Crothers, Rachel


Crothers, Rachel

▪ American playwright
born Dec. 12, 1878, Bloomington, Ill., U.S.
died July 5, 1958, Danbury, Conn.

      American playwright whose works, which were highly successful commercially, reflected the position of women in American society more accurately than those of any other dramatist of her time.

      Crothers graduated from the Illinois State Normal School (now Illinois State University) in 1892, then studied dramatic art in Boston and New York City, and for a time she appeared with various theatrical companies in New York City. A few minor, one-act efforts at playwriting preceded her first full-length Broadway play, The Three of Us (1906); the play was a highlight of the season. For the next three decades, until Susan and God (1937), she maintained the extraordinary average of one Broadway play a year, the majority of them popular and critical successes. Her accomplishment was made the more remarkable by the fact that she cast, produced, and directed nearly all her plays herself.

      Crothers chronicled, sometimes seriously, more often humorously, such timely problems as the double standard (A Man's World, 1909), trial marriage (Young Wisdom, 1914), the problem of the younger generation (Nice People, 1921), Freudianism (Expressing Willie, 1924), and divorce (As Husbands Go, 1931; When Ladies Meet, 1932). These and other successes were marked by simplicity of plot, happy endings, and expert dialogue, which featured shrewdly combined instruction and amusement. Her comedies always advocated sanity and moderation. The best and most instructive statement of her dramatic theory is to be found in her essay “The Construction of a Play,” collected in The Art of Playwriting (1928).

      During World War I Crothers founded the Stage Women's Relief Fund, and in 1932 she helped found the Stage Relief Fund, of which she remained a director until 1951. In 1940 she led in organizing the American Theatre Wing, which operated the famed Stage Door Canteen, and remained its executive director until 1950.

Additional Reading
Colette Lindroth and James Lindroth, Rachel Crothers: A Research and Production Sourcebook (1995).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Crothers, Rachel — (1878 1958)    Born in Bloomington, Illinois, she grew up to be the most renowned American woman playwright before Lillian Hellman.* Between 1903 and 1937, she had 28 plays produced on Broadway. Her early experience of acting (including a tour… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Rachel Crothers — (12 December, 1878 ndash; 5 July, 1958) was a prolific and successful American playwright and theater director, known for her well crafted plays. One of the most famous was Susan and God (1937), which was made into a film by MGM in 1940 starring… …   Wikipedia

  • Rachel Crothers — vers 1910 Rachel Crothers est une dramaturge et metteur en scène américaine, née à Bloomington (Illinois) le 12 décembre 1878, décédée à Danbury (Connecticut) le 5 juillet …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Marbury, Elisabeth — ▪ American theatrical and literary agent born June 19, 1856, New York, N.Y., U.S. died Jan. 22, 1933, New York City       American theatrical and literary agent who represented a stellar array of theatrical performers and writers in the late 19th …   Universalium

  • Expressing Willie —    Rachel Crothers wrote this three act comedy that opened on 16 April 1924 at the 48th Street Theatre and ran for 293 performances. The 35 year old bachelor Willie has become insufferable with his ostentatious wealth, so his mother invites the… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

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