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LONDON WALL premiered in 1931 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, one of five plays by John Van Druten that enjoyed success in London in the early 30’s. The play was acclaimed for its deftly etched characters and richly detailed atmosphere, yet it languished in obscurity until London’s Finborough Theater successfully revived it in 2013. One year later our warmly-received production marked the play’s American premiere.
Best known today for such midcentury Broadway hits as Old Acquaintance, The Voice of the Turtle, I Remember Mama, Bell, Book and Candle, and I Am a Camera (which inspired the classic Broadway musical Cabaret), John Van Druten wrote deftly observed, character-driven plays that ranged from the realistic atmosphere of his early West End plays, to the sentimental charm of his wartime hits, to the daring allurements of his final works.
“The key character in WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS is a driven media tycoon who reaches millions via dozens of publications. Through them, he seeks to entertain the many and influence the mighty. Not much has changed since Arnold Bennett wrote this in 1909. Now the play has been rescued from oblivion by the Mint Theater in a compelling, well-acted production. “1
In his lifetime, Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) ranked among the most influential and prolific authors in the world. His work spanned nearly every category: novels, plays, screenplays, short stories, essays, travelogues, war dispatches, reviews, pocket philosophies, and how-to books. His novels were perennial best-sellers; his plays ran for hundreds of performances and his weekly book review was so powerful that it could make or break an author’s reputation.
In 2007 THE MADRAS HOUSE was seen by New York audiences for the first time since 1921. The production continued Mint’s work in championing Harley Granville Barker’s neglected drama in the U.S., after producing the American Premiere of THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE, in 1999
It would be hard to exaggerate the seminal role played by the actor, director, playwright and polemicist Harley Granville-Barker (1877-1946) in the development of 20th-century British theatre.
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