About The Book
Three American theater classics by two of our most revered playwrights.
Once in a Lifetime is a highly charged satire about three small-time vaudevillians who set out for Hollywood. There, their wild luck, the incompetence of the producers, and the haywire atmosphere of the burgeoning film industry conspire to their great success.
The 1936 Pulitzer Prize winner You Can’t Take It With You is the tale of a zany but lovable family of hobby-horse enthusiasts. For thirty-five years Grandpa has done nothing but hunt snakes, throw darts, and avoid income-tax payments; his son-in-law makes fireworks in the basement, and other assorted family members write plays, operate amateur printing presses, and play the xylophone. They live in delightfully comic eccentricity until Alice brings home her straitlaced Wall Street boyfriend.
The Man Who Came to Dinner opened in 1939 to become one of the longest-running hits in the history of Broadway. It portrays an eminent lecturer who unwillingly accepts a dinner invitation in a small Ohio town, slips on the ice outside his hosts’ home, and is forced immediately to their sickbed. While convalescing well beyond his stay of welcome, he turns the house of his indignant hosts into bedlam with his hilarious friends and diabolic pranks.
Also included in this volume are ‘men at Work” and “Forked Lightning,” two essays Kaufman and Hart wrote about each other.
“Kaufman and Hart may be the American comic successors to Moli’re. These three plays are still delightfully heady comedy which should bring delight to readers. . . . The comedic hallmarks of these two masters, that is, the scenes overcrowded with simultaneous actions from multiple characters in a fine, spontaneous burst, to wise cracks, the fun-tuned construction of lines and the innocent ingenuous but totally devastating remark, are simple to find and appreciate in this panorama.”—H. Alan Pickrell, Jr.