The Happy Time (1950)
A coming-of-age tale in a French-Canadian family, drawn from the novel by Robert Fontaine. The play was a big hit, running for 18 months on Broadway. It starred Claude Dauphin, Leora Dana, Kurt Kasznar and Eva Gabor. This Wikipedia entry is for the film version of the play, but the plot is the same as the play’s.
Co-authored with Andre Roussin. A love triangle, set in France. As the play starts, Nina’s husband is about to shoot Nina’s lover, but the husband is sick with a cold. He asks the lover to hold the pistol, then goes to find some remedies for his cold. The farce moves on. Starring Alan Webb, Gloria Swanson and David Niven. Read more at SamuelFrench.com
A Cinderella tale, set on Long Island, outside New York City. The story revolves around Sabrina, daughter of the chauffeur on a large estate belonging to the Larrabee family. She returns from Paris, a worldly and sophisticated woman, and is courted by the Larrabee brothers, Linus and David. The play starred Margaret Sullavan and Joseph Cotten. It was a big hit, running on Broadway for nearly a year, and was followed by the movie, “Sabrina,” with Audrey Hepburn in the title role. Read more at Wikipedia.org
With Cornelia Otis Skinner. Set in San Francisco, where Samuel Taylor grew up, the play focuses on the days before the wedding of Jessica Poole (Dolores Hart, in her Broadway debut), when her father Biddeford Poole, a world-traveling playboy, arrives in town for the wedding and tries to persuade his daughter to join him on his travels and see the world. Starring Cyril Ritchard and Cornelia Otis Skinner. It ran on Broadway for more than a year. Read more at PlaybillVault.com
Adapted from the memoir, Promise At Dawn, by diplomat, novelist and World War II aviator Romain Gary, the play dealt with the tumultuous relationship between Gary and his mother. It starred Hugh O’Brian, perhaps best known for his long-running TV role as Wyatt Earp. Read more at SamuelFrench.com
Samuel Taylor, who wrote the book, collaborated with composer Richard Rodgers, who had co-produced his earlier hit, “The Happy Time.” “No Strings” was the first play Rodgers did as both composer and lyricist, his longtime partner Oscar Hammerstein II having died in August 1960. Set in France, the new play told the story of a the romance between a white writer and a successful black model. One of the play’s innovations was to have the musicians wandering fluidly on and off stage during the musical numbers, rather than staying in the traditional orchestra pit. The play starred Diahann Carroll and Richard Kiley and ran on Broadway from March 1962 until August 1963. Read more at Wikipedia.org and at Diahann-Carroll.com
Beekman Place (1964)
A legendary violinist, living with his wife in a posh apartment in New York, is visited by an old girlfriend. Starring Fernand Gravet, Arlene Francis, Leora Dana and Laurence Luckenbill. Later updated as “Perfect Pitch.” Read more at IBDb.com
An American businessman arrives in Italy to retrieve the body of his father, who has died in an auto accident. Turns out that the father’s lover was also in that car crash and her daughter has come to Italy on a similar mission—to bring Mom’s body back to the U.S. The businessman meets the daughter and the two fall in love. Mix in an Italian fixer who knows how to cut red tape to get these bodies on their way home. The play’s stars were Keith Baxter, Robert Reed and Betsy von Furstenberg. “Avanti!” later became a movie starring Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills. The play was updated as “A Touch of Spring.” Read more at SamuelFrench.com
Set in the old west, the story is about a woman who arrives in a mining town and sets out to find the town’s heroes. Starred Elizabeth Ashley, F. Murray Abraham and George Dzundza. Read more at Wikipedia.org
A limited run at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, “Gracious Living” starred Tammy Grimes, Paul Hecht and Patricia Routledge.