Photos by Joan Marcus
The play is an entertaining ship of fools with a lot of selfish, greedy people aboard. It peers into the lives of a group of New Yorkers during the Great Depression. As a social-climbing Park Avenue hostess hurriedly organizes a dinner party in honor of visiting English nobility, the play goes skipping around the city to reveal the background of each of the invited guests and the business intrigues and clandestine romantic entanglements that link them all together. By the time dinner is served, the audience is in on everyone's dirty little secrets!
When George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber began their 24-year professional partnership with the play Minick in 1924, they were at the height of their individual and flourishing careers. Ferber had won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel So Big and was in the midst of writing Show Boat. Kaufman's tremendous output as playwright included co-authoring Merton of the Movies and Beggar on Horseback (both with Marc Connelly), and the hugely successful The Cocoanuts, starring the Marx Brothers. Kaufman and Ferber--who both began their careers as journalists--went on to create some of the finest plays of the early 20th century, including the perennial favorites The Royal Family (1927), Dinner At Eight (1932) and Stage Door (1936).
GEORGE S. KAUFMAN (1889-1961) wrote dozens of popular Broadway shows. Because almost all of them were written with co-authors, Kaufman became known as 'The Great Collaborator.' His many hits include Once In A Lifetime, You Can't Take It With You, The Man Who Came To Dinner (all written with Moss Hart) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Of Thee I Sing (written with Morrie Ryskind, and George and Ira Gershwin).
EDNA FERBER (1887-1968) was a best-selling novelist whose books include the Pulitzer Prize winner So Big, Show Boat (on which the landmark musical is based), Saratoga Trunk, Cimarron and Giant, which sold over five million copies and was adapted into the now-classic film starring James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor).
George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber