August 2, 1946
Dear Mr. Lyons: 1
It's a bit difficult to get the playwrights to consider your suggestions at the moment, because Sherwood is in London and Rice is involved in three productions--two of "DREAM GIRL" and the musical of "STREET SCENE". A copy of your letter has been sent to both of them, however, and we're to have a full meeting this month sometime after Sherwood returns and can go into the matter then.
John Wharton and Kurt Weill and I have read the letter and talked it over unofficially. John said he thought it was the first proposal of the sort that we could consider seriously, and although he didn't have time to go into details, he left me with the impression that he would be satisfied with the conditions as he understood them. He felt that certain objections would be raised but that they could be overcome.
Kurt and I, discussing the project together afterward, agreed that the difficulty most likely to be encountered was indicated in your statement that the playwright should have a "strong voice" in the selection of directors, writers and players. We felt that we would have to have much more than a strong voice; we would have to have a controlling voice--and as you know whoever controls the money controls also the artistic direction of the production in hand. You would have to be safe-guarded against waste or extravagance, but we would have missed our aim altogether if we were not actually making the decisions. And since we would be working on a profit-sharing basis, we'd have as much incentive as you to be careful of expenditures.
All this is preliminary and off the record, however. As soon as my group makes up its collective mind, we must try to arrange a meeting and draw up terms. And I want to thank you for thinking the matter out and putting it in writing. That was an obvious, but a difficult and essential contribution, and you did a good job on it. 2