A Life in the Theatre Historical Context

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Like other aspects of American life, commercial theater struggled in the early 1970s. Fewer real taboos were left after the freewheeling 1960s. Few plays of quality were produced on Broadway, and much money was lost. Fringe theater and off-Broadway were places where dramatic innovation was taking place. Off-Broadway was where many new and developing writers were nurtured, including Mamet, Sam Shepard, and David Rabe. Many of their plays were introspective, trying to make sense of life in a broken society. Mamet was but one playwright encouraged by Joseph Papp and his Public Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival. Papp was a producer who developed the plays of Mamet and other playwrights off-Broadway, before bringing them to Broadway. By the late 1970s, these playwrights and their work were reaching Broadway. Mamet's American Buffalo was produced on Broadway in 1977. Broadway was very profitable in 1977, setting new revenue records...

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This section contains 509 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Life in the Theatre Study Guide
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A Life in the Theatre from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.