Pulitzer Prize-winning drama in three acts by Thornton Wilder, produced and published in 1938, considered a classic portrayal of small-town American life. Set in Grover's Corners, N.H., the play features a narrator, the Stage Manager, who sits at the side of the unadorned stage and explains the action. Through flashbacks, dialogue, and direct monologues the other characters reveal themselves to the audience. The main characters are George Gibbs, a doctor's son, and Emily Webb, daughter of a newspaper editor. The play concerns their courtship and marriage and Emily's death in childbirth, after which she and other inhabitants of the graveyard describe their peace. Considered enormously innovative for its lack of props and scenery and revered for its sentimental but at bottom realistic depictions of middle-class America, Our Town soon became a staple of American theater. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
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About the Author
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works, exploring the connection between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience, continue to be read and produced around the world. His novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of seven, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, as did two of his four full-length dramas: Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). Wilder's The Matchmaker was adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly!. He also enjoyed enormous success with many other forms of the written and spoken word, among them teaching, acting, the opera, and cinema. His screenplay for Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943) remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day. Wilder's many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Committee's Medal for Literature.