The Young Man from Atlanta

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The Young Man From Atlanta
The Young Man From Atlanta.jpg
Written by Horton Foote
Date premiered January 27, 1995
Place premiered Signature Theatre
New York City
Subject Two parents attempt to cope with the death of their only son
Genre Drama
Setting Spring, 1950. Houston, Texas.

The Young Man From Atlanta is a drama written by American dramatist Horton Foote first produced Off-Broadway by the Signature Theatre in January 1995. Foote received the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This was one of four Foote plays the group produced during its 1994/1995 season.

Overview[edit]

In this play Foote revived characters which had been in his The Orphans' Home Cycle of nine plays. Will Kidder — 64 years old in this play — was in his early twenties in Lily Dale, and approaching middle age in Cousins. Sixty-year-old Lily Dale Kidder was introduced in Roots in a Parched Ground as a ten-year-old, and was portrayed in subsequent life stages in Lily Dale and Cousins. Her stepfather, 72-year-old Pete Davenport, first appears at age thirty in Roots in a Parched Ground. According to the playwright, he thought he was done with these characters after Cousins, but in the early 1990s found himself thinking about them again and started work on this play.

Plot[edit]

In 1950, Will Kidder, age 64, is at his office at the Sunshine Southern Wholesale Grocery, where he has worked since his early 20's. He and his wife Lily Dale have just moved into their new house in Houston and, in Will's words, "There's no finer house in Houston." He was poor as a child and had a successful career. However, Will is fired.

Will talks about his only son, Bill, who had moved to Atlanta. Bill drowned six months ago, and Will suspects Bill actually committed suicide. Lily Dale refuses to consider that he committed suicide, instead believing that his death was an accident. Bill's roommate, Randy Carter, the "Young Man from Atlanta", had been trying to see Will, who believes that all he wants is money. Will learns that Bill had given Randy money, but eventually accepts that he knew Bill and "that's the only Bill I care to know about."[1]

Characters[edit]

  • Lily Dale Kidder
  • Will Kidder
  • Pete Davenport
  • Carson
  • Tom Jackson
  • Miss Lacey
  • Ted Cleveland, Jr.
  • Clara
  • Etta Doris Meneffree

Productions[edit]

The Young Man from Atlanta opened Off-Broadway at the Signature Theatre on January 27, 1995 and closed on February 26, 1995. Directed by Peter Masterson, the cast featured Ralph Waite as Will Kidder, Carlin Glynn as Lily Dale and James Pritchett as Pete Davenport.[2] The production won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.[3]

The play was next produced at the Huntington Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts in 1995, the Alley Theatre in Houston in February 16, 1996 to March 16, both with Ralph Waite and Carlin Glynn, and the Goodman Theatre (Chicago) in January 1997, with new cast members Rip Torn and Shirley Knight.[4] (The play had been developed at the Alley Theatre, where it had readings.)[5][6][7]

The play opened on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre running from March 13, 1997 (previews) to June 8, 1997. Directed by Robert Falls, the cast featured Rip Torn as Will Kidder, Shirley Knight as Lily Dale, and William Biff McGuire as Pete Davenport.[8] The play was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, William Biff McGuire for Best Performance by a Featured Actor, and Shirley Knight for the Best Performance by a Leading Actress.[8]

Development[edit]

Because the producer felt that the play needed changes, a new director, Robert Falls, and new cast were added. The producer said of Falls: "We reached for someone we considered to be the best director in the country for American material, someone who could take Horton's remarkable work and best reveal the subterranean working beneath the surface." Changes to the script were "really been a matter of fine tuning."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bryer, Jackson R. and Hartig, Mary C. The Young Man From Atlanta, 1995 Encyclopedia of American Drama, Infobase Learning, 2015 ISBN 1438140762 (no page number)
  2. ^ "'The Young Man From Atlanta' Listing, 1995" lortel.org, accessed November 6, 2015
  3. ^ "Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 1995" pulitzer.org, accessed November 6, 2015
  4. ^ Christiansen, Richard. "Arts Watch. Theater Review. Good, Old-fashioned Drama" Chicago Tribune, January 29, 1997
  5. ^ Pacheco, Patrick. "ON THE ROAD: 'The Young Man From Atlanta'" Playbill, November 3, 1995
  6. ^ "Robert Falls 25th Anniversary" goodmantheatre.org, accessed November 7, 2015
  7. ^ a b Lefkowitz, David and Pacheco, Patrick. "Foote's Pulitzer-Winning Young Man Gets 3 Tony Nominations" Playbill, May 16, 1997
  8. ^ a b "'The Young Man From Atlanta' Broadway" playbillvault.com, accessed November 6, 2015

Further reading[edit]

  • Foote, Horton (1995). The Young Man from Atlanta (First ed.). New York: Dutton. ISBN 0-525-94114-2. 

External links[edit]