Theatre

Audrey Wood and the Playwrights by M. Barranger

By M. Barranger

From Tennessee Williams and Carson McCullers to Arthur Kopit and Brian Friel, agent Audrey wooden inspired and guided the original abilities of playwrights within the Broadway theatre of her day. Her quiet selection and burning enthusiasm introduced America's most interesting mid-century playwrights to prominence and changed level historical past.

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She paid monthly bills on his New York apartment and the house in Key West, paid his taxes and made end-of-the year charitable contributions, and monitored his sister Rose Williams’s personal account. Moreover, she answered requests for photographs, autographs, appearances, and lectures often with a standard reply: “unfortunately, Mr. Williams is traveling in Europe where it is difficult for him to receive mail,” or, “Mr. ”33 During preparations for the December opening of A Streetcar Named Desire, Audrey’s workload for her client was intensified by a regional production of Summer and Smoke at Margo Jones’s theater-in-the-round in Dallas.

14 Startled by his abruptness, she declined the invitation, citing her responsibilities to her own agency and business partner. With the confidence of a man who always gets his way whether casting the ideal actress or a business partner, Liebling announced that he would postpone his decision for a time. Following on the heels of Audrey’s second encounter with William Liebling, Doris Frankel announced that she was pregnant and had decided that she could not continue as partner in the agency. Coincidences, which Audrey regarded as a tired device that skilled playwrights avoided, began to accumulate.

Liebling’s dilemma was compounded by the fact that both Harris and Abbott, theatrical royalty, were not inclined to be the first to pick up the telephone to discuss the property. ”3 Abbott then called Harris and learned that he was not interested in producing the play a second time. With Sam Harris out of the picture, Abbott was determined to produce and direct the comedy himself. It was Audrey’s turn to draw up production contracts for Murray and Boretz—the first of many authors’ contracts generated by Liebling-Wood.

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