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Edward Albee's 'The Ballad of the Sad Cafe Examined'

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Edward Albee's 'The Ballad of the Sad Cafe Examined'


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This is a vibrant discussion of Edwarde Albee's new (1963) play "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" shortly after it opened in New York City. In closely-reasoned dispute are the play's director, Alan Schneider; and respected theater professionals Harold Clurman and Robert Brustein.

At this time Alan Schneider was a director on Broadway, as well as regional theater and off-Broadway, where he figured importantly in presenting the works of Samuel Beckett. Harold Clurman had been a founder of the Group Theater, a director of many significant plays including "The Member of the Wedding," and "Bus Stop" and was among the country's influential drama critics. Robert Brustein, also an important critic, became, soon after this discussion, professor of theater and English literature at Yale, where he founded the prestigious Yale Repertory Theater.

Edward Albee, author of the play under debate, was already well-known for "Zoo Story," "The Sandbox," and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for 1962.

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Robert Sanford Brustein is an American theatrical critic, producer, playwright, writer and educator. Alan Schneider was an American theatre director responsible for more than 100 theatre productions. In 1984 he was honored with a Drama Desk Special Award for serving a wide range of playwrights. James Macandrew is an actor, known for Camera Three (1955) and Honi Coles and Cholly Atkins (1965). Harold Edgar Clurman was an American theatre director and drama critic, "one of the most influential in the United States". He was most notable as one of the three founders of New York City's Group Theatre.

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