Happy Birthday, Wanda June

N.p. N.p., 1970. Draft script for the 1970 play, which premiered on October 7 at the Theatre de Lys in New York. Copy No. 38 notated in holograph ink on the title page.

An open homage to Homer's "Odyssey," wherein a big game hunter returns home after eight years away only to discover he has been declared legally dead, his wife has two suitors, and his twelve year-old son is the only one who believes he will return. A little-seen production, virtually unrecorded, which ran for 47 performances and was followed by an Off-Broadway reopening at the Edison Theatre on December 22, 1970.

Vonnegut first wrote "Happy Birthday, Wanda June" 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. "Penelope" had an unremarkable debut at the Orleans Arena Theatre in Cape Cod, where it closed after one week. In a letter to literary agent 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."

Dark purple titled Studio Duplicating Service wrappers, with credits for playwright Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Title page present, dated 7/17/70, with credits for playwright Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 116 leaves, with last page of text numbered 2-5-38. Mimeograph duplication, rectos only. Pages Near Fine, wrapper Very Good plus, bound with two gold brads.

[Book #147512]

Price: $850.00