Rice, Elmer


Rice, Elmer
(1892-1967)
   Elmer Leopold Reizenstein was born in New York and studied law before giving it up for playwriting, renaming himself Elmer Rice. He wrote plays ranging from gritty realism to expressionist fantasy. His first successful drama, On Trial (1914), made use of his legal background in its depiction of a sensational murder case and employed cinematic-style flashbacks in the revelation of its plot. Rice's next few plays also had legal settings, including For the Defense (1919) and It Is the Law (1922). He collaborated with Hatcher Hughes on a vehicle for Minnie Maddern Fiske called Wake Up, Jonathan! (1921). Rice's most important work of the early 1920s was The Adding Machine (1923), which ranks alongside Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones (1920) and The Hairy Ape (1922) as among the finest examples of expressionism seen on Broadway. Rice collaborated with Dorothy Parker on Close Harmony (1924), but it flopped, after which he worked with Philip Barry on Cock Robin (1928), a modest success.
   Following two 1929 plays, The Subway and See Naples and Die, Rice offered the Pulitzer PRiZE-winning Street Scene, a hardhitting naturalistic melodrama set on the steps of a tenement and focusing on the frictions in New York City's immigrant melting pot. In 1931, Rice wrote two successful plays, The Left Bank and Coun-sellor-at-Law,* but his firebrand leftist politics led him to spend much of his energy in the 1930s on propagandistic plays. His biggest late-career hit, Dream Girl* (1945), was written as a vehicle for his wife, actress Betty Field.*
   Rice directed many of his own plays, including Street Scene and Counsellor-at-Law, as well as plays by others, notably Robert E. Sherwood's Pulitzer Prize-winning Abe Lincoln in Illinois* (1938). He served as regional director for the Federal Theatre Project,* but resigned when censorship was threatened. Rice wrote two memoirs, The Living Theatre (1959) and Minority Report (1963), was a founder of the Playwrights' Company* in 1938, and he was an outspoken opponent of Senator Joseph McCarthy's Communist "witch hunt" blacklisting of theatre and film writers.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rice, Elmer — ▪ American playwright, director, and novelist original name  Elmer Reizenstein   born Sept. 28, 1892, New York City died May 8, 1967, Southampton, Hampshire, Eng.       American playwright, director, and novelist noted for his innovative and… …   Universalium

  • Rice, Elmer — pseud. di Reizenstein, Elmer …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Rice, Elmer —    см. Раис, Элмер …   Энциклопедический словарь экспрессионизма

  • Rice, Elmer —    см. Райс, Элмер …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • Rice,Elmer Leopold — Rice (rīs), Elmer Leopold. 1892 1967. American playwright noted for his expressionist plays, including The Adding Machine (1923) and Street Scene (1929). * * * …   Universalium

  • Rice, Elmer (Reisenstein, Elmer Leopold) — (1892 1967)    American writer. Born in New York City, he began to write plays in 1913. He wrote over 50 plays, most of which appeared on Broadway …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Elmer Rice — Elmer Rice. Elmer Rice (* 28. September 1892 als Elmer Reizenstein in New York City; † 8. Mai 1967 in Southampton) war ein US amerikanischer Dramatiker. Er führte etliche Neuerungen auf dem Theater ein und genaß in der Zeit zwischen den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Elmer L. Rice — Elmer Rice Elmer Rice vers 1920 (?) Elmer Rice est un dramaturge, metteur en scène, producteur, écrivain et scénariste américain, né Elmer Leopold Reizenstein à New York le 28 septembre 1892, dé …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Elmer Rice — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Elmer Rice Fotografía de Elmer Rice por Carl van Vechten (1936) Nombre Elmer Leopold Reizens …   Wikipedia Español

  • Elmer Rice — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Rice. Elmer Rice vers 1920 (?) Elmer Rice est un dramaturge, metteur en scène, producteur, écrivain …   Wikipédia en Français


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