I discovered George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart by way of the Marx Brothers. In 6th grade I stumbled across a book in my hometown library about the Marx Brothers and their movies. I began checking them out of our local library (on VHS tape in those days). My favorite of their films were originally written as Broadway shows for them by a man named George S. Kaufman—a man with an evocative wit and work that piqued my young interest. I began to explore. This led me to the Algonquin Round Table and a whole cast of additional characters, including Moss Hart, whose unparalleled memoir, “Act One” grew like a vine on an old building in my heart. I fell in love with the whole crew— Groucho, Harpo, Chico, (even Zeppo), George S., Moss, Woollcott, Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, FPA—and they have indelibly impacted my sense of humor…for better or for worse.
Jump ahead almost 40 years, and here I am cast in a play written by Kaufman and Hart, directed by Chris Hart, the son of Moss Hart (and Kitty Carlisle, who starred with the Marx Brothers in one of their best films, A Night at the Opera) and starring an actor (Patrick Cronin) whose first wife Beatrice was George S. Kaufman’s granddaughter. Which means that being part of this production is about as close as I will ever get to experiencing the Algonquin Round Table for myself. Which means it is pretty close to heaven, as well. (“Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Parkway Playhouse.”)