front cover of Staging America
Staging America
The Artistic Legacy of the Provincetown Players
Jeffery Kennedy
University of Alabama Press, 2023
A comprehensive history of the Provincetown Players and their influence on modern American theatre
The Provincetown Players created a revolution in American theatre, making room for truly modern approaches to playwriting, stage production, and performance unlike anything that characterized the commercial theatre of the early twentieth century. In Staging America: The Artistic Legacy of the Provincetown Players, Jeffery Kennedy gives readers the unabridged story in a meticulously researched and comprehensive narrative that sheds new light on the history of the Provincetown Players. This study draws on many new sources that have only become available in the last three decades; this new material modifies, refutes, and enhances many aspects of previous studies.

At the center of the study is an extensive account of the career of George Cram Cook, the Players’ leader and artistic conscience, as well as one of the most significant facilitators of modernist writing in early twentieth-century American literature and theatre. It traces Cook’s mission of “cultural patriotism,” which drove him toward creating a uniquely American identity in theatre. Kennedy also focuses on the group of friends he calls the “Regulars,” perhaps the most radical collection of minds in America at the time; they encouraged Cook to launch the Players in Provincetown in the summer of 1915 and instigated the move to New York City in fall 1916.

Kennedy has paid particular attention to the many legends connected to the group (such as the “discovery” of Eugene O’Neill), and also adds to the biographical record of the Players’ forty-seven playwrights, including Susan Glaspell, Neith Boyce, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Floyd Dell, Rita Wellman, Mike Gold, Djuna Barnes, and John Reed. Kennedy also examines other fascinating artistic, literary, and historical personalities who crossed the Players’ paths, including Emma Goldman, Charles Demuth, Berenice Abbott, Sophie Treadwell, Theodore Dreiser, Claudette Colbert, and Charlie Chaplin. Kennedy highlights the revolutionary nature of those living in bohemian Greenwich Village who were at the heart of the Players and the America they were responding to in their plays.

front cover of The Women of Provincetown, 1915–1922
The Women of Provincetown, 1915–1922
Cheryl Black
University of Alabama Press, 2001
An illuminating account of the roles a remarkable group of women played in one of the most influential theatre groups in America, demonstrating their influence on 20th-century dramaturgy and culture.

In this fascinating work, Cheryl Black reveals that, in addition to its role in developing an American tradition of non-commercial theatre, Provincetown has another, largely unacknowledged claim to fame as one of the first theatre companies in America in which women achieved prominence in every area of operation. At a time when women playwrights were rare, women directors rarer, and women scenic designers unheard of, Provincetown’s female members excelled in all of these roles.

In addition to the well-known playwright Susan Gaspell, the company’s female membership included luminaries such poets Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mina Loy, and Djuna Barnes; journalists Louise Bryant and Mary Heaton Vorce; novelists Neith Boyce and Evelyn Scott; and painter Marguerite Zorach. Illuminating a fascinating chapter in the history of one of the world's most picturesque and beloved artist colonies, The Women of Provincetown is an engaging work of social history, offering new insights into the relationship between gender and theatre. This work includes 40 images of the key artists in the book.


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