Written by Garson Kanin
Directed by Susi Damilano
Harry, a ruthless, thuggish millionaire—with his showgirl fiancée, Billie, in tow—comes to Washington to bribe a senator and enrich his business interests. He soon hires a reporter to clean up Billie’s image; but as she awakens to a world full of possibilities, she starts to question corruption’s stranglehold over the disadvantaged. Garson Kanin’s delightful and dangerous comedy is a timely exploration of politics, profiteering, and the importance of an educated electorate.
About Garson Kanin
Garson Kanin worked as an actor in the theatre and as a director and producer on Broadway and in Hollywood, but he is best known as a writer. During the Great Depression, he dropped out of high school to help support his family, working as a musician and later as a comedian. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts from 1932-1933 and briefly worked as an actor on Broadway following his studies. Kanin became an assistant to Broadway director George Abbott in 1935, and then joined Samuel Goldwyn’s production staff in Hollywood in 1937, but left for RKO at the end of one year, frustrated at not having been given any directing assignments by Mr. Goldwyn. At RKO he directed several films including The Great Man Votes in 1939 and Tom, Dick and Harry in 1941, but he was continually frustrated by the lack of control he had over his films under the studio system, a frustration which continued throughout his career. When drafted during World War II he made documentary films for the War Information and Emergency Manpower offices. One of them, The True Glory (1945), won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. During the war years Kanin began writing stories and plays as well. After the war he directed several plays on Broadway, including his own, Born Yesterday in 1946, for which he received the Donaldson Award for Best First Play of the Season and Best Director of the Season, and which he later adapted for the screen. Kanin collaborated on four successful screenplays with his wife, Ruth Gordon, including Adam’s Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952) starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Garson Kanin died in 1999 at age 87.
San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Born Yesterday is made possible by Executive Producer Andrew Teufel; Producers Phyllis and Jerry Rosenberg & Peggy Skornia; Associate Producers Kevin Gahagan, Carol and Duff Kurland, Dan and Suzanne Carroll; and Artistic Underwriters Ruth and Les Finkelstein, Eleanor and Richard Johns, Peggy and Ed Mihm, and Joan Rost.
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