Although best known for his films, Allen has also enjoyed a very successful career in theater, starting as early as 1960, when Allen wrote sketches for the revue From A to Z. His first great success was Don't Drink the Water, which opened in 1968, and ran for 598 performances for almost two years on Broadway. His success continued with Play It Again, Sam, which opened in 1969, starring Allen and Diane Keaton. The show played for 453 performances and was nominated for three Tony Awards, although none of the nominations were for Allen's writing or acting.
In the 1970s, Allen wrote a number of one-act plays, most notably God and Death, which were published in his 1975 collection Without Feathers.
In 1981, Allen's play The Floating Light Bulb opened on Broadway. The play was a critical success but a commercial flop. Despite two Tony Award nominations, a Tony win for the acting of Brian Backer (who also won the 1981 Theater World Award and a Drama Desk Award for his work), the play only ran for 62 performances.
After a long hiatus from the stage, Allen returned to the theater in 1995, with the one-act Central Park West, an installment in an evening of theater known as Death Defying Acts that was also made up of new work by David Mamet and Elaine May.
For the next couple of years, Allen had no direct involvement with the stage, yet notable productions of his work were being staged. A production of God was staged at The Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in Rio de Janeiro, and theatrical adaptations of Allen's films Bullets Over Broadway and September were produced in Italy and France, respectively, without Allen's involvement. In 1997, rumors of Allen returning to the theater to write a starring role for his wife Soon-Yi Previn turned out to be false.
In 2003, Allen finally returned to the stage with Writer's Block, an evening of two one-acts – Old Saybrook and Riverside Drive – that played Off-Broadway. The production marked the stage-directing debut for Allen. The production sold out its entire run.
Also that year, reports of Allen writing the book for a musical based on Bullets Over Broadway surfaced, but no show ever formulated. In 2004, Allen's first full-length play since 1981, A Second Hand Memory, was directed by Allen and enjoyed an extended run Off-Broadway.
In June 2007, it was announced that Allen would make two more creative debuts in the theater, directing a work that he did not write and directing an opera – a re-interpretation of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi for the Los Angeles Opera – which debuted at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on September 6, 2008. Commenting on his direction of the opera, Allen said, "I have no idea what I'm doing." His production of the opera opened the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, in June 2009.
In October 2011, Woody Allen's one-act play called Honeymoon Motel premiered as one in a series of one act plays on Broadway titled Relatively Speaking. Also contributing to the plays are Elaine May and Ethan Coen with John Turturro directing.
Read more about this topic: Woody Allen
Famous quotes containing the word theatre:
“... the theatre demanded of its members stamina, good digestion, the ability to adjust, and a strong sense of humor. There was no discomfort an actor didnt learn to endure. To survive, we had to be horses and we were.”
—Helen Hayes (19001993)
“Make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter. What do people go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise.... I am a servant of the people. I have never forgotten that.”
—Mary Pickford (18931979)
“The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice. It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed
To something else. Its past was a souvenir.”
—Wallace Stevens (18791955)