Elmer Rice

Elmer Rice, 1892–1967, American dramatist, b. New York City, LL.B. New York Law School, 1912. After the success of his first play, On Trial (1914), he turned his interests to the theater. Rice's first major contribution to the American stage was The Adding Machine (1923), an expressionistic play satirizing man in the machine age. Street Scene (1929; operatic version by Kurt Weill, 1947), one of his most compassionate works, is a realistic drama of tenement life in New York. His plays of the 1930s—including Counsellor-at-Law (1931), We, the People (1933), and Between Two Worlds (1934)—continued to express his social and political views. Although Dream Girl (1945), a romantic comedy, was a huge success, his later plays for the most part lack the power of his early works. He was also the author of novels and of essays, some of which were published as The Living Theatre (1959). During the 1930s Rice was regional director of the N.Y. Federal Theater project.

See his autobiography Minority Report (1963); A. F. Palmieri, Elmer Rice: A Playwright's Vision of America (1980).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Elmer Rice: Selected full-text books and articles

Dream Girl, a Comedy By Elmer Rice Coward McCann, Inc., 1946
Seven Plays By Elmer Rice Viking Press, 1950
Flight to the West: A Play in Seven Scenes By Elmer L. Rice Coward-McCann Inc., 1941
Cock Robin: A Play in Three Acts By Elmer Rice; Philip Barry Samuel French, 1929
Judgment Day: A Melodrama in Three Acts By Elmer Rice Coward-McCann, Inc., 1934
We, the People: A Play in Twenty Scenes By Elmer Rice Coward-McCann, Inc., 1933
Our Decentralized Literature: Cultural Mediations in Selected Jewish and Southern Writers By Jules Chametzky University of Massachusetts Press, 1986
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Six "Elmer Rice, Liberation, and the Great Ethnic Question"
Accelerated Grimace: Expressionism in the American Drama of the 1920s By Mardi Valgemae Southern Illinois University Press, 1972
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Elmer Rice"
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