Marc(us) (Cook) Connelly

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Publisher: Gale
Series: Dictionary of Literary Biography
Document Type: Biography
Length: 5,024 words

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About this Person
Born: December 12, 1890 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: December 21, 1980 in New York, New York, United States
Nationality: American
Occupation: Playwright
Other Names: Connelly, Marcus Cook
WORKS:

WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:

Selected Productions

  • Dulcy, by Connelly and George S. Kaufman, 13 August 1921, Frazee Theatre, New York, 246 [performances].
  • To the Ladies!, by Connelly and Kaufman, 20 February 1922, Liberty Theatre, New York, 128.
  • No, Siree!, by Connelly and Kaufman, 30 April 1922, Forty-ninth Street Theatre, New York, 1.
  • The 49ers, by Connelly and Kaufman, 7 November 1922, Punch and Judy Theatre, New York, 15.
  • Merton of the Movies, by Connelly and Kaufman, 13 November 1922, Cort Theatre, New York, 398.
  • Helen of Troy, New York, by Connelly and Kaufman, score by Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar, 19 June 1923, Selwyn Theatre, New York, 193.
  • The Deep Tangled Wildwood, by Connelly and Kaufman, 5 November 1923, Frazee Theatre, New York, 16.
  • Beggar on Horseback, by Connelly and Kaufman, adapted from Paul Apel's play, 12 February 1924, Broadhurst Theatre, New York, 224.
  • Be Yourself, by Connelly and Kaufman, score by Lewis Gensler and Milton Schwarzwald, 3 September 1924, Sam H. Harris Theatre, New York, 93.
  • The Wisdom Tooth, 15 February 1926, Little Theatre, New York, 160.
  • The Wild Man of Borneo, by Connelly and Herman J. Mankiewicz, 13 September 1927, Bijou Theatre, New York, 15.
  • The Green Pastures: A Fable, adapted from Roark Bradford's Ol' Man Adam an' His Chillun, 26 February 1930, Mansfield Theatre, New York, 640.
  • The Farmer Takes a Wife, by Connelly and Frank B. Elser, adapted from Walter D. Edmonds's Rome Haul, 30 October 1934, Forty-sixth Street Theatre, New York, 104.
  • Everywhere I Roam, by Connelly and Arnold Sundgaard, 29 December 1938, National Theatre, New York, 13.
  • The Flowers of Virtue, 5 February 1942, Royale Theatre, New York, 4.
  • A Story for Strangers, 21 September 1948, Royale Theatre, New York, 7.
  • Hunter's Moon, 26 February 1958, Winter Garden Theatre, London.
  • The Portable Yenberry, 24 May 1961, Purdue University Workshop, Lafayette, Ind., 7.

Selected Books

  • Dulcy, by Connelly and George S. Kaufman (New York: Putnam's, 1921).
  • To the Ladies!, by Connelly and Kaufman (New York & London: French, 1923).
  • Merton of the Movies, by Connelly and Kaufman (New York & London: French, 1925).
  • Beggar on Horseback, by Connelly and Kaufman, adapted from Paul Apel's play (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1925; London: Benn, 1925).
  • The Wisdom Tooth: A Fantastic Comedy (New York: French, 1927).
  • The Green Pastures: A Fable, adapted from Roark Bradford's Ol' Man Adam an' His Chillun (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1929; London: Gollancz, 1930).
  • A Souvenir from Qam (New York: Holt, Rinehart, 1965).
  • Voices Off-Stage: A Book of Memoirs (New York: Holt, Rinehart, 1968).

Screenplays

  • The Bridegroom, RKO, 1929.
  • The Uncle, RKO, 1929.
  • The Suitor, RKO, 1929.
  • The Burglar, RKO, 1929.
  • The Cradle Song, Paramount, 1933.
  • The Green Pastures, Warner Brothers, 1936.
  • Captains Courageous, by Connelly, John Mahin, and Dale Van Every, MGM, 1937.
  • I Married a Witch, by Connelly and Robert Pirosh, United Artists, 1942.
  • Reunion, RKO, 1942.

Other

  • The Mole on Lincoln's Cheek, in The Free Company Presents ... A Collection of Plays about the Meaning of America, ed. James Boyd (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1941).

Periodical Publications

  • "The Traveller," New Yorker, 2 (17 April 1926): 17-19.
  • "Ex Cathedra: A Monographic Pantomine," Theatre Arts Monthly, 10 (December 1926): 844-848.
  • There are collections of Connelly's manuscripts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at the Library of Congress.

 
BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY:

Marc Connelly is a central but not pivotal figure of twentieth-century American theatre: a man of enormous popularity but little lasting influence, of considerable instinctive talent but scant genius, of grand ideas but slight thought. Like Oscar Wilde, his unquestioned gifts are those associated with fine companionship: charm, gentility, a wealth of insightful stories, and abundant wit. Yet these qualities are unable by themselves to make his plays come alive for audiences today. If his plays (skits, screenplays, stories, and sketches) spoke with immediacy to audiences of the 1920s and 1930s, their voice is either lost within that time or obscured by that of his great collaborator, George S. Kaufman . Still, if Connelly's texts seem vapid or saccharine to the taste of the later twentieth century, they should be considered in terms of the innovations they represent. For Connelly's most enduring contribution may be that in plays like Beggar on Horseback, The Wisdom Tooth, and particularly The Green Pastures he merged the techniques of realism and expressionism for the Broadway stage into a form that was both palatable and intelligible to the Broadway theatregoer.

He came from a theatrical family. His father (Patrick Joseph Connelly) induced his mother (Mabel Louise Cook) to tour for several years following their marriage, but they finally settled in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, in 1889, after blaming the death of their first child on the rigors of travel. Marcus Cook Connelly, their only surviving child, was born the next year. He spent a pleasant childhood around the Hotel White, which his father had begun to manage while Connelly was a toddler. Through the doors of the White would regularly pass the touring actors whom he served and imitated from the age of eight. Connelly has written charmingly of his first theatrical experience. A train taking the family to Pittsburgh to see Cyrano de Bergerac played by Richard Mansfield, who was a friend from his father's acting days, arrived so late that the Connellys missed the opening act. At the play's end, to the astonishment of all, Mansfield repeated act 1 for his friends from McKeesport. The wonder and grace of it all instilled in Connelly his "early feeling that going to the theatre is like going to an unusual church, where the spirit is nourished in mysterious ways, and pure magic may occur at any moment."

When Connelly was twelve, his father died of pneumonia, and his mother's vain attempts to run the Hotel White alone forced her son to leave both school and McKeesport in 1907 and take the first in a series of newspaper jobs in Pittsburgh. Eventually, he produced a weekly column for the Pittsburgh Gazette Times entitled "Jots and Tittles," consisting of light verse and social commentary. His first professional job in the theatre came in 1914 when he wrote the lyrics for Alfred Ward Birdsall's The Lady of Luzon to the music of Zoel Parenteau. A "stage-struck steel magnate named Joseph Riter," who backed The Lady of Luzon and who had two successful New York productions already to his credit, happened to be present at the first performance and immediately commissioned him to write the lyrics and libretto for The Amber Empress (music by Zoel Parenteau). After two years of extensive rewriting by other hands, all that remained of Connelly's was "the words of two of the songs and the show's title." The play opened in New York on 19 September 1916 and failed after twenty-five performances, leaving Connelly to earn a meager living for the next five years producing free-lance reviews, theatrical promotions, and unsuccessful plays. He found himself in 1920, at the age of thirty, as a reporter for the New York Morning Telegraph with much experience but no fame or success. His most lasting accomplishment of this period may have been his friendships with highly talented and important people such as Franklin P. Adams , Robert Benchley , Harold Ross , Dorothy Parker , Alexander Woollcott , and others who favored the cheap lunches available at the Algonquin Hotel. The most immediately productive of these associations was that with George S. Kaufman , then drama editor for the New York Times and author of some moderately successful shows.

Connelly's first two collaborations with Kaufman were successful. The title role of Dulcy was suggested by a character in Franklin P. Adams 's column for the New York World, "The Conning Tower." Adams's Dulcinea was an affluent but vapid housewife, addicted to the latest fads of fashion and talk. So Dulcy Smith (originally played by Lynn Fontanne) speaks almost exclusively in the cliches and platitudes of 1921 throughout a nearly disastrous weekend party that she and her husband Gordon give for his new business partner, C. Roger Forbes, and his family. The drama turns on the progressively hapless attempts by the well-intentioned heroine to see that Forbes, in buying into Gordon's business, remunerates him with more than a sixteen and two-thirds percent share, while she deals with other guests as matchmaker, detective, and gossip. By the end of the second act, all of her efforts have failed, but luckily the play is set in the privileged and innocent world of the 1920s where each person is as kind, honest, understanding, and vacuous as the next. The principal and subordinate situations are all resolved by the end: Forbes gives Gordon twenty-five percent of the business; Forbes's daughter marries Dulcy's brother; the butler, who was thought to have stolen a necklace, is found innocent; and Dulcy promises never to meddle in her husband's business again. The chief virtue of the play is the crisp and often caustic wit of its characters who parody the manners of their privileged society. The play opened 13 August 1921, played for 246 performances, and was included in Best Plays of 1921-1922.

Dulcy's success led its authors to follow with a play from the same mold, To the Ladies! , which opened in February 1922. Like Dulcy, the play involves a high-society wife (originally played by Helen Hayes), who meddles in her husband's business affairs. In this case, the situation is reversed: it is the husband, Leonard Beebe, who is incompetent, and it is his wife, Elsie, who saves the day. Leonard and a company rival are to give speeches that will determine which man gets a promotion. Leonard cribs his speech from a book, 500 Speeches for All Occasions, only to find that his rival, who speaks first, has chosen the very same speech. Helplessly he turns to Elsie who suggests that he develop a sudden case of "laryngitis" and that she give an ex tempore speech for him. She does, of course; he gets the promotion and she gets a promise that he will not be so foolish again.

Connelly and Kaufman's The Deep Tangled Wildwood had an out-of-town tryout in May 1922 as West of Pittsburgh . It then closed and was rewritten to reopen under its new title on 5 November 1923. The story, about a writer taking a sabbatical in his old hometown, too laboriously played simple small-town virtues against the attractions of urban life. The play ran for only sixteen performances.

Between these productions came another collaboration with Kaufman, Merton of the Movies (1922), about a clerk in a general store in Simsbury, Illinois, who becomes a star in Hollywood. Merton Gill has only a bumpkin's appreciation of cinematic art and is thus set up to be ridiculed along with the entire motion picture industry. For Merton, the foremost attraction of the movies is the beauteous Beulah Baxter, the star of the Hazards of Hortense serials he had loved so much back home. She turns out to be a fraud, who, far from being the innocent waif she portrays, is in fact married for the fourth time. The loss of Merton's idealism about the movies and its stars is the focus of the play.

Merton of the Movies is significant for two reasons. The first is the deliberately cinematic shift of scenery in the play. The rapid cutting effect of the scene changes allows the play to mimic the medium it pillories. This certainly marked an advance over the relatively static settings of Connelly and Kaufman's previous plays: the audience views the play as if its four acts and six scenes were being filmed. The second distinction of the play is the emergence of the particular hero Connelly would use again: the weak, but well-intentioned and honorable character who arrives at the point of decisive or even heroic action but is either unable to take the step or does not profit from having done so. It may seem curious that someone with as positive and even innocent a world view as Connelly's would not allow his naive protagonists a final triumph of noble action. Their successes are ironic; their attitudes are cynical. For example, when Merton's attempt at a serious film becomes a mockery of his dreams (he is so bad an actor that everyone treats his performance as satire), he capitulates to the vulgarity of the medium, turns it to his advantage, and becomes a star of movie comedies by virtue of his lack of talent.

Beggar on Horseback , produced in 1924, not only made more definitive statements about what is worthwhile in art, but it also brought to Broadway the first use of a technique of expressionism: the second act contains a dream sequence which Connelly and Kaufman use to express and resolve the hero's psychological conflict. The play arose from a suggestion by Winthrop Ames, the imaginative producer, to adapt Paul Apel's Hans Sonnenstössers Höllenfahrt. Kaufman and Connelly did not adapt Apel's play, but used its expressionistic technique to fashion "a fantasy in which a young musician would go through a maze of kaleidoscopic experiences, the basic theme of which would be the ancient conflict of art and materialism."

The play is in two parts. In the first, Neil McRae, a struggling composer who wishes to write serious music but is forced to compose cheap orchestrations, is chastised by his girl friend, Cynthia, for demeaning himself. When a friend advises him that the best solution to his situation is for him to marry his rich piano student, Gladys Cady, he proposes at the very next opportunity. His meeting with her nouveau riche family provides some social satire and gives this part of the play many aspects of the one-setting drawing-room farce that Kaufman was to perfect later in his career. In the dream sequence of the second act, Neil realizes the moral corruption that is attached to marrying for money. He awakens and proposes to Cynthia.

Here Connelly's personal style and his recurring theme of man's need for moral self-awareness in a commercial society come forth again, as they had in To the Ladies!, Merton of the Movies , and The Deep Tangled Wildwood. It seems clear that his view of comedy as a means of conveying a message to the audience was diverging ever more sharply from Kaufman's. Though they collaborated once more, on Be Yourself in 1924, their second musical after Helen of Troy, New York in 1923, they realized that while they had made significant achievements in the theatre together, they were now ready to pursue their careers separately. "The decision to separate," Connelly said, "ended only our constant professional association. We never ended our friendship."

In 1925 Connelly and Kaufman were among those who founded the New Yorker magazine. As he devoted much of his energy over the next five years to its production, Connelly also began his career as an independent dramatist. His first venture in this line, The Wisdom Tooth , was chosen by Burns Mantle for the Best Plays of 1925-1926. In Connelly's words, it is "the story of a naive youth's struggle to retain his self-respecting individuality against the stereotyping pressures of New York's business world." As in Beggar on Horseback, a fantasy scene is sandwiched between two realistic ones. The hero, Charlie Bemis (originally played by Thomas Mitchell), spends the first act in the men's washroom of his company, nursing both a toothache and his sense of decency over the firing of a female employee; in a dentist's office, where fellow patients ridicule the fantasies of his childhood; and in his boardinghouse where a neighbor, Farraday, forces him to speak favorably, but against his will, of Calvin Coolidge. A stereotypically anonymous corporation man of the 1920s, his timidity has resulted in his being negated ethically, personally, and politically. In the second act, he encounters a youthful version of himself at a circus. The diffident middle-aged Bemis rehearses with his juvenile self, emboldened by innocent idealism, an appeal to his boss on behalf of the dismissed female colleague. In the third act, Charlie, encouraged by his adolescent revenant, confronts his boss in the real world and is fired, but not before he realizes how ineffective he has become by submerging himself in the company. Again, Connelly's hero may come to a greater degree of self-realization than he had at the beginning of the play, but he is denied success or victory.

Connelly followed The Wisdom Tooth with The Wild Man of Borneo , developed with Herman J. Mankiewicz in 1927 from a script originally written for W.C. Fields and Bea Lillie. The play deals with a con artist named J. Daniel Thompson, who checks into a hotel with his daughter, claiming that he is scheduled to replace Richard Mansfield in Edmond Rostand 's Cyrano de Bergerac when in fact he is playing the Wild Man of Borneo at a local museum. He is subsequently found out by Ed LaMotte, the romantic lead, who finds that he respects the poetic in Thompson's soul and ultimately marries his daughter. Thompson clearly reflects Connelly's conception of Cyrano, whose poetic soul triumphs even as he seems to lose. He also reflects the "pure magic" and joy of the theatrical personality which Connelly first witnessed in Mansfield's Cyrano on that childhood night in Pittsburgh with his family.

In 1929 Connelly copyrighted but did not publish four skits--The Bridegroom, The Burglar, The Suitor, and The Uncle (made into shorts by RKO starring Connelly in the summer of 1929)--which, along with his New Yorker skit, "The Traveller," related the adventures of Kenneth Mercer, a thinly disguised version of the author.

Before the staging of The Green Pastures in 1930, Connelly was busy producing full-length plays of social commentary, short skits, and even an "art play" called Ex Cathedra, a narrated pantomime about a merchant who has mixed feelings about playing Christ in a local passion play. Connelly seems to have been dabbling in a variety of areas, perhaps sapped by his efforts for the New Yorker, unable to produce a success without a collaborator, lacking the stimulus that would effect a masterpiece. It was a time of socializing in Europe, Hollywood, and, as ever, New York with his friends from the Algonquin. It did not seem likely that Connelly was about to produce his finest work.

Few plays could seem so ill suited for the Broadway stage of 1930 as was The Green Pastures . The play has a religious theme; it is written in dialect; and it requires a large and exclusively Negro cast. Any one of these might have been box-office poison, but Connelly's extensive research into speech and setting, his transformation of Roark Bradford 's series of burlesques, Ol' Man Adam an' His Chillun, by a simple love of subject and character, and the fortuitous casting of some unknown but first-rate actors gained him the 1930 Pulitzer Prize, financial security, and theatrical immortality. Essentially, The Green Pastures was a play that Americans, especially sophisticates of the North, could feel comfortable about. The very fact of its production gave it an importance that overwhelmed the condescending tone read into it today by those who feel that Connelly does not so much assert the superiority of New York audiences over Louisiana blacks as take it for granted. Still no one would deny the truly inestimable accomplishment of overcoming the three obstacles mentioned above. In spite of its initial success, however, as little as fifteen years after the play closed its first run, a Broadway revival suffered a sudden demise.

The Green Pastures is structured in two parts, covering events from the Creation to the Flood and those from the story of Moses to the Crucifixion. The theme throughout is that man eternally sins and is either punished or renounced by God. The play turns on the recognition by the protagonist, De Lawd, that man not only sins but also suffers and is ennobled by that suffering, for that is how he learns. The final scene of the Crucifixion portrays the divinity suffering with his son as much as the mortals are. Clearly, though, the play makes no claim as a theological document. Connelly called it "an attempt to present certain aspects of a living religion in terms of its believers." It is an investigation by a self-styled agnostic into the ways in which human beings deal with one another, for most of the sins described are not those against De Lawd but against fellow men; thus the play is more humanistic than religious.

Several aspects of The Green Pastures are typical of Connelly's work. The grand thought ("man's ancient, intensive search for his own soul"), set off by the humble realistic setting of the sunday school in New Orleans presided over by Mr. Deshee; the lovable innocence of the protagonists; the gentle wit; the many shifts of scene (nineteen); the interplay, more frequent than before, between fantasy and reality (or past and present) all had a truly wondrous effect on the audience. Moreover, Connelly effectively balanced low burlesque scenes like that of the tipsy Noah and the frock-coated, cigar-smoking Lawd with realistic vignettes of Negro life and grand scenes like the Exodus, all punctuated by powerful spirituals sung by Hall Johnson's choir. The very fact that the play's action takes place so far from New York both geographically and intellectually may explain why it alone of Connelly's plays does not seem bound to its own time.

During the next five years, Connelly married (Madeline Hurlock on 4 October 1930; they divorced in 1935); produced a film short, The Unemployed Ghost; wrote a one-act play entitled Service with his old partner Kaufman; and wrote the first of his five screenplays. Still, he devoted the bulk of his time to The Green Pastures. The first run ended in 1931; it was followed by a national tour and a second run in New York that closed in 1935 only after the death of Richard B. Harrison, the previously unknown actor who played De Lawd. In 1936, Connelly wrote the screenplay and directed the film of The Green Pastures .

In this same period, Connelly collaborated with Frank D. Elser on The Farmer Takes a Wife , which opened on Broadway in 1934. The play is based on Rome Haul, a 1929 novel by Walter D. Edmonds . Elser, an otherwise unknown playwright, had already done a treatment of the book and brought it to Connelly for doctoring. The conflicts in this melodrama about the paradisean life on the canals near Rome, New York (a way of life that was being threatened by the encroachment of the railroad), are happily resolved. The hero, Dan'l (originally played by Henry Fonda), a man of the farm, defeats Klore, his rival for the hand of Molly; the railroad peacefully coexists with the canal; and Molly leaves the canal to live on Dan'l's farm. Connelly's next play, Everywhere I Roam (1938), was even more sentimental. Written with Arnold Sundgaard, it received notices almost as pejorative as those that greeted The Deep Tangled Wildwood. It was Connelly's last collaboration.

While Everywhere I Roam was awaiting production, Connelly wrote "The Land of the Living," another play, like The Wisdom Tooth, about a modern man seeking meaning in life by traveling into the past, which again featured a second act of fantasy sandwiched between two of reality. David Rudderman, a history professor, inherits a huge amount of money and a farm in the Adirondacks to which he wishes to retire and live the life of Thoreau. The second act presents the town of Serenity in what appears at first to be a flashback to 1750. In fact, we are still in the twentieth century, but the town has been frozen in time. Much as he wishes to join its way of life, David realizes he cannot. In the third act he has brought with him to the modern world Cynthia Abernathy, a girl friend he acquired in the colonial one, but she faints when she is confronted with the pace of the twentieth century, and David returns her to Serenity forever. The escapist message of the play might well have suited a 1938 audience, but after the demise of Everywhere I Roam, Connelly felt he should not take a chance on it.

In 1941, when asked by novelist James Boyd to write a short drama "about the meaning of America," Connelly responded with The Mole on Lincoln's Cheek , a one-act radio play that addressed specifically the subject of freedom of speech in the classroom and attacked generally the kind of jingoism that would surface in America a decade later. The story concerns a schoolteacher in Millersville, Pennsylvania, who is accused of being un-American for teaching that John Hancock was, among other things, a smuggler. The blemish referred to in the title suggests a realistic approach to history as opposed to the blind idealism of the teacher's antagonists, who prefer an antiseptic view of America's heroes. One of the antagonists is won over at the end when he realizes that Americans must not be "afraid to learn what made America tick in the beginning and what keeps it going."

Another play with political overtones, The Flowers of Virtue , produced in 1942, tells the story of a Mexican general named Orijas who tries to use Hitlerian methods to establish his dictatorship. The hero, Grover Bemis, is as weak and unable to act as was Charlie Bemis in The Wisdom Tooth until he is given the example of progressive, effective action by a local villager who opposes Orijas. In the end, Bemis realizes that he must give his life meaning through love and courage. The play did not seem to suit the political climate of 1942 and closed after four nights.

Connelly was stung by his string of Broadway failures and produced nothing until 1948, when he staged two plays on the theme of "the establishment of an earthly paradise from hellish circumstances." A Story for Strangers , produced in 1948, enjoyed no greater success than The Flowers of Virtue. Written and produced while Connelly was professor of playwriting at Yale University in 1948, the play is a misconceived fable about the salvation of an evil society (Huntsville, Michigan, in 1934) by the grace of God, by observance of the golden rule and other lessons from the New Testament, and by the essential goodness of mankind. The medium of this redemption is a talking horse whose words are unheard by the audience but are able to persuade the evil townsfolk, from the seller of overpriced cars to the town prostitute to the avaricious banker, to reform their ways. Clearly there are parallels with The Green Pastures in terms of biblical messages addressed to provincial American characters. Unfortunately, the structure of the play, which relies heavily on flashbacks, and the generally poor direction made it a failure.

For some reason Connelly thought that this was the time to modernize "The Land of the Living" which he wrote in 1938 but did not produce. He removed references to the Depression and added more background by means of narration. He changed the title in 1952 to "There Are Two Points." It was finally produced for the first time in London in 1958 as Hunter's Moon , but the times were far less ripe for the play than they might have been fifteen years earlier.

The Portable Yenberry was produced at Purdue University in 1961 and was cast with Mildred Dunnock and a largely student company. The play concerns a student of entomology who wishes to restore his ravaged Louisiana homestead. This he is able to do by traveling back and forth in a kind of time machine between the years 1962 and 1865, when he becomes his great-grandfather, Thunderbolt Henry Yenberry, a Confederate general. After three trips to the past, the homestead is saved; Yenberry marries his girl friend in the twentieth century; and Thunderbolt Henry marries his in the nineteenth. This light play in no way matches Connelly's threatening program note that "it is a comment on what science and other influences are doing today to scare the pants off contemporary man."

In the mid-1950s, Connelly also wrote (but never published or produced) "a motion picture play" entitled "The Riddle." Set in New York, it is a mystery that involves a youth from Puerto Rico who dies in Korea under the assumed name of one of his neighbors. The youth's real identity is the answer to the "riddle." He has also written a novel, A Souvenir from Qam (1965), acted in films (notably Tall Story, 1959), and the theatre (notably as the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder 's Our Town in 1944 in New York and 1946 in London), and has held several academic and political appointments.

Connelly enjoyed the good fortune of early success, the advantages of a brilliant collaborator, and the services of the leading stars of his day. His enduring achievement remains The Green Pastures, which will be of more interest to historians of the theatre than to critics of literature. His influence on his contemporaries, from his friends at the Algonquin to Thornton Wilder , is attested, if difficult to specify. But Wilder's Our Town shows this specifically in the narrator who participates in the action and, generally, in the liberation of stage convention in the depiction of small-town American life and virtues. Regardless of how his plays appear today, Connelly remains one of the most important figures of the Broadway stage in the first half of this century.

 
FURTHER READINGS:

FURTHER READINGS ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Paul T. Nolan, Marc Connelly (New York: Twayne, 1969).

 

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|H1200000947