The Play of the Week

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Play of the Week
Genre Anthology Teleplay
Written by various
Directed by Stuart Burge
Marc Daniels
Sidney Lumet
Ralph Nelson
Don Richardson
Boris Sagal
Theme music composer John Green
Maurice Levin
David Martin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 67
Production
Executive producer(s) Lewis Freedman
Worthington Miner
David Susskind
Producer(s) Henry Weinstein
Jack Kuney
Location(s) New York City
Cinematography Mel London
Production company(s) Talent Associates
Distributor NTA Film Network
Broadcast
Original channel Syndication (NTA Film Network)
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run October 12, 1959 (1959-10-12) – May 1, 1961 (1961-05-01)

Play of the Week is an American anthology series of televised stage plays which aired in NTA Film Network syndication from October 12, 1959 to May 1, 1961.

Ambitious undertaking[edit]

The series presented 67 (35 in the first season, 32 in the second) videotaped Broadway-style productions, broadcast nightly and Sunday afternoons on New York City's independent, WNTA Channel 13, which served as NTA's flagship station, and at varying times and days on the approximately 100 other stations affiliated with NTA.[1] Because well-known performers were willing to accept minimum payments (top salary was $750) for the prestige of appearing in the critically praised showcase, production costs were kept to an average of $40,000. Although the budget was low, the show had a high distinction which, combined with its reputation as an innovative production, gave it momentum and propelled it into winning a Peabody Award.[2][3]

Episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1959–60)[edit]

First aired # Title Author
Adaptation
Producer Director Notes
Cast
Oct
12
1959
1x01 Medea Euripides

translated by
Robinson Jeffers
David Susskind H. Wesley Kenney
and
José Quintero
Directed by John Gielgud, who co-starred as Jason, Medea opened on Broadway at the National Theatre on October 20, 1947, transferred to the Royale Theatre on December 15, and closed on May 15, 1948, after 214 performances. At the 2nd Tony Awards on March 28, 1948, Judith Anderson shared (with Katharine Cornell and Jessica Tandy) the Award for Best Actress in a Play. Another staging, produced and directed by Guthrie McClintic at the City Center, premiered on May 2, 1949 and closed, after 16 performances, on May 21. A staging in 1982, at the Cort Theatre, brought a Tony win for Zoe Caldwell, who played Medea, and a Best Featured Actress in a Play nomination for Judith Anderson as Nurse.
Oct
26
1959
1x02 Burning Bright John Steinbeck Lewis Freedman
and
Henry Weinstein
Curt Conway Staged by Guthrie McClintic and produced by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Burning Bright opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on October 18, 1950 and closed on October 28, after 13 performances.
Nov
2
1959
1x03 Back to Back:
The Dock Brief
and
What Shall We Tell Caroline?
John Mortimer David Susskind Stuart Burge Michael Hordern as Morgenhall and Tony Peters, George Rose as Fowle and Arthur Louden, Lueen McGrath as Bin, Jeane Marsh as Caroline
Nov
9
1959
1x04 A Month in the Country Ivan Turgenev

translated by
Emlyn Williams
Lewis Freedman
and
Henry Weinstein
Marc Daniels Uta Hagen as Natalia Petrovna, Luther Adler as Ignaty Illyich Shpichelsky, Alexander Scourby as Rakitin, Richard Easton as Beliaev, Tim O'Connor as Yslaev, Olga Bellin as Vera
Nov
16
1959
1x05 The Waltz of the Toreadors Jean Anouilh

translated by
Lucienne Hill
David Susskind Stuart Burge Hugh Griffith as Général St. Pé, Mildred Natwick as Mme. St. Pé, Beatrice Straight as Mlle. de St. Euverte, John Abbott as Dr. Bonfant, Mary Grace Canfield as Sidonia, Jenny Egan as Estelle, Louise Kirtland as Mme. Dupont-Fredaine, James Valentine as Gaston
Nov
19
1959
1x06 The Power and the Glory Graham Greene

adapted by
Pierre Bost
and Denis Cannan
David Susskind Carmen Capalbo James Donald as Priest, Peter Falk as Mestizo, Ronald Long as Tench, Val Avery as Police Chief, Scotty McGregor as Maria, David J. Stewart as Governor's Cousin, John Alderson as Miguel, Alfred Ryder, Rudy Bond
Nov
23
1959
1x07 The White Steed Paul Vincent Carroll David Susskind Joseph Gistirak Frank Conroy as Canon Matt Lavelle, Tim O'Connor as Father Shaughnessy, Helena Carroll as Nora Fintry, Dermot McNamara as Denis Dillon, Roy Poole as Patrick Hearty, Pauline Flanagan as Sarah Hearty, Lester Rawlins as Toomey, Neil Fitzgerald as Fintry, Tom Clancy as Shivers
Nov
30
1959
1x08 Crime of Passion Jean-Paul Sartre

translated by
Lionel Abel
David Susskind Stuart Burge Claude Dauphin as Hoederer, Donald Harron as Hugo, Betsy von Furstenberg as Jessica, Marian Seldes as Olga, Horace McMahon as Georges
Dec
7
1959
1x09 Simply Heavenly Langston Hughes

music by
David Martin
David Susskind Joshua Shelley Melvin Stewart as Jesse P. Simple, Claudia McNeil as Mamie, Gail Fisher as Joyce Lane, Ethel Ayler as Zarita, Frederick O'Neal as Boyd, Earle Hyman as Hopkins
Dec
14
1959
1x10 The World of Sholom Aleichem Arnold Perl

Music by
Serge Hovey
and
Robert de Cormier
Producer for NTA
Lewis Freedman

Produced by
Henry T. Weinstein
Don Richardson 1. "A Tale of Chelm"
2. "Bontche Schweig — Based on a story by I. L. Peretz
3. "The High School" — Based on a story by Sholom Aleichem
Dec
21
1959
1x11 Thieves' Carnival Jean Anouilh

translated by
Lucienne Hill
Lewis Freedman Warren Enters
and
Richard Dunlap
[in alphabetical order] Larry Blyden as Hector, Tom Bosley as Dupont-Dufour Jr., Howard Da Silva as Dupont-Dufour Sr., Kurt Kasznar as Peterbono, Robert Morse as Gustave, Cathleen Nesbitt as Lady Hurf, Pat Stanley as Juliette, Frances Sternhagen as Eva
Dec
28
1959
1x12 The Cherry Orchard Anton Chekhov David Susskind Daniel Petrie Helen Hayes as Madame Ranevskaya, E. G. Marshall as Lopakhin, Susan Strasberg as Anya, Salome Jens as Dunyasha, John Abbott as Gayev, Peggy McCay as Vary, Gerald Hiken as Trofimoff, Martin Wolfson as Semyonoff-Pishtchik, Paula Laurence as Carlotta Ivanova, Woodrow Parfrey as Epihodoff, Byron Russell as Fiers, Julian Battersby as Gardener
Jan
4
1960
1x13 The Closing Door Alexander Knox David Susskind Alexander Knox
and
Karl Genus
Staged by Lee Strasberg and produced by Cheryl Crawford, The Closing Door opened on Broadway at the Empire Theatre on December 1, 1949 and closed on December 17, after 22 performances. The playwright, Alexander Knox, had the leading role of Vail Trahern, and his wife, Doris Nolan, played Vail Trahern's wife, Norma.
Jan
11
1960
1x14 The Emperor's Clothes George Tabori Lewis Freedman Boris Sagal Viveca Lindfors as Belia Odry, Jules Munshin as Kossa, George Voskovec as Elek Odry, Sandor Szabo as the Baron, Charles Saari as Ferike, Tamara Daykarhanova, Peter Falk, Margit Fossgrin, David Hurst, Reuben Singer
Jan
18
1960
1x15 Lullaby Don Appell David Susskind Don Richardson Eli Wallach as Johnny Horton, Anne Jackson as Eadie Horton, Ruth White as Mother, Tom Carlin as the Bellboy
Jan
25
1960
1x16 Strindberg on Love:
Miss Julie
and
The Stronger
August Strindberg

translated by
Arvid Paulsen
adapted by
George Tabori
David Susskind Henry Kaplan Lois Smith as Julie, Robert Loggia as Gene, Patricia Neal as the Mistress, Nancy Wickwire as the Wife, Madeleine Sherwood as Kristin
Feb
2
1960
1x17 Juno and the Paycock Sean O'Casey David Susskind Paul Shyre Pauline Flanagan as Juno Boyle, Hume Cronyn as Captain Jack Boyle, Walter Matthau as Joxer Daly, Evans Evans as Mary Boyle, Luella Gear as Maisie Madigan, Liam Clancy as Johnny Boyle, Thomas A. Carlin as Jerry Devine, James Kenny as Charlie Bentham
Feb
8
1960
1x18 Tiger at the Gates Jean Giraudoux

translated by Christopher Fry
Robert L. Joseph
and
Henry Weinstein
Paul Almond
and
Harold Clurman
Directed by Harold Clurman and produced by Robert L. Joseph, Tiger at the Gates, the English-language title translator-playwright Christopher Fry chose for Jean Giraudoux's 1935 play La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu [The Trojan War Will Not Take Place] opened on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre on October 3, 1955, transferred to the Helen Hayes Theatre on November 21, and closed on April 7, 1956, after 217 performances.
Feb
15
1960
1x19 Don Juan in Hell George Bernard Shaw David Susskind Don Richardson [in alphabetical order] Marc Connelly as The Stage Manager, Hurd Hatfield as Don Juan, Dennis King as The Statue of the Commander, Siobhan McKenna as Dona Ana, George C. Scott as The Devil
Feb
22
1960
1x20 A Very Special Baby Robert Alan Aurthur David Susskind Marc Daniels Oscar Homolka as Mr. Casale, Marion Winters as Anna Casale, Larry Blyden as Joey Casale
Feb
29
1960
1x21 The Climate of Eden Moss Hart

adapted from
Edgar Mittelholzer's 1951 novel
David Susskind Moss Hart Staged by Moss Hart, who adapted it from Edgar Mittelholzer's British Guiana-set novel, Shadows Move Among Them, The Climate of Eden opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on November 13, 1952 and closed on November 22, after 20 performances.
Mar
7
1960
1x22 Volpone Ben Jonson Jack Kuney
[6]
J. Robert Blum
and
Gene Frankel
[in alphabetical order] Ludwig Donath as Corbaccio, Alfred Drake as Mosca, Evans Evans as Colomba, Lou Jacobi as Corvino, Kurt Kasznar as Volpone, Art Smith as Voltore, Michael Tolan as Leone, Jo Van Fleet as Canina
Mar
14
1960
1x23 The Rope Dancers
[7]
Morton Wishengrad David Susskind Peter Hall Directed by Peter Hall, The Rope Dancers opened on Broadway at the Cort Theatre on November 20, 1957, transferred to Henry Miller's Theatre on January 27, 1958 and closed on May 3, after 189 performances. At the 12th Tony Awards on April 13, 1958, The Rope Dancers was one of eight nominees for Best Play and Siobhan McKenna was among six nominees for Best Actress in a Play.
Mar
21
1960
1x24 Henrick Ibsen's
The Master Builder
[8]
Henrik Ibsen

Translated by
Eva Le Gallienne
Executive Producer
David Susskind

Produced by
Lewis Freedman
John Stix
and
Richard A. Lukin
In London, two months after the December 1892 Norwegian publication of The Master Builder, the play received its first English-language production, with a translation by William Archer. The January 1900 American premiere in New York City was not at a Broadway theater, but in Carnegie Hall's Lyceum.
Mar
28
1960
1x25 The Grass Harp
[9]
Truman Capote Jack Kuney Word Baker Directed by Robert Lewis, The Grass Harp opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on March 27, 1952 and closed on April 26, after 36 performances.
Apr
4
1960
1x26 A Palm Tree in a Rose Garden
[11]
Meade Roberts David Susskind Keve Hjelm
and
Wes Kenney
Directed by Warren Enters, A Palm Tree in a Rose Garden opened Off-Broadway at the Cricket Theatre on November 26, 1957 and closed on January 19, 1958.
Apr
11
1960
1x27 The Enchanted
[12]
Jean Giraudoux

translated by
Maurice Valency
David Susskind Keve Hjelm
and
Wes Kenney
Staged by George S. Kaufman, The Enchanted, playwright-critic Maurice Valency's English-language title for his 1950 translation of Jean Giraudoux's 1933 play Intermezzo, opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre on January 18, 1950, and closed on February 25, after 45 performances.[13]
Apr
18
1960
1x28 The Girls in 509
[14]
Howard Teichmann David Susskind Keve Hjelm
and
Wes Kenney
Staged by Bretaigne Windust, The Girls in 509 opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre on October 15, 1958 and closed on January 24, 1959, after 117 performances.[15]
Apr
25
1960
1x29 Morning's at Seven Paul Osborn David Susskind Jack Ragotzy [in alphabetical order] Beulah Bondi as Mother, Russell Collins as Carl (1939–40 Broadway cast), Frank Conroy as David Crampton, Dorothy Gish as Aaronetta (1939–40 Broadway cast), Ann Harding as Cora, Eileen Heckart as Myrtle, Chester Morris as Swanson, Hiram Sherman as Homer Bolton, Ruth White as Ida
Intermission interview hosted by Russel Crouse
May
2
1960
1x30 Night of the Auk
[16]
Arch Oboler Lewis Freedman Nikos Psacharopoulos Based on Arch Oboler's radio play Rocket from Manhattan, Night of the Auk, directed by Sidney Lumet, opened on Broadway at the Playhouse Theatre on December 3, 1956 and closed on December 8, 1959, after 8 performances. The cast, in alphabetical order, was: Martin Brooks as Lt. Jan Kephart, Wendell Corey as Colonel Tom Russell, Christopher Plummer as Lewis Rohnen, Claude Rains as Doctor Bruner, Dick York as Lt. Max Hartman.[17] Three years after the TV production, another staging, at Off-Broadway's Cricket Theatre, lasted 3 performances, May 21–23, 1963.[18]
May
9
1960
1x31 A Piece of Blue Sky
[19]
Frank Corsaro David Susskind Keve Hjelm
and
Wes Kenney
Originally titled The Squirrel Cage, A Piece of Blue Sky, with its star, Shelley Winters, was produced by Jay Julian and directed by the author, Frank Corsaro, as a touring play which went into rehearsals on December 15, 1958 and, following three-and-a-half weeks of performances in regional theatre, was scheduled to open in New York City at the end of January 1959.[20] The production folded, however, upon completion of its brief tour.[21]
May
16
1960
1x32 Archy and Mehitabel
[23]
Mel Brooks
and
Joe Darion

adapted from Don Marquis' book The Life and Times of Archy and Mehitabel

music by
George Kleinsinger
Jack Kuney

Producer for NTA
Worthington Miner
J. Robert Blum
and
Ed Greenberg
Titled Shinbone Alley and supervised by Sawyer Falk (original director Norman Lloyd requested the removal of his name from the credits), Archy and Mehitabel opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre on April 13, 1957 and closed on May 25, after 49 performances.[24]
May
23
1960
1x33 Mary Stuart
[25]
Friedrich Schiller

translated by Jean Stock Goldstone
and
John Reich
David Susskind Dennis Vance Directed by Tyrone Guthrie, Mary Stuart opened Off-Broadway at the Phoenix Theatre on October 8, 1957 and closed on November 24, after 56 performances.[26]
May
30
1960
1x34 The Grand Tour
[27]
Elmer Rice David Susskind William A. Graham Staged by the playwright, Elmer Rice, The Grand Tour opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on December 10, 1951 and closed on December 15, after 8 performances.[28]
Jun
7
1960
1x35 The House of Bernarda Alba
[29]
Federico García Lorca

translated by James Graham-Lujan
and
Richard L. O'Connell
David Susskind Keve Hjelm
and
Wes Kenney
Directed by Boris Tumarin and Robert Breen, The House of Bernarda Alba opened on Broadway at the ANTA Playhouse on January 7, 1951 and closed on January 20, after 17 performances.[30]

Season 2 (1960–61)[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Time writers (14 December 1959). "Waking Them Up at Night". Time. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  2. ^ Pace, Eric. "Ely Landau, Producer, 73, Dies; Filmed Plays for TV and Theaters" (The New York Times, November 8, 1993)
  3. ^ Shepard, Richard F. "4 Dramas Listed by Play of the Week" (The New York Times, January 15, 1960)
  4. ^ Colleen Dewhurst—Her Autobiography—Written with and Completed by Tom Viola. Simon and Schuster, 2002, pp. 141–143
  5. ^ Harron, Don. My Double Life—Sexty Yeers of Farquharson Around With Don Harn. Google eBook, 2012, p. 228.
  6. ^ Fox, Margalit. "Jack Kuney, 88, Producer of Notable Early TV Shows, Is Dead" (The New York Times, November 17, 2007)
  7. ^ Shanley, John P. "Rope Dancers Bows" (The New York Times, March 15, 1960)
  8. ^ Gould, Jack. "TV: The Master Builder; Ibsen Work Begins on Play of the Week" (The New York Times, March 22, 1960)
  9. ^ Gould, Jack. "Television: Grass Harp; Capote's Work on Free Human Spirit Begins on The Play of the Week" (The New York Times, March 29, 1960)
  10. ^ Peck, Seymour. "Then and Now: Lillian Gish" (The New York Times, April 17, 1960)
  11. ^ Shanley, John P. "TV Review; Meade Roberts Work Is Play of Week" (The New York Times, April 5, 1960)
  12. ^ Gould, Jack. "TV: Giraudoux Comedy; His The Enchanted Gallicizes Art of Confusion on The Play of the Week" (The New York Times, April 12, 1960)
  13. ^ The Enchanted at IBDb
  14. ^ Gould, Jack. "TV Review: Girls in 509 starts on Play of Week" (The New York Times, April 19, 1960)
  15. ^ The Girls in 509 at IBDb
  16. ^ Shepard, Richard F. "Night of the Auk on Play of the Week" (The New York Times, May 3, 1960)
  17. ^ Night of the Auk at IBDb
  18. ^ Night of the Auk at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
  19. ^ Gould, Jack."TV: A Piece of Blue Sky" (The New York Times, May 10, 1960)
  20. ^ Calta, Louis. "Play Role Taken by Ruth Gordon; Actress Will Appear in La Bonne Soupe—Shelley Winters in Comedy; Julien Plans Production" (The New York Times, November 6, 1958)
  21. ^ Zolotow, Sam."Corsaro to Direct" (The New York Times, April 21, 1960)
  22. ^ "Miss Winters 'Typed' as Mother; Cast in 4 Varied Roles in Films" (The New York Times, May 4, 1960)
  23. ^ Shanley, John P. "archy and mehitabel" (The New York Times, May 17, 1960)
  24. ^ Shinbone Alley at IBDb
  25. ^ Gould, Jack. "TV: Clash of Royalty" — Eva LeGallienne and Signe Hasso Star in Mary Stuart on Play of the Week
  26. ^ Mary Stuart at IBDb
  27. ^ Shanley, John P. "TV: A Teacher Abroad — Grand Tour, with Audrey Meadows and Scott McKay", on Play of the Week
  28. ^ The Grand Tour at IBDb
  29. ^ Shanley, John P. Garcia Lorca Work on Play of the Week (The New York Times, June 7, 1960)
  30. ^ The House of Bernarda Alba at IBDb

External links[edit]