- George Cram "Jig" Cook was the visionary leader who rallied the playwrights and scene designers of the new plays presented on the wharf in Provincetown in summer 1916 to continue the venture that fall in Greenwich Village in New York City. Besides Cook and his wife Susan Glaspell, these trailblazers of American modernist theatre included Neith Boyce, Louise Bryant, Michael Gold, Robert Edmond Jones, Mabel Dodge, John Reed, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Eugene O'Neill, Cleon Throckmorton, and William and Marguerite Zorach. Otto Kahn was an important patron. After two seasons in a space at 139 Macdougal Street, the company made its permanent home in a former stable at 133 Macdougal Street. According to Robert K. Sarlos in Jig Cook and the Provincetown Players, they produced 97 plays by 47 American authors in eight seasons. Various theories have been advanced for the group's demise in 1922 at the peak of its success, when O'Neill's expressionist play The Hairy Ape was transferred to a theatre uptown. Some have signaled this move as evidence that commercial success was diverting the players from their mission to nurture new plays. Others have conjectured that Cook's departure for Greece left them rudderless. In any case, the Provincetown Players must be credited with launching the career of O'Neill as well as of numerous others. The Women of Provincetown by Cheryl Black records the contributions of women directors, scene designers, actors, and managers, in addition to the more frequently lauded dramatists.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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