Happy Birthday, Wanda June

New York: Theatre de Lys / Edison Theatre, 1970-1971. Archive of ten photographs, two programs, and an early mimeograph summary of performances for a little-seen production of Kurt Vonnegut's play, "Happy Birthday, Wanda June," directed by Michael J. Kane. Photographs by Bert Andrews, with his stamp on the verso of each, along with holograph ink annotations regarding the actors in the shots, including Marsha Mason, Kevin McCarthy, Keith Charles, Bill Hickey, Louis Turenne, Pamela Saunders, Ariane Munker, and Steven Paul.

The photographs are from a virtually unrecorded series of 47 performances between October 7, 1970 and November 15, 1970 at the Off-Broadway playhouse Theatre de Lys. According to the mimeograph summary accompanying the archive, the play was closed by an Actors Equity Strike. The Theatre de Lys run is unrecorded in IBDB and similar sources, but the play's reopening (again Off-Broadway) at the Edison Theatre on December 22, 1970, running 96 performances through March 14, 1971, is widely noted. The programs in this archive represent the performances at Theatre de Lys, and a small run at the Fireside Theatre in Garden City, NY, in November 1971.

Before this incarnation, there was another. Vonnegut first wrote the play under the title "Penelope" in the spring of 1952, the same year the author would publish his first novel, making it essentially his first work to see the light of day. "The play had an unremarkable debut at the Orleans Arena Theatre in Cape Cod, where it closed after one week. In a letter to Knox Burger just prior to the run, Vonnegut described the short stories he was working on as "cruel little bastards ... I hate them" and went on to say, "I sure do like plays. If 'Penelope' goes over, I will have taken the giant step that will free me to write plays for the rest of my life."

All material Near Fine, with a small repair to one corner of one photograph.

[Book #133035]

Price: $650.00