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October 13

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won the Tony Award® for Best Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1963.

Photo by Jason Amato

1962: Couples’ Therapy
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? premieres on Broadway
It’s said that playwright Edward Albee, a 1996 Kennedy Center Honoree, had his own experiences at Connecticut’s Trinity College in mind when he wrote this play about George and Martha, a university professor and his wife. The audience watches as this dysfunctional, middle-aged couple drink heavily, insult one another and their guests, and savagely expose each other’s layers of emotional fragility.

The play’s adult language, themes of infidelity and alcohol abuse, and conflicts between illusion and reality, caused quite a stir after the play opened on this day in 1962. Only a few years later, the controversial drama was adapted into a feature film as a star vehicle for Hollywood’s iconic couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Today it is viewed as an important milestone in the development of modernist drama.
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