This post is about a theater outing to see the Broadway production of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning THREE TALL WOMEN on Wednesday, April 4th at 2pm. Tickets are $80. – this is a big break because we’re getting our tickets early. Catch is: you need to sign up right away as we have a Feb 20th deadline! MWC’ers, If you would like to go, please go to the Sign-Up! tab where you will see information on how to contact Meg F and arrange for payment directly with her (Venmo) and also ticket distribution.
How many Pulitzer Prize winning plays have their Broadway premieres almost 25 years after their initial run? Uh, not many. But that is the case with the new production of THREE TALL WOMEN, starring Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf and Alison Pill and directed by Joe Mantello. This production will mark Glenda Jackson’s return to Broadway after an absence of 30 years. Laurie Metcalf is fresh from her Tony Award win for her performance in DOLLS’S HOUSE – Part 2. THREE TALL WOMEN earned Edward Albee his third Pulitzer (after A DELICATE BALANCE and SEASCAPE; NOT for his best-known work, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?) as well as three other “Best Play” honors in 1994. It is regarded as his most autobiographical work based somewhat on his fractious relationship with his adoptive, wealthy family. [NOTE: Although having seen rep versions of this work, this writer has always greatly regretted not having seen THREE TALL WOMEN’s original 1994 production – and is thrilled there is a new one!)
The story centers on three women characters, “A”, “B” and “C” – and while their individual stories are recounted in Act One, it becomes quite clear in Act Two that the characters represent different stages of the same woman’s life. (Hmmm, this is so well-known that I don’t think it counts as a spoiler ….} We see a single person as a crusty, not-too pleasant imperious old woman, as a regal mid-life matron and as an over-confident 26 year-old. It’s often thought that this is almost a women-only work; that the reminiscences, memories and regrets – and the Second Act parsing of them – are particularly redolent for women of a certain age. Edward Albee is most definitely one of theater’s great wordsmiths and that is apparent here – so much so that if you’ve the time (ha!) it might be worth grabbing a copy of the play and reading it first.
Albee’s career hit a bit of a lull after he won a Pulitzer for SEASCAPE in the mid-‘70’s and, given that he published virtually no work for the following twenty years, it was commonly regarded that his career was effectively over. But then came THREE TALL WOMEN and these reviews:
“One of America’s finest playwrights. Edward Albee offers a new play so good it can only exist on the stage. A perfect illustration of why theater is an indispensable art.” —NY Times.
“Beautiful and enduring. THREE TALL WOMEN has earned Albee his third, and most deserved, Pulitzer Prize.” —The New Yorker.
“A dazzler…Worthy of mention in the same breath as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and A Delicate Balance.THREE TALL WOMEN blazes as bright as a midsummer day. Electrifying and heartrending, each of Albee’s women is memorable…” —Wall Street Journal.
After THREE TALL WOMEN, Albee (who died in 2016) wrote eight plays during the rest of his life. Some feel he had become too avant garde in this period (THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA?) but others think that having exorcised personal demons through THREE TALL WOMEN he was felt free to experiment and bring greater insight to his work. For those of us (and we are legion) who have long admired Edward Albee this is a great opportunity to see his best work in a primo production (and at a great price). Lucky us!