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Born Yesterday: Comedy in 3 Acts

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Garson Kanin celebrates the triumph of American democratic ideals in his 1946 Broadway hit that made a star of last-minute replacement Judy Holliday. A "dumb blonde" chorus girl, mistress of a tycoon-gangster diddling in D.C., gets an education from a reporter for The New Republic, and blossoms into a very fair lady. Garson Kanin celebrates the triumph of American democratic ideals in his 1946 Broadway hit that made a star of last-minute replacement Judy Holliday. A "dumb blonde" chorus girl, mistress of a tycoon-gangster diddling in D.C., gets an education from a reporter for The New Republic, and blossoms into a very fair lady.


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Garson Kanin celebrates the triumph of American democratic ideals in his 1946 Broadway hit that made a star of last-minute replacement Judy Holliday. A "dumb blonde" chorus girl, mistress of a tycoon-gangster diddling in D.C., gets an education from a reporter for The New Republic, and blossoms into a very fair lady. Garson Kanin celebrates the triumph of American democratic ideals in his 1946 Broadway hit that made a star of last-minute replacement Judy Holliday. A "dumb blonde" chorus girl, mistress of a tycoon-gangster diddling in D.C., gets an education from a reporter for The New Republic, and blossoms into a very fair lady.

30 review for Born Yesterday: Comedy in 3 Acts

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    If I had read this a few years ago, I would have thought it was reasonably accurate. Unfortunately, it today’s political climate in which politicians are revealed to have committed atrocities in the press and come off relatively unscathed, it reads as naive and optimistic. The play itself, though, is funny and Billie is a remarkable character, especially given the setting of 1946. She finds the courage to take on the big guy that so often the captured woman does not have and sticks it to him for If I had read this a few years ago, I would have thought it was reasonably accurate. Unfortunately, it today’s political climate in which politicians are revealed to have committed atrocities in the press and come off relatively unscathed, it reads as naive and optimistic. The play itself, though, is funny and Billie is a remarkable character, especially given the setting of 1946. She finds the courage to take on the big guy that so often the captured woman does not have and sticks it to him for all repressed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    A comedy in the classical sense. There are no ROTF laughs in this play, but it is still nice and pleasant and enjoyable. I will observe that this play relies heavily on its stage directions. Every little action is detailed minutely in this play which doesn't necessarily make for an interesting or exciting read and it doesn't give much leeway for creative interpretation. If producing this play, the set would be my biggest concern. It would be a costly venture to do this play properly because it is A comedy in the classical sense. There are no ROTF laughs in this play, but it is still nice and pleasant and enjoyable. I will observe that this play relies heavily on its stage directions. Every little action is detailed minutely in this play which doesn't necessarily make for an interesting or exciting read and it doesn't give much leeway for creative interpretation. If producing this play, the set would be my biggest concern. It would be a costly venture to do this play properly because it is set in the two-story suite of a very expensive hotel in Washington DC at a time when Hollywood glamour is at its peak. You need a balcony with french doors which overlook the city and very lush furnishing to pull it off well. And with so much stage business, you better believe there is a ton of little props to track. I would expect this play to be a stage manager's nightmare. But it is a sweet, classic story with some good roles and a few small laughs. Done as a period piece, this play could whisk an audience away on a wave of nostalgia. 3/5

  3. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Hopp

    Neil Simon, asked once in an interview to name a comedy not by him that he enjoys, cited this fantastic play. I still remember finding it at the library and reading it in the 9th grade. The reviewers here downgrade it because the politics of the 1940s seems quaint today, which is true. But to me the play is more about learning and thinking and the maturation of Billie Dawn than about politics. It is thrilling to see her begin to think and stand up for herself, and that is why the play is a class Neil Simon, asked once in an interview to name a comedy not by him that he enjoys, cited this fantastic play. I still remember finding it at the library and reading it in the 9th grade. The reviewers here downgrade it because the politics of the 1940s seems quaint today, which is true. But to me the play is more about learning and thinking and the maturation of Billie Dawn than about politics. It is thrilling to see her begin to think and stand up for herself, and that is why the play is a classic. I read it again after seeing the 1950 movie. Only minor changes but interesting—the corrupt politician is downgraded in the film to a representative from a senator, and his wife does not drop by to talk about books with Billie. But something is lost there, too, because in the play Billie can tell that the senator’s wife is bluffing when she says she read David Copperfield, and Billie can’t understand why someone would do that. We see the purity of Billie’s honesty: not only would she never pretend to have read something she hadn’t, but it would wouldn’t even occur to her to do that. One of the most important characters is Billie’s father, who never appears. She talks about him with such affection; it is clear where she gets her honesty.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Page

    A comedy I remember seeing as the film with Judy Holliday reprising her role as Billie. It made me smile a few times, and there's no denying its a well written piece of script... But while the drama remains the comedy seems to have lost some of its spark over the last seventy years. (How do you like that! 70 years.....) Not all of course! A few quips in there made me giggle. But a few of the jokes have aged out. Nobody in the modern audience will remember the Teapot Dome Scandal, more's the pity A comedy I remember seeing as the film with Judy Holliday reprising her role as Billie. It made me smile a few times, and there's no denying its a well written piece of script... But while the drama remains the comedy seems to have lost some of its spark over the last seventy years. (How do you like that! 70 years.....) Not all of course! A few quips in there made me giggle. But a few of the jokes have aged out. Nobody in the modern audience will remember the Teapot Dome Scandal, more's the pity. An enjoyable read with a great ending--- a kind of "My Fair Lady" with political science instead of Ascot. I sure would like to watch the movie again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A play ended up on my reading challenge again this year. They are tough to find! I perused my local library's shelves and decided on this one because heaven knows I could really use a comedy to read. This isn't slapstick or even laugh worthy comedy. It's really more of a drama with a few asides that make you smile. Lots of stage direction made this hard to read, but if you were staging the play I bet it would be really helpful. Wish there were more women. In plays male characters seem to outnumb A play ended up on my reading challenge again this year. They are tough to find! I perused my local library's shelves and decided on this one because heaven knows I could really use a comedy to read. This isn't slapstick or even laugh worthy comedy. It's really more of a drama with a few asides that make you smile. Lots of stage direction made this hard to read, but if you were staging the play I bet it would be really helpful. Wish there were more women. In plays male characters seem to outnumber female roles 5 to 1. Too bad, considering how many women are eager for parts.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Davidson

    This is a nice play with great characters and a strong message. I wish there were more characters to allow for a larger ensemble cast, especially since most of the smaller characters are only bit parts with a few or no lines at all.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Even though this play is labelled as a comedy (and it definitely has some comedic elements) it is more dramatic than comedic with a message that resonates as well today (perhaps even more so) as it did when it was written.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nick Martin

    Y’know, it’s interesting how many interesting things a person could learn if they read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Mediocre at best.

  10. 4 out of 5

    libraryfacts

    My first introduction to this was the film with Judy Holliday. The play is fantastic, too. I throughly enjoyed reading it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    Borrowed this from Jonathan Salkind. Very apt for right now--a thuggish monster comes to Washington and is outsmarted by his uneducated girlfriend and her tutor. Lots of fun dialogue.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    At Ford’s Theatre.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brian McCann

    Loved every moment of this old well-crafted chestnut. Can’t wait to revisit Judy Holliday in the screen version.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maria S

    it could be staged today easily the characters are that timeless and the writing is that good

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Because Judy Holliday starred both on Broadway and in the 1950 movie, I think I enjoyed the play more because I could visualize her in the role. She played a great "dumb blonde". What she came to realize is that she was not stupid, but simply uneducated. She eventually gained the upper hand. Recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby Because Judy Holliday starred both on Broadway and in the 1950 movie, I think I enjoyed the play more because I could visualize her in the role. She played a great "dumb blonde". What she came to realize is that she was not stupid, but simply uneducated. She eventually gained the upper hand. Recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hanna-col

    I picked this up at a book sale last month. I had seen and loved the 1950 film adaption of this play by the same name and was excited to read the play's original script. From what I remember of the film's script, very few changes were made in the script when it made the change from play to film. The play, however, does contain a good amount of profanity (generally coming from Harry Brock's mouth) and a little more innuendo than the Hays Code allowed the film adaption. Nonetheless, I greatly enjo I picked this up at a book sale last month. I had seen and loved the 1950 film adaption of this play by the same name and was excited to read the play's original script. From what I remember of the film's script, very few changes were made in the script when it made the change from play to film. The play, however, does contain a good amount of profanity (generally coming from Harry Brock's mouth) and a little more innuendo than the Hays Code allowed the film adaption. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed reading this and imagining the original Broadway cast in the roles. I'm sorry Broderick Crawford, but I can't help sort of wishing Paul Douglas had reprised his role for the film.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne Boardman

    Saw the play on Broadway in June 2011 and read the script soon after. Originally a play in 1946 and a movie in 1950, the politics play today as well as when it was originally written. And the story is just plain fun!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emma Delfosse

    The writing style was not to my liking and neither was any of the dialogue. I could tell the author was trying to have one difinitive story line but it did not translate well and the play left me confused and sad that I spent a whole day forcing myself to read it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Another old chestnut. Fun, but old.

  20. 5 out of 5

    C

  21. 5 out of 5

    Byron Brubaker

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rita

  23. 5 out of 5

    Deanie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jodie Rohrer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julian Munds

    This play is prescient in its theme. It predicts a trend that has only exploded in today's American Political climate, except Harry is now the president of the United States. As a production today it's naivity in spirit would play as trite to the audience for this reason only do I say it would be an uninteresting script to revive. The billie character is fascinating but so is Harry. Played with love Harry could be as arresting as Billie. But unfortunately, this play has a become a period piece. This play is prescient in its theme. It predicts a trend that has only exploded in today's American Political climate, except Harry is now the president of the United States. As a production today it's naivity in spirit would play as trite to the audience for this reason only do I say it would be an uninteresting script to revive. The billie character is fascinating but so is Harry. Played with love Harry could be as arresting as Billie. But unfortunately, this play has a become a period piece. Aside from a footnote this play might be useless in the artistic world today.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Freedom

  28. 4 out of 5

    Libby

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gavi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

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