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  • Published: 23 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780525657958
  • Imprint: Knopf US
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $64.99

Noël Coward on (and in) Theatre



Noël Coward on theatre was as dazzling and entertaining as his masterful plays and lyrics. Here his ideas and opinions on the subject are brilliantly brought together in an extraordinary collection of commentary, lyrics, essays, and asides on everything having to do with the theatre and Coward's dazzling life in it.

The book Noël Coward wanted, promised, threatened to write—and never did.

Including essays, interviews, diary entries, verse, his views on his fellow playwrights: "My Colleague Will," Shaw, Wilde, Chekhov, Barrie, Maugham, Eliot, Osborne, Albee, Beckett, Miller, Williams, Rattigan, Pinter, and Shaffer.

Coward on the critics—many of whom irritated him over the years but came to admire him: James Agate, Alexander Woollcott, Graham Greene, Kenneth Tynan among them.

And on the plays he wrote, among them: The Vortex; Hay Fever; Private Lives; Design For Living; Blithe Spirit.
Here is the Master on the producers who crossed his path: André Charlot, C. B. Cochran, Binkie Beaumont. And the actors in the Coward galaxy: John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Gertrude Lawrence, the Lunts, etc. . . .

His views on the art of acting: auditions, rehearsals, learning the lines, clarity of delivery, timing, control, range, stage fright, fans, theater audiences, revivals, comedy, "the Method," plays with a "message," taste, construction, "Star Quality," etc. . . .

And last, but Noël Coward least, his experience in, and thoughts on: revue, cabaret, television, and musical theater, Bitter Sweet, Conversation Piece, Pacific 1860, After the Ball, Ace of Clubs, Sail Away, The Girl Who Came to Supper, Words and Music, This Year of Grace, London Calling! . . . and much more.

Ingeniously, deftly compiled, edited, and annotated by Barry Day, Coward authority and editor of The Noёl Coward Reader and The Letters of Noёl Coward.

  • Published: 23 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780525657958
  • Imprint: Knopf US
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $64.99

About the author

Noel Coward

Noël Coward was born in 1899, and was a professional actor by the age of ten. In 1920, he starred in his own play, I'll Leave it to You. His first major hit was The Vortex (1924) and his success continued throughout the Twenties and Thirties with plays including Hay Fever (1926), Private Lives (1930) and Design for Living (1932). During the Second World War, he wrote the patriotic screenplayIn Which We Serve (1942), for which he won an Oscar; as well as scripting the classic film Brief Encounter (1944) and entertaining the nation with the black comedy Blithe Spirit (1941). After the war, Coward added a new string to his bow as a cabaret singer, as well as continuing to write musicals and plays. In all, Coward wrote 40 plays, 300 songs and numerous poems, short stories and films. He was knighted in 1970, and died in Jamaica in 1973.

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