Open main menu

Alfred Fox Uhry (born December 3, 1936) is an American playwright and screenwriter. He has received an Academy Award, two Tony Awards and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for dramatic writing for Driving Miss Daisy. He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Alfred Uhry
Alfred Uhry.jpg
Uhry in 2013
Born Alfred Fox Uhry
(1936-12-03) December 3, 1936 (age 81)
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Nationality United States
Spouse Joanna Kellogg
Information
Magnum opus Driving Miss Daisy
The Last Night of Ballyhoo
Works with Robert Waldman
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1988)

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Uhry was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Alene (Fox), a social worker, and Ralph K. Uhry, a furniture designer and artist. He was born into a Jewish family with one sister, the author Ann Uhry Abrams.[1] Uhry graduated from Druid Hills High School in 1954 and subsequently graduated from Brown University[2] where he wrote two original musicals with Brownbrokers. Druid Hills High School's Uhry Theater is named in honor of Uhry. During his first years in New York City, learning the craft of lyric-writing, Uhry received a stipend from Frank Loesser;[2] after his eventual success, Uhry often praised Loesser's generosity and encouragement.

CareerEdit

Uhry's early work for the stage was as a lyricist and librettist for a number of commercially unsuccessful musicals, including a revival of Little Johnny Jones starring Donny Osmond (1982) which ran for one performance on Broadway.[3]

His first collaboration with Robert Waldman was the 1968 musical Here's Where I Belong, which closed after one performance (and 20 previews) on Broadway.[4] They had considerably better success with The Robber Bridegroom, which premiered on Broadway in both 1975 and 1976,[5] had a year-long national tour, and garnered Uhry his first Tony Award nomination, for best book of a musical in 1976.[6]

America's Sweetheart, with music by Robert Waldman and with the book co-written by Uhry with John Weidman, ran at the Hartford Stage, Hartford, Connecticut in March 1985 to April 1985, and then at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Miami, Florida, where it closed.[7]

The Robber Bridegroom was revived Off-Broadway in March 2016 at the Roundabout Theatre Company and directed by Alex Timbers.[8] This production won three Lucille Lortel Awards including Outstanding Revival.[9]

Atlanta TrilogyEdit

Driving Miss Daisy (1987) is the first in what is known as his "Atlanta Trilogy" of plays, all set during the first half of the 20th century. Produced Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, the play earned him the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.[10] It deals with the relationship between an elderly Jewish woman and her black chauffeur. He adapted it into the screenplay for a 1989 film starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman, an adaptation which was awarded the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay, in addition to the Academy Award for Tandy as best actress.[11]

The second of the trilogy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo (1996), is set in 1939 during the premiere of the film Gone with the Wind. It deals with a Jewish family during an important social event.[12] It was commissioned for the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta which coincided with the 1996 Summer Olympics,[13] and received the Tony Award for Best Play when produced on Broadway in 1997.[14]

The third is the 1998 musical Parade, about the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank. The libretto earned him a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.[15] The music was written by Jason Robert Brown.[16]

Additional theatreEdit

Uhry's play Edgardo Mine is based on the true story of Edgardo Mortara, an Italian child taken by police from his Jewish family in 1858 because one of their domestic servants had baptized him. The play, directed by Doug Hughes, opened at Hartford Stage, Hartford, Connecticut in November 2002.[17]

The Manhattan Theatre Club produced Uhry's musical LoveMusik on Broadway in 2007. The story depicts the relationship between composer Kurt Weill and his wife, Lotte Lenya, using Weill's music.[18][19]

Apples & Oranges premiered on October 10, 2012 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. This new play is about the rediscovery of a sibling relationship.[20]

Angel Reapers, a collaboration with director/choreographer Martha Clarke, ran Off-Broadway at the Signature Theatre from February 2 to March 20, 2016.[21] This production won the Lucille Lortel Award for "Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience".[22]

FilmEdit

Uhry wrote the screenplay for the 1989 film version of Driving Miss Daisy[23] and for the 1993 film Rich in Love;[24] he co-wrote the screenplay for the 1988 film Mystic Pizza.[25]

His next screenplay is for a film announced in 2009, From Swastika to Jim Crow, a dramatization of a documentary about Jewish professors who flee Nazi Germany, find posts in the Southern US, and identify with their African-American students and their struggle under Jim Crow.

Personal lifeEdit

Uhry is married to Joanna Kellogg.[2] They have four daughters and live in New York City.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pousner, Howard. "Alfred Uhry explores contentious sibling relationship in world premiere of 'Apples & Oranges'". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved 5 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Harrison, Leah R. "Real Life Inspired Uhry’s Midlife Success" Jewish Times, December 1, 2015
  3. ^ Little Johnny Jones Playbill, retrieved December 27, 2017
  4. ^ Here's Where I Belong Playbill, retrieved December 27, 2017
  5. ^ " 'The Robber Bridegroom' 1975" Playbill, retrieved December 27, 2017
  6. ^ " 'The Robber Bridegroom' Awards" ibdb.com, retrieved December 27, 2017
  7. ^ Dietz, Dan. " America's Sweetheart ", The Complete Book of 1980s Broadway Musicals, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, ISBN 1442260920, p. 244
  8. ^ Stasio, Marilyn. "Off Broadway Review: ‘The Robber Bridegroom’" Variety, March 13, 2016
  9. ^ Staff. " 'FUTURITY', 'Guards at the Taj' and 'Robber Bridegroom' Earn Top Lucille Lortel Awards" Playbill, May 1, 2016
  10. ^ "Pulitzer Prize 1988" pulitzer.org, retrieved December 27, 2017
  11. ^ Reinhold, Robert. "'Driving Miss Daisy' Wins 4 Oscars, Including One for Jessica Tandy" The New York Times, March 27, 1990
  12. ^ Evans, Greg. "Review. 'The Last Night of Ballyhoo'" Variety, March 8, 1997
  13. ^ a b Witchel, Alex. "Theater. Remembering Prejudice, of a Different Sort" The New York Times, February 23, 1997
  14. ^ The Last Night of Ballyhoo Playbill, retrieved December 27, 2017
  15. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "1999 Tony Winner: Alfred Uhry (Book, 'Parade')" Playbill, June 6, 1999
  16. ^ Simonson, Robert. "Brown-Uhry-Prince Musical 'Parade' to Close Feb. 28" Playbill, February 3, 1999
  17. ^ Klein, Alvin. "Theater; Searching for a Faith That Is Based on Reason" The New York Times, November 3, 2002
  18. ^ LoveMusik guidetomusicaltheatre.com, retrieved December 27, 2017
  19. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "When You Speak Love: Cast Complete for 'LoveMusik', Broadway's Weill-Lenya Musical" Playbill, March 1, 2007
  20. ^ "Alfred Uhry's 'Apples & Oranges' Makes Word Premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre Tonight" broadwayworld.com, October 5, 2012
  21. ^ Angel Reapers signaturetheatre.org, retrieved December 27, 2017
  22. ^ "'Guards at the Taj,' 'Robber Bridegroom' Win Big at 2016 Lortel Awards" American Theatre, May 2, 2016
  23. ^ Driving Miss Daisy tcm.com, retrieved December 27, 2017
  24. ^ Rich in Love tcm.com, retrieved December 27, 2017
  25. ^ Mystic Pizza tcm.com, retrieved December 27, 2017

External linksEdit