- The first Pulitzer PRizE-winning play, Jesse Lynch Williams's three-act comedy Why Marry? opened on 25 December 1917 at the Astor Theatre, achieving 120 performances. Helen, a lab technician, is a modern woman who expects to continue working after her wedding to scientist Ernest, but she fears marriage will interfere with his important research. She decides to live with Ernest without marrying, which upsets her Uncle Everett, despite the fact that his own wife is off in Reno suing him for divorce. Everett manages to reconcile with his wife and to convince Helen and Ernest that however imperfect marriage may be it is all that society has to offer. This light, witty play ran for over 500 performances in its London production, perhaps because critics noted parallels with George Bernard Shaw's socially conscious comedies. Veteran actor Nat C. Goodwin won glowing reviews as Uncle Everett, his last role.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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