Shaw on the American Stage

Shaw on the American Stage
   The slow, steady acceptance of the plays of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) on the American stage began in the mid-1890s with his least controversial works: Arms and the Man, produced at the Herald Square Theatre in 1894, and The Devil's Disciple, staged at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in 1897. Richard Mansfield was the driving force behind these early Shaw productions in the United States, but in the last days of the 19th century, actor-manager Arnold Daly offered a series of Shaw's plays beginning with Candida, which he first presented in Chicago in 1899 (the play had been seen in two amateur productions prior to this one) and later in Philadelphia in 1903, followed by a New York run later that year. Daly also produced other Shavian works, including The Man of Destiny (1904), You Never Can Tell (1905), and John Bull's Other Island (1905). Mainstream audiences were clearly attracted to the vaguely scandalous reputation of Shaw, a socialist and women's rights advocate inspired by the plays of Henrik Ibsen, but when Daly presented Shaw's controversial Mrs. Warren's Profession at the Garrick Theatre in October 1905, he and Mary Shaw, the play's star, were arrested for indecency through the efforts of Anthony Comstock's Society for the Suppression of Vice and a flurry of editorials in newspapers. Despite Comstock's efforts, the play was performed and drew substantial audiences.
   Shaw's plays were not always appreciated in England, as was the case with his Androcles and the Lion, which was hissed at its London premiere, but American audiences were receptive when Harley Granville-Barker staged it in New York in 1915. Grace George produced and starred in the American premiere of Major Barbara that same year and it became one of the most frequently revived Shaw plays in the United States. Other productions of Shaw's works followed, as well as Oscar Strauss's operetta based on Arms and the Man, a popular success called The Chocolate Soldier (1921). Most of Shaw's plays premiered in England with United States productions following, but a few of his works had their initial performances in New York through the auspices of the Theatre Guild, including Heartbreak House at the Garrick Theatre in 1920 and Saint Joan, also at the Garrick, in 1923. All told, the Guild produced American premieres of seven Shavian works, also including Back to Methuselah (1922) and The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles (1935). By 1930, Shaw's plays were produced frequently on Broadway and, later, became staples of repertory theatres emerging after 1960 across the United States. Shaw's influence on American drama can be seen to a greater or lesser degree in the works of a range of playwrights, including Clyde Fitch, Langdon Mitchell, Edward Sheldon, Eugene O'Neill, Rachel Crothers, Robert E. Sherwood, Philip Barry, and S. N. Behrman, among others, and many American actors made their reputations appearing in Shaw's works.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sexuality on the American Stage —    The depiction of sexuality on the American stage has always been fraught with controversy, challenging playwrights, actors, producers, and censors, not to mention audiences. By the middle of the 19th century, attention was focused on the… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Ibsen on the American stage —    The social problem plays of Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen (1828 1906) are fundamental to drama in the modern era, but from the beginning his works met with resistance from American critics and audiences. There are few parallels for a… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • foreign plays adapted to the American Stage —    Most historical melodramas in the standard repertory of touring companies in the 1880s were of foreign origin. This included plays like the English Lady of Lyons by Edward Bulwer Lytton, the German Ingomar the Barbarian by Bellinghausen, the… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Shaw, George Bernard —    See Shaw on the American Stage …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • American literature — Introduction       the body of written works produced in the English language in the United States.       Like other national literatures, American literature was shaped by the history of the country that produced it. For almost a century and a… …   Universalium

  • The Andrews Sisters — Left to right: Maxene, Patty, LaVerne Background information Origin Minnesota, United States …   Wikipedia

  • The Clancy Brothers — and Tommy Makem The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in the 1960s. Background information Origin County Tipperary County Armagh, Ireland …   Wikipedia

  • American Trip — Lors du tournage du film au Cavendish Square, à …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction — The first issue (Fall 1949) had a cover illustration by Bill Stone and displayed George Salter s calligraphic logo. Salter (1897 1967) had been the art director for Mercury Publications since 1939. He was F SF s art editor from 1949 until 1958.… …   Wikipedia

  • The Next Food Network Star — Logo for the third season Format Reality, Cooking Presented by …   Wikipedia