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The Grand Manner

The Grand Manner
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: A.R. Gurney
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 58
Pub. Date: 2011
ISBN-10: 082222514X
ISBN-13: 9780822225140
Cast Size: 2 women, 2 men

About the Play:

The Grand Manner is a full-length comedic drama by A.R. Gurney. The author's semi-autobiographical look across the footlights at his youth and encounter with American theatrical royalty. The play is a tribute to the Golden Age of Broadway about Katherine Cornell, the first lady of the American stage, and her husband, director, Guthrie McClintic.

The Grand Manner depicts a boyhood meeting with a legendary actress on Broadway in 1948. Playwright A.R. Gurney, then a young boarding-school student, travelled to New York where he attended a performance of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Raised in Buffalo, New York, as was the production's star, the 18-year-old Gurney used that connection to talk his way backstage, where he met meet the great stage actress Katharine Cornell, who was dubbed "The First Lady of the American Stage" by the legendary critic Alexander Woollcott. While they spent only a short time together, the visit had a long-lasting and profound impact on the playwright. Sixty years after their meeting, he decided to write a play about it. A mix of remembrance and imagination, The Grand Manner is a love letter to this fabled actress and a heartfelt look back at the glorious heyday of the Broadway theatre.

The Grand Manner premiered in 2010 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in Lincoln Center off-Broadway in New York City. The play has been performed in regional repertory, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 2 women, 2 men

What people say:

"The hidden agendas of conflicting aesthetic approaches and conflicting sexual preferences become twin eggbeaters whipping up this light, fluffy meringue of a play – which, when finally dished up, turns out to pay tribute to both the actress's old-style theatrical grandeur and the budding playwright's puckish, trickily cynical, new-style approach." — Village Voice

"…this fantasy memoir allows the author's younger, provincial self a seductive first glimpse of a world where being merely life-size isn't enough." — New York Times

"…a love letter to the theater, zeroing in on the moment when it ceded its myth-making power to the screen. Gurney also points out that icons could become imprisoned by their own image and style, and that marriages come in various shapes and forms." — New York Post

"…engaging characters and wise observances married with pure, old-fashioned charm…literate, civilized, and mature work." — BackStage

About the Playwright:

A.R. Gurney (1930-2017) is known as one of the most prolific and produced playwrights in America. His work focuses primarily on the issues and realities of middle-class American life and has been produced on international theatre stages for more than 50 years. He is also the author of three novels and a two-time Pulitzer Prize for Drama nominee, the recipient of the Drama Desk Award, and the Award of Merit from the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

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