The Theater of Lee Blessing

A Critical Study of 44 Plays

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About the Book

Nominated for Pulitzer, Tony and Obie awards, among others, Lee Blessing has shaped American theater over the last 40 years. Tackling subjects like child abuse, racism, sexism and war, as well as baseball, love and religion, Blessing has dedicated himself to investigating and dramatizing both the triumphs and evils of contemporary society. This book examines for the first time all 44 of his plays, and includes one of his unpublished scripts, providing a definitive text on a playwright whose thought-provoking work has been performed around the world.

About the Author(s)

Philip Zwerling is the director of the creative writing program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is the author of three books and numerous journal, magazine and newspaper articles.

Bibliographic Details

Philip Zwerling
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7110-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2437-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Introduction 5

1. The Beginning 7

The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid 12

2. The Estrogen Plays 19

Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music 20; Independence 27; Riches 33; Eleemosynary 39

3. On Fields of Dreams 45

Oldtimers Game 46; Cooperstown 49; Cobb 50; Fantasy League 56; The Winning Streak 57; For the Loyal 61

4. A Walk and a View 67

A Walk in the Woods 67; A View of the Mountains 78

5. The Headline Plays 84

Two Rooms 85; Down the Road 93; Lake Street Extension 100; Patient A 104; The Rights 111; Going to St. Ives 112; Chesapeake

116; 34th and Dyer 119; Whores 120; Wood for the Fire 127;

Seven Joys 130

6. The Race Plays 134

Black Sheep 134; Flag Day 139; Perilous Night 144

7. Love Is All There Is 149

Thief River 150; The Roads That Lead Here 156; A Body of Water 159; The Scottish Play 165; Lonesome Hollow 169; Great Falls

174; Into You 179; Uncle 181

8. The Rushmore Plays 188

Fortinbras 188; Tyler Poked Taylor 193; Reagan in Hell 195;

When We Go Upon the Sea 196

 9. The Plays of Life, Death and Immortality 202

Cold Water 202; Heaven’s My Destination 204; A User’s Guide

to Hell Featuring Bernard Madoff 208; Unknown 213; Courting Harry 214; The Hourglass Project 219

10. Writing for Movies and Television 223

11. Curtain 226

Appendix 1. The Awards 235

Appendix 2. The Napkin Play 238

Appendix 3. The Plays 240

Chapter Notes 246

Bibliography 263

Index 265

Book Reviews & Awards

“This work will interest researchers and practitioners of contemporary US drama and performance”—American Literature.