Washington Square Players

   Among the most important progressive developments of the pre-World War I American theatre was the rise of the little theatre movement. And among those theatres in various American cities, New York's Washington Square Players emerged as one of the most significant, despite its relatively short existence. Founded in 1915 by amateurs Lawrence Langner, Edward Goodman, Philip Moeller, and Helen Westley, the Players aimed to raise the quality of New York theatre by adopting the little theatre style demonstrated by Maurice Browne in Chicago: presenting cutting-edge European dramas (Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Evreinov, Maurice Maeterlinck) and new American plays, including works by Eugene O'Neill, Susan Glaspell, Elmer Rice, Ben Hecht, Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, Zoe Akins. From 1915 until the group disbanded in 1918, the Players produced nearly 75 one-act and full-length plays, first at the tiny Bandbox Theatre, then at the 600-seat Comedy Theatre. Among those working with the group were Roland Young, Rollo Peters, Frank Conroy, and Katharine Cornell. Most of the founders, along with Peters and Lee Simonson, established the Theatre Guild in 1919 to continue the work begun by the Players.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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