Alfred Uhry

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Alfred Uhry
Alfred Uhry.jpg
Uhry in 2013
Born Alfred Fox Uhry
(1936-12-03) December 3, 1936 (age 78)
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Nationality United States
Spouse Joanna Kellogg
Information
Magnum opus Driving Miss Daisy
The Last Night of Ballyhoo
Works with Robert Waldman
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1988)

Alfred Fox Uhry (born December 3, 1936) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He is one of very few writers to receive an Academy Award, Tony Award (2) and the Pulitzer Prize for dramatic writing.

Early life[edit]

Uhry was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Ralph K., a furniture designer and artist, and Alene Fox, a social worker, married as Uhry. He was born into a Jewish family. Uhry graduated from Druid Hills High School in 1954 and subsequently graduated from Brown University where he wrote two original musicals with Brownbrokers. Druid Hills High School's Uhry Theater is named in honor of Uhry. During his first years in New York City, learning the craft of lyric-writing, Uhry received a stipend from Frank Loesser; after his eventual success, Uhry often praised Loesser's generosity and encouragement. Uhry is married to Joanna Kellogg. They have four daughters and live in New York.

Career[edit]

Uhry's early work for the stage was as a lyricist and librettist for a number of commercially unsuccessful musicals, including America's Sweetheart and a revival of Little Johnny Jones starring Donny Osmond. His first collaboration with Robert Waldman was the disastrous 1968 musical Here's Where I Belong, which closed after one performance. They had considerably better success with The Robber Bridegroom, which was mounted on Broadway in both 1975 and 1976, enjoyed a year-long national tour, and garnered Uhry his first Tony nomination.

Atlanta Trilogy[edit]

Driving Miss Daisy (1987) is the first in what is known as his "Atlanta Trilogy" of plays, all set during the first half of the 20th century. Produced off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, the play earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It deals with the relationship between an elderly Jewish woman and her black chauffeur. He adapted it into the screenplay for a 1989 film starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman, an adaptation which was awarded the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay.

The second of the trilogy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo (1996), is set in 1939 during the premiere of the film Gone with the Wind. It deals with a Jewish family during an important social event. It was commissioned for the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta which coincided with the 1996 Summer Olympics, and received the Tony Award for Best Play when produced on Broadway.

The third was a 1998 musical called Parade, about the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank. The libretto earned him a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. The music was written by Jason Robert Brown.

More Theatre[edit]

Uhry's play Edgardo Mine is based on the true story of Edgardo Mortara, an Italian child taken by police from his Jewish family in 1858 because one of their domestic servants had baptized him.

In 2006 Manhattan Theatre Club announced that it would produce Uhry's musical LoveMusik on Broadway in 2007. His libretto depicts the relationship between composer Kurt Weill and his wife, Lotte Lenya, using Weill's music.[1]

Scheduled to open October 10, 2012 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta is Apples & Oranges. A world premier new play about the rediscovery of a sibling relationship. [2]

Film[edit]

Uhry wrote the screenplay not only for the film version of Driving Miss Daisy but also for the 1993 film Rich in Love; he co-wrote the screenplay for the 1988 film Mystic Pizza.

His next screenplay is for a film announced in 2009, From Swastika to Jim Crow, a dramatization of a documentary about Jewish professors who flee Nazi Germany, find posts in the Southern US, and identify with their African-American students and their struggle under Jim Crow.

References[edit]

External links[edit]