Moss Hart's Act One, which Lincoln Center Theater presented in 2014 as a play written and directed by James Lapine, is one of the great American memoirs, a glorious memorial to a bygone age filled with all the wonder, drama, and heartbreak that surrounded Broadway in the early twentieth century. Hart's story inspired a generation of theatergoers, dramatists, and readers everywhere as he eloquently chronicled his impoverished childhood and his long, determined struggle to reach the opening night of his first Broadway hit. Act One is the quintessential American success story.
Born in New York City in 1904, Moss Hart began his career as a playwright in 1925 with The Hold-Up Man, yet achieved his first major success in the 1930 collaboration with George S. Kaufman, Once in a Lifetime. In addition to numerous Broadway productions, such as The Man Who Came to Dinner and You Can't Take it With You, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1938, Hart wrote screenplays for Gentleman's Agreement and A Star is Born. Moss Hart also gained universal recognition for his award-winning direction of My Fair Lady in 1956.
“Moss Hart's Act One is not only the best book ever written about the American theater, but one of the great American autobiographies, by turns gripping, hilarious and searing.” —Frank Rich
“Reading Act One is like going to a wonderful dinner party and being seated next to a man who is more charming, more interesting, smarter, and funnier than you ever knew men were capable of being. Moss Hart is alive in these pages, and I am in love with him.” —Ann Patchett, author of This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage and Bel Canto
“Is Act One for you? Only if you know that theater is spelled theatre, cast albums are not soundtracks, and intermission is twice as fun as halftime. In that case, not only is Act One for you--it is immediate and required reading.” —Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate!
“Act One is legendary in the theater world for one simple reason: it speaks personally to those of us who have chosen a life on or around the stage.” —James Lapine