Poster for WPA production of Ah, Wilderness! at Federal Theater Playhouse, New Orleans
|Written by||Eugene O'Neill|
|Date premiered||2 October 1933|
|Place premiered||Guild Theatre
New York City
|Setting||The sitting room of the Miller home in a small town in Connecticut, July 4, 1906.|
The play was included in Burns Mantle's The Best Plays of 1933-1934.
The play takes place on the Fourth of July, 1906, and focuses on the Miller family, presumably of New London, Connecticut. The main plot deals with the middle son, 16-year-old Richard, and his coming of age. The title derives from Quatrain XII of Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (5th edition, 1889), one of Richard's favorite poems:
- A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
- A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
- Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
- Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
The story was also made into the 1959 Broadway musical Take Me Along starring Jackie Gleason as the drunken Uncle Sid (Beery's role in the film), Walter Pidgeon as Nat and Robert Morse as Richard. The production ran for 448 performances. Gleason won the 1960 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. A revival in 1984 had a successful run for 6 months in CT & Washington D.C. but closed on Broadway after only a short debut and a week of previews.
- O'Neill, Eugene (1933). Ah, Wilderness: A Comedy of Recollection in Three Acts (First ed.). London: Samuel French. OCLC 70376389.
- Ah, Wilderness! production archive at eONeill.com
- Ah, Wilderness! at the Internet Broadway Database
- Take Me Along at the Internet Broadway Database
- Ah, Wilderness! (1935 film) at the Internet Movie Database
- Photos of a production of Ah, Wilderness!
- 1954 Theatre Guild on the Air radio adaptation of original play at Internet Archive