Rice, Elmer

Rice, Elmer,

1892–1967, American dramatist, b. New York City, LL.B. New York Law School, 1912. After the success of his first play, On Trial (1914), he turned his interests to the theater. Rice's first major contribution to the American stage was The Adding Machine (1923), an expressionistic play satirizing man in the machine age. Street Scene (1929; operatic version by Kurt WeillWeill, Kurt
, 1900–1950, German-American composer, b. Dessau, studied with Humperdinck and Busoni in Berlin. He first became known with the production of two short satirical surrealist operas, Der Protagonist (1926) and Der Zar lässt sich photographieren
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, 1947), one of his most compassionate works, is a realistic drama of tenement life in New York. His plays of the 1930s—including Counsellor-at-Law (1931), We, the People (1933), and Between Two Worlds (1934)—continued to express his social and political views. Although Dream Girl (1945), a romantic comedy, was a huge success, his later plays for the most part lack the power of his early works. He was also the author of novels and of essays, some of which were published as The Living Theatre (1959). During the 1930s Rice was regional director of the N.Y. Federal Theater project.

Bibliography

See his autobiography Minority Report (1963); A. F. Palmieri, Elmer Rice: A Playwright's Vision of America (1980).

Rice, (Leopold) Elmer (b. Reizenstein)

(1892–1967) playwright; born in New York City. A lawyer by training, for a time he specialized in courtroom dramas; his first, On Trial (1914), was notable for its use of flashbacks. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for Street Scene, he had 24 plays produced on Broadway. His later, less successful work dealt with current political events—the Depression (We the People, 1933) and the Reichstag trial (Judgment Day, 1934).
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Street Scene Play in three acts by Rice, Elmer , produced and published in 1929.