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. This romantic drama charts the lives and loves of the women employed as shorthand typists in a bustling City law firm. It was acclaimed for its deftly etched characters and richly detailed atmosphere and ran for 170 performances before being made into a movie called “After Office Hours” featuring most of its West End cast.
LONDON WALL tells the story of Pat Milligan, a naïve young typist who falls for the charms of a predatory junior lawyer. Watching with concern is the firm’s senior secretary, her too-timid suitor, and several others in the office. Presiding over all is Mr. Walker, gamely trying to navigate a new kind of office where men and women must work side by side.
“The Mint has just mounted the U.S. premiere of his "London Wall," a 1931 comedy set in a London law office. This witty, glisteningly crafted tale of a quartet of working women and the benighted men for whom they work has a distinctly contemporary flavor, enough that you'll come away wondering whether Van Druten might deserve credit for inventing the workplace comedy decades before it found favor on TV.” (Wall Street Journal)
LONDON WALL had its first London revival last year when an enthusiastically received production had a brief, sold-out run at the tiny Finborough Theatre before transferring.
“Writing this 1931 play, set in a law office, the playwright John Van Druten (“Bell, Book and Candle”) was prescient in his examination of the workplace as an evolving social construct, which provides a kind of family but is also fraught with the dangers of economic and sexual exploitation..” (The New Yorker)
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John Van Druten: Sex and the Single Girl
- Saturday, February 8, after the matinee
- Maya Cantu is a dramaturg, scholar and theater historian devoted to the revitalization of forgotten classics. She is currently completing her Doctor of Fine Arts degree at Yale School of Drama. Maya is Mint Theater's Dramaturgical Adviser and the author of the Van Druten biography that appears in our program.
William J. Mann
Author of Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood
- Sunday, February 9, after the matinee
- John Van Druten's identity as both a gay man and talented playwright led to his becoming part of a circle of eminent gay writers living in California during the 1940s and 50s, gathered around British author Christopher Isherwood. William J. Mann will discuss Van Druten's identity and significance as a gay writer. Mann is a novelist, biographer and historian. His biography Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2006.
Julie K. Berebitsky
Author of Sex and the Office: A History of Gender, Power and Desire
- Saturday, February 15, after the matinee
- LONDON WALL offers a look at women's continuing fight to be seen as professional equals in the workplace. Professor Berebitsky's new book, Sex and the Office: A History of Gender, Power and Desire is the first monograph to historicize our understanding of sexual harassment in the workplace. She currently holds positions as Professor of History and Director of the Women's Studies Program at Sewanee: The University of the South.
Margaret Boe Birns
Author of "John Van Druten" in The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama
- Sunday, February 16, after the matinee
- Margaret Boe Birns is a lecturer on English, American and European Literature of the 20th and 19th Centuries. She teaches the courses "The Novel Today" and "Masterpieces of 19th Century Fiction" at New York University and "19th Century Masterpieces: Three Great Social Novels" at The New School. She is also a published poet.
Judith R. Walkowitz
Author of Nights Out: Life in Cosmopolitan London
- Saturday, February 22, after the matinee
- The typists of LONDON WALL muse upon nights "up west" as they manage relationship and workplace pressures. Professor Walkowitz will discuss the lives—and night lives—of London shorthand typists between the wars. Her book Nights Out: Life in Cosmopolitan London reveals how London's Soho district became a showcase for a new cosmopolitan identity in the early to mid-twentieth century. Walkowitz teaches courses in British history and women's history at Johns Hopkins University.
JOHN VAN DRUTEN: A WRITER'S WRITER
Featuring treasures from the John Van Druten Papers
- Monday, March 17th at 6pm
- The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Bruno Walter Auditorium, 65th & Amsterdam
- Mint Theater Company and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts collaborate on an intimate celebration of playwright John Van Druten. Excerpts from the author's unpublished essays, letters, diary and plays will be read, exploring Van Druten's relationship with such literary peers as Tennessee Williams, Christopher Isherwood, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. This event is open to the public, no reservations required.
- Julia Coffey
- Katie Gibson
- Matthew Gumley
- Jonathan Hogan
- Laurie Kennedy
- Elise Kibler
- Stephen Plunkett
- Christopher Sears
- Alex Trow
- Director Davis McCallum
- Sets Marion Williams
- Costumes Martha Hally
- Lights Nicole Pearce
- Sound Jane Shaw
- Props Joshua Yocom
- Dialects & Dramaturgy Amy Stoller
- Casting Judy Bowman
- Assistand Director Alexander Lass
- Production Manager Sherri Kotimsky
- Production Stage Manager Allison Deutsch
- Assistant Stage Manager Andrea Jo Martin
- Illustration Stefano Imbert
- Graphics Hey Jude Design, Inc.
- Advertising The Pekoe Group
- Press David Gersten & Associates