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The Front Page

The Front Page
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 146
Pub. Date: 2010
ISBN-10: 0573609128
ISBN-13: 9780573609121
Cast Size: 5 women, 17 men

About the Play:

The Front Page was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

The Front Page is a full-length comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. A managing editor of a Chicago newspaper fights to keep his star reporter on the story of a condemned anarchist's jailbreak, when the reporter is ready to quit and get married. An irresistible comedy with thrills and derring do set in the news room.

The Front Page is set inside the crowded pressroom at Chicago's Criminal Courts Building during the 1920s, where reporters from competing papers cover a controversial execution and expose the rampant corruption, scandal and hi-jinx associated with Windy City politics and journalism. Star reporter Hildy Johnson wants to break away from journalism and go on a belated honeymoon. There is a jailbreak and into Hildy's hands falls the condemned murderer. He conceals the escapee as hostage in a roll-top desk in the reporters' shared office and phones his scoop to his managing editor. Their job is to prevent other reporters and the sheriff from opening the desk and finding their story. Some hoodlums are enlisted to remove the desk, but they get mixed up with a Boy Scout troop and the mayor and a cleaning woman, among others. It's a whirlwind wrap up with Hildy finally making his breakaway, but the cynical managing editor has him arrested before he leaves town for having stolen a watch he planted on Hildy. A landmark comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, two ex-newsman who knew the game and how to write about it. The authors' expert plotting and rapid-fire, streetwise dialogue delighted audiences and made their play an instant classic.

The Front Page premiered in 1928 at the Times Square Theatre on Broadway in New York City. It spawned four Broadway revivals, has been adapted multiple times for film and television, and has remained an enduring audience favourite that is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 5 women, 17 men

What people say:

"In the classic stage comedy The Front Page – the best play about newspapering ever written – Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur found in the gaggle of rascally newshounds in 1928 Chicago a rich vein for farce, with flourishes of melodrama and satire." — The Washington Post

"Gorgeously melodramatic. One of the funniest and most exciting of American plays." — The New York Times

"Fast, explosive, funny." — ABC-TV

About the Playwright:

Ben Hecht (1894-1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, and novelist. He was a prolific storyteller, authored 25 books and created some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. Called "the Shakespeare of Hollywood," he received screen credits for the stories or screenplays of some 65 films. But he was also the first great script-doctor and his uncredited hand can be found in 146 films, including Gone With the Wind and Casino Royale.

Charles MacArthur (1895-1956) was an American playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for his play with Ben Hecht, The Front Page, which has been filmed frequently. It was based in part on MacArthur's experiences at the City News Bureau of Chicago.

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