of the Playwrights' Company agree that you will have first chance at any play we write which seems to have a part for you.
Good luck and good fortune to you both.
September 8, 1940
Dear Dorothy Thompson:
The Playwrights Company has tried several times to organize a repertory theatre but has always met with insuperable obstacles. It's our conviction that the theatre, to be healthy, should be able to pay for itself, also we have never felt financially able to support a repertory which could not stand on its own feet. But when we try to put such an organization together we always discover that the costs would outweigh the income--even at the most sanguine estimate. New York productions are geared to bring in an income over a considerable period of time. You can't possibly make back your production costs on a play in two weeks. It's seldom that you can do it in six weeks. A repertory company would have to begin with a rush of productions-- all of them gambles, as everything is in our theatre--and no likelihood of getting the investment back within several years, if at all. I don't know of anybody who could afford to sink money in such a venture-- and, frankly, I have my doubts of the soundness of any scheme that doesn't at least promise a return.
Perhaps your theory is that your actors will not cost as much, nor your productions, as is usual on Broadway. We've had some experience with that. We honestly try to hold down the cost of production to a minimum. But if you want an acceptable production, with actors the public will pay to see, you can't proceed inexpensively.