The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #91
Before Eugene O’Neill, theatre in America was either classics and Shakespeare plays, Bible stories and morality plays, or Grand Guignol high melodrama. O’Neill was the first major American playwright to write simple, down-to-earth drama about ordinary people. He went on to become the first American playwright to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and, thus far, the only winner of four Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Many of his greatest plays have been adapted to film, including Anna Christie (Greta Garbo’s first talkie) and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Sidney Lumet’s directorial debut). Actors who have won Tony Awards for Broadway productions of his work include Brian Dennehy, Colleen Dewhurst, Roy Dotrice, Jackie Gleason, Fredric March, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Jason Robards, and Gwen Verdon.
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