Tiny Alice

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Tiny Alice
Written by Edward Albee
Date premiered1964
Place premiered Broadway at the Billy Rose Theatre
Original language English

Tiny Alice is a three-act play written by Edward Albee that premiered on Broadway at the Billy Rose Theatre in 1964.



Powerful widow Miss Alice and her lawyer offer a generous grant to the church on the condition that the cardinal's naïve secretary be used as a liaison. The play is Edward Albee's look at the corruption involved in mixing religion and money. [1] Julian is the lay brother who is sent to live with "Miss Alice".

Miss Alice, her lawyer, and her butler are "representatives of the unseen Tiny Alice, who resides in an altar-like 18-foot model of Miss Alice's baronial mansion." [2]


Tiny Alice premiered on Broadway at the Billy Rose Theatre on December 21, 1964, in previews, officially on December 29, 1964, and closed on May 22, 1965 after 8 previews and 167 performances. Directed by Alan Schneider, the cast featured John Gielgud as Julian, Irene Worth as Miss Alice, William Hutt as Lawyer, Eric Berry as Cardinal, and John Heffernan as Butler (Marian Seldes was the stand-by for Miss Alice). The gowns were by Mainbocher, sets by William Ritman, and lighting by Martin Aronstein. [3] [4]

The production was nominated for 1965 Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Actor in a Play (Gielgud), Best Actress in a Play (Worth), Best Direction of a Play (Alan Schneider), Best Producer of a Play (Theater 1965 - Richard Barr, Clinton Wilder), and Best Author (Play) (Albee). Irene Worth won the Tony Award. [5] [3]

The play ran at Hartford Stage, Connecticut, in May–June 1998, directed by Mark Lamos and starring Richard Thomas as Brother Julian. There were plans to move the production to Broadway with Lamos and Thomas, expected to open in February 1999, but that production did not happen. [6] [7]

The play was revived Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre, from November 16, 2000, to January 7, 2001. Directed by Mark Lamos, the cast featured Richard Thomas (Brother Julian), Laila Robins (Miss Alice), John Michael Higgins (the Butler), Tom Lacy (the Cardinal), and Stephen Rowe (the Lawyer). [8] The production had been extended twice. [9] This production won the 2001 Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Revival. [10]

Critical response

Anita Maria Stenz observed that the play "inquires into the role religion can play in forming a buffer between man and his confrontation with things as they are. ... The plot ... is a fantasy." She notes that there are many "different interpretations" of the play. [11]

Ben Brantley, in his review of the Hartford Stage 1998 production, called the play "tightly constructed, elegantly written, and (most surprisingly) defiantly funny" and "enigmatic", with a plot that is "definitely off-putting." [12]

The Playbill article on the 2000 production noted that there was "negative and puzzled critical response" to the play when it originally was produced. The 2000 production received a "strongly positive review in the New York Times." Other reviews were mixed, with Newsday’s Linda Winer and Time Out New York’s David Cote strongly recommending the production. [9]

Author Philip Roth wrote a furious indictment of the play, stating: "The disaster of the play, however—its tediousness, its pretentiousness, its galling sophistication, its gratuitous and easy symbolizing, its ghastly pansy rhetoric and repartee—all of this can be traced to his own unwillingness or inability to put its real subject [male homosexuality] at the center of the action." [13]

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  1. "Tiny Alice" . Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  2. Gardner, Paul. "'Tiny Alice' Mystifies Albee, Too" New York Times, January 21, 1965
  3. 1 2 "'Tiny Alice' 1964" playbillvault.com, accessed November 23, 2015
  4. Albee, Edward. "Script, p. 5" Tiny Alice, accessed November 23, 2015, Dramatists Play Service Inc, 1965, ISBN   0822211548
  5. "Tiny Alice". Internet Broadway Database. The League of American Theaters and Producers, Inc. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  6. Simonson, Robert and Lefkowitz, David. "Albee's 'Tiny Alice' With Richard Thomas in the Works for B'way `99" Playbill, August 6, 1998
  7. Klein, Alvin. "Albee's 'Tiny Alice,' The Whole Enchilada" New York Times, May 24, 1998
  8. Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review. 'Tiny Alice'" curtainup.com, November 1, 2000
  9. 1 2 Lefkowitz, David. "'Tiny Alice' Grows Yet Again; Extended OB to Jan. 7" Playbill, December 19, 2000
  10. "'Tiny Alice' 2000" lortel.org, accessed November 23, 2015
  11. Stenz, Anita Maria. "Tiny Alice" Edward Albee: The Poet of Loss, Walter de Gruyter, 1978, ISBN   902797764X, pp.58-59
  12. Brantley, Ben. "Review. 'Tiny Alice' Hartford" The New York Times Theater Reviews 1997-1998 (books.google), Psychology Press, 2001, ISBN   0815333412, June 6, 1998, p. 302
  13. Roth, Philip (25 February 1965). "The Play That Dare Not Speak Its Name". The New York Review of Books. 4 (2). Retrieved 2 June 2017.