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A Thousand Clowns

A Thousand Clowns
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Herb Gardner
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 121
Pub. Date: 1962
ISBN-10: 0573616574
ISBN-13: 9780573616570
Cast Size: 1 female, 4 male, 12 year-old boy

About the Play:

A Thousand Clowns has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues, Female/Female Scenes, and Male/Male Scenes.

A Thousand Clowns is a full-length comedy by Herb Gardner. Murray believes in living life fully, even if that means going to the movies instead of looking for a job. Unfortunately, his eccentric, carefree nature makes him a questionable role model while raising his precocious nephew in New York City. When child services knocks on his door, Uncle Murray must make a rather big decision: hold on to the kid, or hold on to his life of free-spirited fun.

A Thousand Clowns takes place over the course of two days, in a one-room apartment on the Lower West Side of Manhattan. This classic-and subversive-comedy, produced one of the theatre's most beloved roles: unconventional Murray Burns, bachelor uncle to twelve-year-old genius nephew, Nick Burns. Tired of writing cheap comedy gags for "Chipper the Chipmunk", a children's television star, Murray finds himself unemployed with plenty of free time with which to pursue his... pursuits. Lectured by his conventional brother Arnold and hounded by "the system", Murray is paid a visit by bickering, uptight social workers from the Bureau of Child Welfare, Sandra and Albert, and finds himself solving their problems as well as most of his own. A Thousand Clowns is an extraordinarily funny play with brilliantly offbeat lines and situations.

A Thousand Clowns premiered in 1962 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Broadway in New York City. The author's first first full-length play, it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play and was so successful commercially that Herb Gardner, named the most promising playwright of 1961-62, was able to turn to playwriting full-time. Before Magnum, P.I. and before Three Men and a Baby, actor Tom Selleck fell in love with the play A Thousand Clowns, often choosing to do scenes from it in acting classes. He agreed to break his celluloid-only streak to make his stage debut in a 2001 revival on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional, middle school, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 1 female, 4 male, 12 year-old boy

What people say:

"Would be a standout comedy in any season. Filled with laughter and warmth and sweetness and inspired daffiness. One of the quintessential New York comedies." — New York Daily News

"An extraordinarily funny play with some brilliantly offbeat lines." — The New York Post

About the Playwright:

Herb Gardner (1934-2003) was an American commercial artist, cartoonist, playwright and screenwriter. Born in Brooklyn, he was educated at the New York High School of the Performing Arts, the Carnegie Institute of Technology and Antioch College. He first came to public attention in the 1950s as the author of The Nebbishes, a nationally syndicated comic strip about social gadflies, which he retired in 1960 to concentrate on writing. Best known for his Broadway hits A Thousand Clowns, I'm Not Rappaport and Conversations With My Father, he wrote few plays but their undeniable humour and commercial appeal made him among the most produced playwrights worldwide.

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