Cocktails with George and Martha

Movies, Marriage, and the Making of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Cocktails with George and Martha cover

Cocktails with George and Martha

Movies, Marriage, and the Making of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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"Very smart and entertaining . . . dishy-yet-earnest . . . Gefter shows why Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? hit the '60s like a torpedo."-NPR, Fresh Air

“Raucous, unpredictable, wild, and affecting.”-Entertainment Weekly

An award-winning writer reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the provocative play, the groundbreaking film it became, and how two iconic stars changed the image of marriage forever.

From its debut in 1962, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a wild success and a cultural lightning rod. The play transpires over one long, boozy night, laying bare the lies, compromises, and scalding love that have sustained a middle-aged couple through decades of marriage. It scandalized critics but magnetized audiences. Across 644 sold-out Broadway performances, the drama demolished the wall between what could and couldn't be said on the American stage and marked a definitive end to the I Love Lucy 1950s.

Then, Hollywood took a colossal gamble on Albee's sophisticated play-and won. Costarring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the sensational 1966 film minted first-time director Mike Nichols as industry royalty and won five Oscars. How this scorching play became a movie classic-surviving censorship attempts, its director's inexperience, and its stars' own tumultuous marriage-is one of the most riveting stories in all of cinema.

Now, acclaimed author Philip Gefter tells that story in full for the first time, tracing Woolf from its hushed origins in Greenwich Village's bohemian enclave, through its tormented production process, to its explosion onto screens across America and a permanent place in the canon of cinematic marriages. This deliciously entertaining book explores how two couples-one fictional, one all too real-forced a nation to confront its most deeply held myths about relationships, sex, family, and, against all odds, love.

Product details

Published Feb 13 2024
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 368
ISBN 9781635579628
Imprint Bloomsbury Publishing
Illustrations 16-page b&w insert
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

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