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Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Kaye, Helen
Date: Jul 13, 1990
Start Page: 14
Section: Features
Abstract (Document Summary)

Everybody thinks that a playwright who writes comedies has to be funny when he talks. One would think this to be especially likely in the case of Schisgal, who has written a dozen or so enduring hits. These include Luv, which made a triumphant Broadway debut in 1964 and has been going strong somewhere ever since, and Tootsie, the screenplay he wrote with Dustin Hoffman, which won Hoffman an Oscar for his role in the hit 1984 movie.

Director Mike Nichols, and actors Eli Wallach and his wife Anne Jackson are also longtime friends and collaborators. The latter starred in Schisgal's first American production, The Typists & The Tiger, which appeared off-Broadway in 1963. Nichols directed the Wallachs and Alan Arkin in Luv, which opened on Broadway the following year. Both plays had received their initial productions in England.

[LUV] satirized fashionable despair. It was a monster hit and ran for more than two years. It established Schisgal's reputation as a major American playwright. Eminent New York Times theatre critic Walter Kerr said of him then that "[Murray Schisgal] ... is one step ahead of the avant-garde ... {which} has successfully exploded the balloons of cheap optimism, Mr. Schisgal ... pricks the bubbles of cheap pessimism ... {He} sees how preposterous it is that we should take such pleasure in painting clouds black."

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