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A WAYWARD QUEST: The Autobiography of Theresa Helburn by Theresa Helburn

A WAYWARD QUEST: The Autobiography of Theresa Helburn


Publisher: Little, Brown

The story of a woman who was a theatrical dynamo, this autobiography (finished shortly before her death) is also the story of the Theater Guild, the organization which substantially altered the character of American theater. Theresa Helburn was a well-educated, well-traveled young lady determined to be a writer. Stage-struck, she dallied with the Washington Square Players but instead found herself rearing a play-producing organization which eventually became the raison d'etre of her life. Her book is a companion piece to Clurman's The Fervent Years, for the Guild was to theater production what the Group Theater was to the art of acting. The Guild brought the work of men like G. B. Shaw and Eugene O'Neill as well as many European authors to American attention, launched the first great musicals (Oklahoma and Carousel), established the practice of subscription support. Miss Helburn discusses with fine literacy her ideas on the theater and what makes a good play, her system of casting (""from the pit of my stomach""), and records some historic correspondence. Her autobiography is an informal handbook on the growth of the theater and Terry Helburn's role was a stellar one.