Magazine article American Theatre

The Wit and Wisdom of Abe Burrows

Magazine article American Theatre

The Wit and Wisdom of Abe Burrows

Article excerpt

Abe Burrows, the legendary director of such Broadway gems as Guys and Dolls, Can-Can and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, spent more than 50 years "in the business." He wrote jokes with Frank Galen, corresponded with Sid Caesar and Cole Porter and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Now, thanks to a donation from his children James Burrows and Laurie Burrows Grad, New York Public Library has acquired the Abe Burrows Collection.

Much of the collection documents his creative process, for the Runy onesque Burrows kept every draft of a script-including unused scenes. Most important, he wrote his collaborators notes, such as this wry suggestion to composer Porter regarding Can-Can: "Incidentally, I understand Cy [Feuer, the producer] has spoken to you about a song possibility we discussed on the subject of law. It struck me that there is a certain kind of man to whom the law is a beloved thing. He thinks of it having a pure, holy beauty. I have known lawyers who have spoken of the law as though it were a beautiful woman. If our man could sing a ballad about the beauty of the law, it might be effective. It may be the only way our man can sing attractively and emotionally before he falls in love with the girl."

Beyond dramaturgical input--Burrows was a well-sought-after play doctor--the letters provide insight into his self-critical side. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.