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Realism of one sort or an- other is exemplified by such selections, among others, as Desire Under the Elms, Wjb i'^Price Glory? {With his old confident bravado.) I’ll show her I’m better’n her, if she on’y knew it. They also provide a cross-section of dra- matic writing during the years covered by the book. will be charged for each day the book is kept overtime Ac. £ \ TWENTY-FIVE BEST PLAYS OF THE MODERN AMERICAN THEATRE EARLY SERIES EDITED WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JOHN GASSNER NEW YORK CROWN PUBLISHERS Copyright, 1949, by Crown Publishers Note: All plays contained in this volume are fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Empire, including the Dominion of Canada, and all other countries of the Copyright Union. Behrman Maxwell Anderson Dorothy and Du Bose Heyward Ben Hecht and Charles Mac Arthur Sophie Treadwell Maxwell Anderson and Harold Hickerson . PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA • Introduction THE HAPPY YEARS, THE ADVANCING THEATRE By John Gassner In the brief chronicle of the modern American theatre, only one of its decades, that which ended ignominiously one late October day in 1929, was free from national anguish. Permission to reproduce, wholly or in part, must be obtained from the copy- right owners. One decade of unclouded skies is about as much as the children of the century have enjoyed any- where, and we tend to look back upon it with a nostalgia that does not always seem quite so justified when a Broadway producer revives one of its plays. CONTENTS Litrodu^ion: The Happy Years, thb Advancing Theatre “The lij URY Ape” ... Skies were certainly not unclouded for the artists who found incentives for flight and scorn in the contentment of Main Street, which they were temperamentally incapable of sharing.

And three years earlier William Vaughn Moody, turning from poetry to prose drama in The Gredt Divide, had already made a rent in the curtain of prissiness that had veiled the theatre. Even Clyde Fitch, purveyor extraordinary of mild comedy of manners like The Climbers and The Truth, tried to heed his own complaint that “no one at present is getting the essence of his environment in thought, word, and deed” and contrived T he City, in which he showed the veneer of respectability covering a corrupt public career.