Play Doctor


Play Doctor
   The term refers to an individual (usually a playwright) who works over another writer's script to make it viable for production or who steps in to observe rehearsals of another writer's play to offer criticisms, usually at the behest of the producer or director. Seldom does the play doctor claim public credit for the changes. Many established playwrights served as play doctors, including George M. Cohan, George Abbott, Harriet Ford, and Channing Pollock. It is widely believed that Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse* significantly rewrote Joseph Kesselring's* Arsenic and Old Lace* (1941), transforming it into a long-running hit. Neil Simon,* one of the most successful comic writers of the 1960s-1980s, was nicknamed "Doc" Simon by friends and coworkers for his skill as a play doctor.
   See also Hopwood, Avery.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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