in Dramatic Form, Green, Paul
43 Green, Paul Out of the South: The Life of a People in Dramatic Form
New York/London Harper & Brothers 1939 NO First Edition Hardcover Good in Good dj 
[ex-library (the M-G-M Reading Department, with various stamps and a card pocket on the ffep), bumping at corners, fading and a tiny rip to spine cloth at top of spine; jacket heavily worn at edges, browned at spine and edges, small chunk detached at top rear hinge (held in place by new jacket protector), just fragile in general]. "From a longer list of [his] writings, Paul Green has selected and revised fifteen plays dealing with certain representative phases of Southern life. They are plays of a rural region, a region of violent contradictions, or startling beauty and blinding ugliness, and hote and love, of wealth and degraded poverty, of soaring ambition and empty death, of exquisite culture and lewd barbarism. In plays ranging from comedy and folklore to tragedy and melodrama, he tells the story of the South." The fifteen plays are: "The House of Connelly"; "The No 'count Boy"; "Saturday Night"; "The Field God"; "Quare Medicine"; "The Hot Iron"; "In Abraham's Bosom"; "Unto Such Glory"; "Supper for the Dead"; "Potter's Field"; "The Man Who Died at Twelve O'Clock"; "White Dresses"; "Johnny Johnson"; "Hymn to the Rising Sun"; and "The Lost Colony." (And out of all those, only "The House of Connelly" was ever the basis for a film: CAROLINA, produced by the Fox Film Corporation in 1934.) 
Price: 150.00 USD
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Who's Happy Now?, Hailey, Oliver
44 Hailey, Oliver Who's Happy Now?
New York Random House (c.1969) NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj 
[good solid copy, some soiling/spotting to top page edges; jacket a little rubbed/scuffed, minor fading at spine]. "A comedy with music about a boy growing up in west Texas. He watches his father, a hard-headed and hard-drinking butcher, enjoy an open relationship with both his wife and his mistress. The boy devotes his life to dissolving that relationship, determined that the father's affectgions return exclusively to the mother -- unaware that each of the three adults has desperate needs for the other two." According to the jacket blurb, the playwright had "completed the screenplay [of this play] for Universal Pictures," but no movie ever materialized. 
Price: 12.00 USD
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Angel Street: A Victorian Thriller in Three Acts, Hamilton, Patrick
45 Hamilton, Patrick Angel Street: A Victorian Thriller in Three Acts
New York Samuel French (c.1942) First Edition Hardcover Good in Good dj 
[dampstain to top edge, bleeding down a bit onto the first few pages (including photo frontispiece and title page) but otherwise not affecting the book's interior, and also causing some fading to cloth along the edges of both the front and rear covers; the jacket is stained along the top edge and both foldovers, and the spine is faded to near-unreadability, although the front panel is largely unblemished]. (4 B&W photographs) Hamilton's famous play, originally presented as "Gas Light" in England in 1938, and later filmed as GASLIGHT by M-G-M in 1944, with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. The first American stage production, documented by the photographs in this volume, starred Vincent Price as the husband scheming to drive his wife crazy (on the way to bumping her off) and Judith Evelyn as his wife/victim. Not the prettiest copy you'll ever see, but all copies (not just pretty ones) are pretty scarce. 
Price: 200.00 USD
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Flesh and Blood, Hanley, William
46 Hanley, William Flesh and Blood
New York Random House (c.1968) NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj 
[book is flawless except for a slight bump to the bottom front corner; jacket is rubbed/scuffed at edges and a bit on the front panel]. (3 B&W photographs) Drama about a close but dysfunctional family whose empty apartment building is about to be demolished. The story behind the play's production is something of an unusual footnote in theatrical/TV history: NBC, feeling at the time that CBS was outpacing it in the "prestige drama" arena, bought the play in order to broadcast its premiere, thus diverting it from its intended Broadway opening. The TV version was rehearsed and staged as though it was a "live" drama, although it was shot and broadcast on videotape (on January 26, 1968). It boasted quite an assemblage of talent: it was produced and directed by Arthur Penn (fresh off the release of BONNIE AND CLYDE, and making his first foray into TV since 1958), and the cast was comprised of Edmond O'Brien, Kim Stanley, E.G. Marshall, Robert Duvall (in a dialogueless turn as a severely disabled war vet), Suzanne Pleshette, and a very young Kim Darby. (Each of the actors is depicted in at least one of the three stills in the book.) By all accounts, it was a disaster: Variety's critic rather acerbically noted that the play would have had to run for seven months on the stage for the royalty payments to equal what Hanley reaped from the TV one-shot (reportedly $112,500), while also observing that it "would have done well to run a single week." (Piling on, the critic speculated that "it can only be supposed that no one at the network read the play before forking over the [money]," concluding that "a bad play is a bad play, and outside of rewriting there was nothing much to be done with this opus.") Alas, we may never have a chance to re-evaluate the harsh contemporary judgments, since no tape appears to have been preserved; when Penn's biographer, Nat Segaloff, reported that he hadn't been able to find a copy to look at, the director's response was "I hope you never do." 
Price: 20.00 USD
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Distant Fires, Heelan, Kevin
47 Heelan, Kevin Distant Fires
New York Dramatists Play Service Inc. (c.1993) Unstated printing Stapled wraps Near Fine 
[barely discernible rippling to upper part of book, in the front cover and the first few pages]. (B&W photo frontispiece) Drama centering around the competition between a white man and a black man for a promotion to a union bricklaying job, against a background of rioting in the slums of Cambridge, Massachusetts (based on an actual incident in 1967). The play received its world premiere in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1986, and although it was subsequently performed several times in other cities, its most notable production was off-Broadway in 1992 at the Circle in the Square, which production was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award. A Los Angeles production the following year (with Samuel L. Jackson and Mykelti Williamson in leading roles) was also well-received. 
Price: 25.00 USD
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The Autumn Garden, Hellman, Lillian
48 Hellman, Lillian The Autumn Garden
Boston Little, Brown and Company (c.1951) NO Book Club Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Lester Peterson 
[book is tight and clean, with just a touch of crimping to spine ends; jacket is edgeworn, lightly stained at corners of rear panel]. "The scene is the Tuckerman house in a town on the Gulf of Mexico, a hundred miles from New Orleans; the time, the present." The Tuckermans are "nice people, handsome people, decent people but, except for realistic young Sophie and no less realistic Grandmother Ellis, people who have let life pass them by." Hellman drew on personal memories of time she had spent at the boardinghouse of her aunts. Dashiell Hammett was Hellman's uncredited collaborator, and it's been said that this was her favorite among her plays. 
Price: 8.00 USD
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The Haunted Inn: A Drama in Four Acts [aka "The Idle Inn], Hirshbein, Peretz (translated from the Yiddish by Isaac Goldberg)
49 Hirshbein, Peretz (translated from the Yiddish by Isaac Goldberg) The Haunted Inn: A Drama in Four Acts [aka "The Idle Inn]
Boston John W. Luce & Company (c.1921) NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [solid book, moderate bumping to corners (with slight exposure of boards, more so at the bottom corners than the top), a little discoloration to spine cloth, staining on pp. 4-5, one diagonally-creased top page corner]. This play ("Di Puste Kretshme" in Yiddish), written in 1912, became the inaugural production of New York's Jewish Art Theatre in 1919, and was such a hit that it "was soon the talk not only of the Yiddish reviewers, but also of the critics of the English press"; an English-language version, with Jacob Ben-Ami reprising his starring role, opened on Broadway (under the title "The Idle Inn") in December 1921. It was given a production as recently as 2013, in New York (as simply "The Inn"), and I can't resist quoting one of the promotional blurbs from that presentation: "The shtetl turns uncanny in Hirschbein's classic of Yiddish life. You might be expecting the farm life, the chicken-plucking and the arranged marriage, but not the S&M lust and the body-snatching wedding guests." 
Price: 50.00 USD
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Sinclair Lewis's Dodsworth; dramatized by Sidney Howard, Howard, Sidney
50 Howard, Sidney Sinclair Lewis's Dodsworth; dramatized by Sidney Howard
New York Harcourt, Brace and Company (c.1934) NO Unstated edition Hardcover Very Good- in Very Good- dj 
[some spotting/foxing to cloth, otherwise a solid decent copy with only light shelfwear; jacket browned at edges and spine, minor paper loss at spine ends]. (B&W photographs) Dramatization of Lewis's 1929 novel, with an Introduction by the playwright and a lengthy essay, "The Art of Dramatization," by Lewis himself, which takes up almost one-quarter of the book and incorporates a lengthy (about 40 pages) excerpt from the novel and a reproduction of a page of the working script for the play, with annotations by director Robert Sinclair. The play ran a respectable 147 performances in its original Broadway production (February-June 1934), and was almost immediately revived for another 168-performance run which ended in January of the following year. In mid-1935 it was announced that Samuel Goldwyn had bought the film rights for a then-record $150,000; the movie version, directed by William Wyler and with star Walter Huston brilliantly reprising his stage role, was released in September 1936. Wyler, Huston and playwright-turned-screenwriter Howard were all nominated for Academy Awards. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Inge, William
51 Inge, William The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
New York Random House (c.1958) First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj 
[nice clean book with minimal shelfwear; jacket a bit scuffed and edgeworn]. (B&W photo frontispiece) Drama about family conflicts in a small Oklahoma town in the 1920s. The original Broadway production, directed by Elia Kazan, ran for a little over a year and received a Tony nomination as Best Play; a film version with Robert Preston and Dorothy McGuire, directed by Delbert Mann, was released in 1960. Introduction by Tennessee Williams, who lauds the play's "perceptive and tender humanity." 
Price: 25.00 USD
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Grease: A New 50's Rock 'n Roll Musical, Jacobs, Jim, and Warren Casey
52 Jacobs, Jim, and Warren Casey Grease: A New 50's Rock 'n Roll Musical
New York Winter House Ltd. (c.1972) Book Club Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Near Fine dj 
[nice tight clean copy, very minor wear to bottom edge; jacket shows just a bit of surface wear]. (B&W photographs) Book and lyrics (no music) of the hit musical play, that pretty much kick-started the whole Fifties nostalgia thing. If there's a Johnny Rocket's or a Cafe 50's near you, thank the guys who wrote this. 
Price: 10.00 USD
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The Fantasticks (suggested by a play, "Les Romanesques" by Edmund Rostand), Jones, Tom (book & lyrics), and Harvey Schmidt (music)
53 Jones, Tom (book & lyrics), and Harvey Schmidt (music) The Fantasticks (suggested by a play, "Les Romanesques" by Edmund Rostand)
New York Drama Book Shop 1964 (1967) 2nd printing Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Robert Benton 
[nice and clean, a hint of shelfwear; spine and front panel of jacket show some irregular darkening, otherwise very nice]. Book and lyrics [not the music] for the long-long-long-long-running musical. (++) 
Price: 25.00 USD
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The Live Wire: A Comedy in Three Acts, Kanin, Garson
54 Kanin, Garson The Live Wire: A Comedy in Three Acts
New York Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (c.1951, 1948) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good dj 
[light wear to extremities, old yellow tape-stains on both endpapers from former taping-down of jacket, large "Submitted by William Morris Agency" label on ffep; jacket shows light soiling, tiny tears at several corners, tape marks on both flaps (tape itself is no longer present), shallow chip at top of rear panel]. Comedy about "a group of young actors who have pooled their resources and hopes and live together in a Quonset hut in the Broadway theater district, [existing] by a system of mutual interdependence, until a heartless fourflusher joins them and comes near to putting their experiment out of business." The original New York production, under the sponsorship of Michael Todd, opened in 1950, with Scott McKay in the lead as the aforementioned fourflusher, and ran for just 28 performances; in 1959 it was announced by 20th Century-Fox that a screen adaptation of the play (written by Michael and Fay Kanin) would be Elvis Presley's first film after he got out of the U.S. Army, but alas (I guess) 'twas not to be, as he re-upped his movie career with G.I. BLUES instead. (But Fox went ahead and made the movie anyway, a year or so later, re-titled THE RIGHT APPROACH and with the setting changed to a converted nightclub in the Hollywood Hills.) 
Price: 40.00 USD
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If Men Played Cards as Women Do; a comedy in one act, Kaufman, George S.
55 Kaufman, George S. If Men Played Cards as Women Do; a comedy in one act
New York/London Samuel French (c.1923, 1926) Reprint Stapled wraps Near Fine 
[nice clean copy, minimal edgewear only]. (French's International Copyrighted Edition of the Works of the Best Authors, No. 548) Series Early one-acter by Kaufman, just 8 pages long, plus 4 pages (including back cover) of blurbs for other short plays published by French. Prefaced by an "Author's Impertinence," to wit: "It is perhaps unnecessary to remark that the sketch derives its entire value from the fact that it is played in forthright and manly fashion. In other words, the [four all-male] actors must not imitate the voices of women." 
Price: 20.00 USD
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I'd Rather Be Right; a musical revue, Kaufman, George S., & Moss Hart; lyrics by Lorenz Hart
56 Kaufman, George S., & Moss Hart; lyrics by Lorenz Hart I'd Rather Be Right; a musical revue
New York Random House (c.1937) 4th printing Hardcover Very Good+ Illustrated by (photographs) VanDamm Studio 
(no dust jacket) [light wear to extremities, top corners a bit bumped]. (4 B&W photographs) Depression-era political satire set in New York's Central Park on July 4. Franklin D. Roosevelt, played in the original production by George M. Cohan, is a major character, and the play depicts numerous characters from FDR's inner circle: Frances Perkins, Henry Morgenthau, James Farley, etc. 
Price: 15.00 USD
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To the Ladies; a comedy in three acts, Kaufman, George S., and Marc Connelly
57 Kaufman, George S., and Marc Connelly To the Ladies; a comedy in three acts
New York Samuel French (c.1923) French's Standard Library Edition Softcover Very Good 
[moderate wear to edges and corners, internally unmarked, age-toning to first and last pages, one tiny stain on rear cover]. (B&W photographs) Kaufman and Connelly's second collaboration, this bit of froth ran for a respectable 128 performances in early 1922, with Otto Kruger and Helen Hayes in the leads. Apparently the only publication of this play, which was later adapted for the screen as ELMER AND ELSIE (Paramount, 1934). 
Price: 75.00 USD
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The Love-Rogue; a poetic drama in three acts, Kemp, Harry (transmuted from the Spanish of Tirso de Molina)
58 Kemp, Harry (transmuted from the Spanish of Tirso de Molina) The Love-Rogue; a poetic drama in three acts
New York Lieber & Lewis 1923 1st [U.S.] Edition Hardcover Good 
(no dust jacket) [quite a decent copy despite a bit of soiling and light staining to yellow decorated cloth covers, darkening to spine cloth, and some weakness at the front hinge]. Translation of the Spanish play about the last days of Don Juan, originally published circa 1630, and by general agreement the first printed work to feature the character. The translator relates in his lengthy and interesting introduction how he became obsessed with the Don Juan legend starting at the age of twelve, when he discovered Byron's epic poem among his father's books; a bit later he learned to his astonishment that it was "anything else but a common synthesis of folklore and tradition," as he'd assumed, but rather that "the character of Don Juan was created and given to the world by the old Spanish dramatist, Fray or Father Gabriel Tellez, who wrote his many plays under the pen-name of Tirso de Molina." His scholarly plunge into Don Juanland seems to have been kicked off in earnest when he discovered a copy of the Tellez play, originally entitled "El Burlador de Sevilla," at Brentano's bookshop in New York; eventually, he writes, he made his way "through the thousand and one plays, novels, operas, stories and poems stolen from the good old Spanish priest's original and first creation." He uses "stolen" quite pointedly, because in his view Tellez was something like the Rodney Dangerfield of Spanish dramatists: he gets no respect (and no credit) for his creation, despite its enduring popularity throughout Western culture. It should be noted that scholars generally don't accept his assertion that the character was completely invented by Tellez. As a reviewer of the time put it, "Mr. Kemp, on the whole, has been the martyr to his enthusiasm" -- and he certainly lends credence to that interpretation, describing in his introduction how he virtually stayed indoors and lived on rye bread, cheese and coffee for three months while translating -- excuse me, "transmuting" -- the play, at times imagining that "the old Spanish priest who had written the original stood over me, a grey, phantom figure, and aided my thought and guided my pen." (Too much rye bread will have that effect.) Includes a bibliography of over 100 plays and other works featuring Don Juan from 1627 (the date he assigns to the Tellez work) through 1921. 
Price: 25.00 USD
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Detective Story; a play in three acts, Kingsley, Sidney
59 Kingsley, Sidney Detective Story; a play in three acts
New York Random House (c.1949) First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Sol Immerman 
[light wear to spine ends and bottom edge, bottom front corner slightly bumped, vintage bookplate on front pastedown; jacket shows moderate edgewear, shallow chipping along top and bottom edges, small tears at several corners, minor paper loss at base of spine, a little faded at spine, light dampstaining at bottom corners of rear panel, short diagonal crease at bottom corner of rear flap]. (B&W photographs by John Swope) Hit melodrama set in a New York City police station. Filmed by William Wyler in 1951, with the Broadway lead (Ralph Bellamy) replaced by Kirk Douglas. 
Price: 15.00 USD
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The Red Robins; a play, Koch, Kenneth
60 Koch, Kenneth The Red Robins; a play
New York Performing Arts Journal Publications (c.1979) 0933826052 / 9780933826052 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine 
(no dust jacket, as issued) [tight and clean, minor wear to bottom corners]. (B&W photographs) Adaptation, by the poet, of his own novel. (Two of the sets depicted in the book's six photos were designed by artist Red Grooms.) 
Price: 7.00 USD
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