Moss Hart

Definition

Theater

  • (1904 - 61) US dramatist and director who collaboratedon a number of successful plays with George S. Kaufman.

    At the age of 15 Hart began working as an office boy for theBroadway producer Augustus Pitou, Jr, known as 'King of the One-NightStands'. His first play, The Beloved Bandit, written in 1922and produced by Pitou, had a disastrous opening night in Chicago.The curtain jammed, the set buckled, and a window came off in an actress'shands. At one point the Irish star Joseph Regan tripped and fell destroyingthe fireplace; on his next entrance he came through the hole wherethe fireplace had been, uttering the cryptic and unscripted line,"Every day's Christmas when the Irish come to town."

    Hart survived this debut to become the entertainment directorfor the borscht belt in the Catskill Mountains. His firstsuccessful play, the satire Once in a Lifetime, was extensivelyrewritten by Kaufman before being produced in 1930. Together theywrote a series of light comedies, including You Can't Take It WithYou (1936), which won the Pulitzer Prize, and The Man WhoCame to Dinner (1939).

    Among Hart's own works were Winged Victory (1943),Christopher Blake (1946), Light Up the Sky (1948), andThe Climate of Eden (1952). He directed most of his plays andseveral hits by others, such as the famous Lerner and Lowe musicalsMy Fair Lady (1956) and Camelot (1960). In 1959he published an excellent account of his early theatrical life, ActOne.

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