By M. Barranger
From Tennessee Williams and Carson McCullers to Arthur Kopit and Brian Friel, agent Audrey wooden inspired and guided the original abilities of playwrights within the Broadway theatre of her day. Her quiet decision and burning enthusiasm introduced America's best mid-century playwrights to prominence and changed degree background.
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Additional resources for Audrey Wood and the Playwrights
22 30 Audrey Wood and the Playwrights Six months after their correspondence began, Williams appeared in the offices of Liebling-Wood. Unshaven, broke, and disheveled, he sat quietly on Liebling’s bench to watch the soft-spoken casting agent interview a roomful of chorus girls for a musical. ” Williams replied to the reputed King of Forty-fifth Street, saying, that he didn’t want anything today, except to meet Miss Wood. ” He nodded, “If your name is Audrey Wood, I do. ”23 Audrey remembered the young Tennessee as speaking with a soft Southern accent and having a slight build, looking like a teenage country boy in contrast to his rather athletic appearance in the photograph that he sent from Laguna Beach.
Determined to secure Abbott for his clients, Liebling had to circumvent Sam Harris who, as producer of the failed Philadelphia tryout, still had first refusal of the revised script. Liebling’s dilemma was compounded by the fact that both Harris and Abbott, theatrical royalty, were not inclined to be the first to pick up the telephone to discuss the property. ”3 Abbott then called Harris and learned that he was not interested in producing the play a second time. With Sam Harris out of the picture, Abbott was determined to produce and direct the comedy himself.
Then, she gently voiced her single reservation: “It’s written in two acts. ” He countered with his decision to begin with a prologue or write a long one-act for the ending and Audrey insisted, “This play has tremendous potential, but it has to be finished. It can’t end with Big Daddy’s speech. ”39 Her client balked. After she returned to New York, and many letters later, a manuscript arrived with a third act that focused on Brick and Maggie’s story. Produced by the Playwrights’ Company (Cheryl Crawford had other commitments), Brooks Atkinson ranked Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955 as Williams “finest drama,” so “limpid and effortless” that it seemed “not to have been written.