Richard Barr: The Playwright's Producer by David A. Crespy, Edward Albee

By David A. Crespy, Edward Albee

In Richard Barr: The Playwright’s Producer, writer David A. Crespy investigates the occupation of 1 of the theatre’s such a lot vibrant luminaries, from his paintings at the movie and radio productions of Orson Welles to his triumphant—and final—production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Explored intimately alongside the way in which are the producer’s dating with playwright Edward Albee, whose significant performs similar to A Zoo Story and Who’s petrified of Virginia Woolf Barr used to be the 1st to supply, and his leading edge productions of debatable works through playwrights like Samuel Beckett, Terrence McNally, and Sam Shepard. Crespy attracts on Barr’s personal writings at the theatre, his own papers, and greater than sixty interviews with theatre execs to provide perception right into a guy whose legacy to manufacturers and playwrights resounds within the theatre international. additionally integrated within the quantity are a foreword and an afterword via Edward Albee, a three-time Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright and one among Barr’s closest associates. 

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Richard learned all the lines for all the actors in the production as “sole male understudy for the entire company” and was eventually assigned the role of the assistant stage manager and prompter. A supremely efficient understudy, Barr knew the show so well that he could prompt without a script. Nevertheless, he missed one cue entirely, being too busy counting the house, and left Welles “stranded” onstage. “Falstaff” caught Barr in the wings in his prompter’s position and questioned, “Where the hell is the book?

80 But hiding behind the celebration lurked financial disaster, because there were no RKO funds to hold the Mercury actors for The Smiler with a Knife until actual production. 81 Though Barr enjoyed the “vicarious thrill” of being the “major domo” of Welles’s affairs—running his household, working with the staff, and keeping track of his finances—it was clear that tension was mounting. One letter from Weissberger to Barr makes it clear that Welles did “not think of his income in concrete terms in relationship to his expenditures,” and Weissberger warned Barr from trying to secure local loans.

Richard explained that he wanted to be like Welles, an auteur director who reinterpreted and reassembled scripts to fit his own acting abilities. ”7 This lack of concern was key to his securing a position with the Mercury. 13 Playing with Martians The Mercury Theatre was already beginning the steep financial decline that would end with the disastrous production of Five Kings. Having been heralded the “boy wonder of Broadway,” Welles had seriously overreached with the production of William Gillette’s Too Much Johnson, in which he tried to interweave film footage in a theatrical setting.

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