June 26, 1938
Dear Elmer: 1
First of all let me thank you for your telegram which is the only word I have had from the playwrights about my script so far and most encouraging. I think you will like it better when you see it next for I am doing a good deal of rewriting, especially in the first act. Weill's music is the best I have ever heard for any musical show, better even than Sullivan's. If the words are only half as good and we have the right actors, we should come off very well. I've had a lot of casting and production problems to consider and am therefore very late with this letter but you needed a vacation anyway so perhaps I'll be forgiven.
This House--and I like the title by the way--held me from beginning to end and should play just as well as it reads. Everything you write is so alive and so commanding that there is never any faltering of interest. But when I looked over the script today I felt, as I had when I read it first, that an audience would be in doubt as to what you meant to convey. I am not even certain that I know what impression you meant to leave though I think I can make a pretty big guess at it.
I feel a bit hesitant about making definite suggestions but after all that is what our organization is for and I shall hope to get the same kind of thing from you whenever you have an idea you think might help. To be brief, I was dissatisfied with three things; first, I didn't know why the ghosts came back and they never told me; second, the old man's death appeared accidental which results in a fortuitous end to your second act; and third, your last act presents no answer to the indictment Frank brings at the end of the second.
I don't know how you would go about clearing these matters up, in case you thought it necessary to do so. Please forgive me if I suggest the way in which I'd go about it if it were my problem. I don't know any other way to make my meaning plain.
The big scene at the end of the second act begins as it must with a statement of the young people's side of the question. They don't want the house sold and they have their reasons for it. Then the old man has his say and the words you have given him are thrilling and beautiful. But now I think the ghosts should have their innings and prove their