George S. Kaufman

Definition

Theater

  • (1889 - 1961) US playwright, director, and critic, whodominated Broadway between the two world wars. Between 1903 and 1961he wrote or collaborated on at least 70 plays and film scripts, includingseveral for the Marx Brothers. He was also a member of the AlgonquinRound Table of Wits. As a reviewer for the New York Times Kaufmanproved to be a sharp critic. He wrote of one comedy:
    There was scattered laughter in the rear of the theater,leading to the belief that somebody was telling jokes back there.

    After watching an unfortunate actor named Guido Nadzo, hewrote:

    Guido Nadzo is nadzo guido.
    Kaufman's cracks were legendary. He told the lyricist andplaywright Howard Dietz:
    I understand your new play is full of single entendre.

    Once when bored during a play, he whispered to the woman infront of him:

    Madam, would you mind putting on your hat?

    When asked to write his own epitaph, he replied:

    Over my dead body.
    Kaufman's first successful play, written with Marc Connelly,was Dulcy (1921). Other notable works included Of Thee I Sing(1931), with the Gershwin brothers, Dinner at Eight (1932), withEdna Ferber, and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939), with Moss Hart. Because he had only two successful solo efforts, he became known as theGreat Collaborator.
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