Did Richard Wilbur Write the Lyrics to “Glitter and Be Gay”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to opera and operettas and whether they are true or false.

OPERA URBAN LEGEND: Richard Wilbur, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry and the second United States Poet Laureate, actually wrote the lyrics to a number of songs from Candide, including “Glitter and Be Gay.”

Richard Wilbur (born in New York City in 1921) is one of the very best poets of the second half of the 20th Century, and even in the 21st Century he has continued his same, steady delivery of excellent poetry.

Wilbur, like most of the men in his generation, fought in World War Two. Wilbur served in the Army during the war and saw quite a bit of action in Europe from 1943 until the end of the war. His war experiences clearly influenced his poetry dramatically, as much of his most celebrated early work concerned itself with putting order to a chaotic post-War world.

Wilbur’s work, while beautiful, is written in a traditional style, similar to the work of Robert Frost. During the second half of the 20th Century, however, a more non-formalist style became the more celebrated style of poetry among critics, like the confessional poets Slyvia Plath, Robert Lowell and John Berryman (all peers of Wilbur, but all three killed themselves decades ago while Wilbur is still alive today).

Because of this, Wilbur sometimes almost seems to be overlooked in poetry history, as his work does not leap out as much stylistically, but he has significant amounts of accolades. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1957 and 1989 and he was named the second Poet Laureate of the United States in 1987 (the position existed for many years before 1987, it just wasn’t CALLED that until 1986).

However, one facet of his career that really has been overlooked is he actually did song lyrics for an operetta!!
Continue reading “Did Richard Wilbur Write the Lyrics to “Glitter and Be Gay”?”

Does John Patrick Shanley Really Have a Clause in His Contracts That You Can’t Change Any of His Screenplays?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: John Patrick Shanley has it written into his contract that no words in his screenplays can be changed.

John Patrick Shanley was a burgeoning young playwright in the 1980s when he burst on to the Hollywood scene with the screenplay to the smash hit (and Academy Award winning) film, Moonstruck, starring Cher.

The film won Shanley the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

More recently, in 2005, Shanley won the trifecta for American Drama Awards, when he was awarded the Drama Desk for Best Play, the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, Doubt: A Parable.

Recently, the play was adapted into a critically acclaimed film starring Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman…

A legend has grown around Shanley when it came to the world of films and his screenplays.

Continue reading “Does John Patrick Shanley Really Have a Clause in His Contracts That You Can’t Change Any of His Screenplays?”

Did the Pulitzer Prize Committee Choose to Award No Prize Rather Than Award Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about plays and playwrights and whether they are true or false.

THEATER URBAN LEGEND: The Pulitzer Prize Committee chose to award no Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama in 1963 rather than to give it to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Edward Albee’s play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is one of the more remarkable works of drama in the 20th Century.

The play was first staged in 1962.

The story takes place at the home of George and Martha, a history professor at a college and his wife, the daughter of the president of the college. They have taken a new professor and his mousy wife out to dinner and are now back at George and Martha’s place for more drinks. The night continues as George and Martha slowly descend into a tirade of increasingly violent behavior towards each other.

Albee wished to take a darn look at the “standard” American couple and show the darkness hidden behind a typical white heterosexual couple in the early 60s.

The play opened to widespread acclaim.

It won the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play.

However much acclaim it attracted, though, it attracted the same amount of controversy. The play contained copious amounts of profanity and sexual references. In 1962-63, that was still quite shocking.

It was SO shocking that it resulted in a similarly shocking result when the 1963 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded.
Continue reading “Did the Pulitzer Prize Committee Choose to Award No Prize Rather Than Award Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”