Mondays at Beinecke: “She Had It Comin’”: Recognition, Regret, and Maurine Dallas Watkins with Catherine Sheehy

Event time: 
Monday, February 21, 2022 - 4:00pm to 4:30pm
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In conjunction with the exhibition, Brava! Women Make American Theater. Sheehy is Professor in the Practice of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, and Chair, Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Program at David Geffen School of Drama; Yale Repertory Theatre Resident Dramaturg and Senior Associate Editor, School of Drama Alumni Magazine; more:
Maurine Dallas Watkins (1896-1969) was born in Kentucky and educated at Radcliffe, the women’s college neighboring Harvard, where she spent two years studying playwriting with George Pierce Baker in his famous English 47 course. After graduating, Watkins joined the staff of the Chicago Tribune, reporting on the murder trials of women who had allegedly killed their lovers, as the headlines of the day put it. Disgusted by their acquittals and the sensationalism with which these women’s crimes were reported, Watkins reunited with Baker, by then at Yale’s new Drama Department, in a class that was nearly fifty percent women. Watkins wrote a play satirizing the newspaper industry and the criminal justice system, trying out the titles “A Brave Little Woman” and “Play Ball” before landing on the one by which we know it today: Chicago.
After previewing at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Chicago opened to great acclaim on Broadway on December 30, 1926, while Watkins was still enrolled as a drama student. Watkins went on to write 20 more plays as well as short stories and articles for Cosmopolitan, but her reputation was cemented as the author of Chicago, which received two film adaptations before the iconic 1975 musical.
Sheehy’s presentation, beginning at 4:00 pm, will be followed by conversation and q&a from about 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

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