VOICES OFFSTAGE by Marc Connelly


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Some priceless recollections here by the playwright who moved an audience into Green Pastures. Now in his seventies, Mr. Connelly collaborated with George Kaufman to produce vehicles for Lynn Fontanne, Helen Hayes, among others. His ambition was largely inherited from an ex-actor father who ran a boarding house in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a place that provided many a weary trouper with needed support. One eminent guest was the earliest showman, Buffalo Bill. Inspired, Marc wrote his way through grade and boarding school and then off to Manhattan and life on $2.00 per week. But soon he had gained access to W. C. Field's twenty-four-hour backstage bar and consorted with everyone from Legs Diamond to Texas Guinan to the Algonquin Round Table with its inspired stunts and bon mots. There are dozens of marvelous anecdotes here--David Belasco with his demand for photographic realism in sets; the time Dorothy Parker pretended she was pregnant or Norma Talmadge saved her butler; the day Sweden's Prince William refused to enter the elevator; the night Jascha Heifetz decided to fiddle in a corner bistro. And of course there were the plays, trips to Europe, meetings with everyone from Bet Lillie to William Faulkner. One only wishes that the Voices Offstage could take a curtain call.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 1968
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston