You Can't Take It With You: A Child's View

October 8, 2014 9:33 PM

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You Can't Take It With You: A Child's View

As a kid, I used to bring home the plays of Kaufman and Hart from the local library and read them aloud with my little sister and my little brother, Elisa and Mark, on long Saturday afternoons. I don't recall how I discovered George S. Kaufman exactly but he somehow found me; he really made me laugh. His legend also appealed to me fiercely -- the stinging Kaufman wit behind the laconic Kaufman exterior: George S. Kaufman, in a telegram sent backstage to an over-emoting actor: "I am watching your performance from the rear of the house. Wish you were here." George S. Kaufman exiting the apartment of the erratically brilliant producer and director Jed Harris after a conference that Harris chose to conduct stark naked: "And Jed, you're fly is open."

In the winter of 1998, my editor at the New York Times Arts & Leisure section, the incomparable Andrea Stevens, announced to me that -- in the wake of a critically acclaimed revival of Kaufman and Ring Lardner's June Moon at the Drama Dept. (remember them?), and with a revival of Kaufman and Hart's ...

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