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Avery Hopwood: His Life and Plays

Avery Hopwood: His Life and Plays (Hardback)

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In 1920 Avery Hopwood was America's most successful playwright, achieving the distinction of having four concurrent hits on the Broadway stage. Today, however, he is best known as benefactor of the Hopwood Awards in Creative Writing, presented to student writers by his alma mater, the University of Michigan - awards that have encouraged the early writings of such celebrated authors as Marge Piercy, Arthur Miller, Frank O'Hara, and Robert Hayden, among others. Hopwood was a clever craftsman of facile wit and unflagging energy. He concocted over a score of frothy entertainments in the 1920s, such as Fair and Warmer, The Gold Diggers (which generated numerous MGM musicals), Ladies' Night (In a Turkish Bath), Getting Gertie's Garter, The Demi-Virgin, and the hugely popular mystery-thriller The Bat, coauthored with Mary Roberts Rinehart. Jack F. Sharrar's critical biography makes use of a rich array of primary sources - including Hopwood's unpublished novel and his letters to such friends as Gertrude Stein, Carl Van Vechten, and Mary Roberts Rinehart - to chronicle Hopwood's life and career. The book provides fresh insights on the playwright, his plays, and the personalities who produced and performed in them, by surveying the commercial theatre of the period. Until recently out of print, the new edition includes a foreword by Nicholas Delbanco, Director of the University of Michigan's Hopwood Awards Program; an afterword by Jack Sharrar that sheds new light on the passionate, tumultuous relationship between Hopwood and John Floyd; and many rare illustrations from American theatre history.

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