A R Gurney

Playwright Albert Ramsdell Gurney, Jr. was born on November 1, 1930, the second of three children born to Albert and Marion Spaulding Gurney, two pillars of Buffalo's society.

After attending boarding school at St. Paul's in New Hampshire and receiving a B.A. degree from Williams College in 1952, Gurney joined the US Navy during the Korean War and wrote shows to entertain military personnel.

Following his discharge in 1955, he enrolled in the Yale School of Drama. In 1957, he married Mary (Molly) Foreman Goodyear, and the couple moved to Massachusetts where Gurney taught English and Latin at a boys' country day school. Later he joined the faculty at M.I.T. in Cambridge. After several extended sabbaticals, he remains on the M.l.T. faculty to this day, though he hasn't taught there for a number of years.

In 1958, Gurney wrote LOVE IN BUFFALO which was the first musical ever produced at Yale. This was followed by a musical version of TOM SAWYER, mounted in Kansas City the same year. His first play, THE DAVID SHOW, was produced in New York in 1968. In 1970, SCENES FROM AMERICAN LIFE received its world premiere at the Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo. During the 1970s, he wrote two novels and several plays, including CHILDREN which premiered in London, England in 1974.

Gurney's play THE DINING ROOM, presented at The Grand last season, opened in New York in February 1982 and finally brought him recognition. Its critical and commercial acceptance spurred the release of new creative juices and, in short succession, he wrote several new works, including the Off-Broadway presentations of ANOTHER ANTIGONE in 1988, and both THE COCKTAIL HOUR and LOVE LETTERS in 1989.

Other works of note include: CHILDREN, RICHARD CORY, THE MIDDLE AGES, THE GOLDEN AGE, WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER, THE PERFECT PARTY, SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME, and the 1988 Broadway production of SWEET SUE which starred Mary Tyler Moore and Lynn Redgrave.

In 1991 he adapted his own novel, The Snow Ball, for the stage; it premiered at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. His other novels include The Gospel According to Joe and Entertaining Strangers.

Gurney's most recent play is LATER LIFE, a comedy about two middle-aged individuals who meet at a Boston cocktail party.


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