American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1930-1969: v.3: 1930-69

This book concludes Gerald Bordman's survey of American non-musical theatre. It deals with the years 1930 to 1970, a period when the production of new plays was declining, but, at the same time, a period when American drama fully entered the world stage and became a dominant presence. Despite the looming presence of the film industry, this period was a golden age rich in plays, playwrights, and performers. From Eugene O'Neill's A Long Day's Journey into Night and Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire to Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, American theatre finally reached adulthood both dramatically and psychologically. In addition, many brilliant acting careers were launched or climaxed on the American stage, including Henry Fonda and Jessica Tandy, and foreign stars, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. Bordman's study covers every Broadway production, and, increasingly in the 1950s and 1960s, every major off-Broadway show. His discussion moves season by season and show by show in chronological order; he offers plot synopses and details the physical production, directors, players, theaters, and newspaper reviews. Bordman stops at 1970, because, in his view, the decline in quantity and quality had reached an all time low, with British playwrights providing the only memorable dramas on the English-speaking stage. This book and the preceding volumes of The American Theatre stands as the standard history of American drama in all its aspects.