The protagonist, a compelling woman more than 90 years old, reflects on her life with a mixture of shame, pleasure, regret, and satisfaction. She recalls the fun of her childhood and her early marriage, when she felt an overwhelming optimism. She also bitterly recalls negative events that caused her regret: her husband’s affairs and death, and the estrangement of her gay son.
The woman’s relationship with her son is the clearest indication that Albee was working through some troubled memories of his own in Three Tall Women. Raised by conservative New England adoptive parents who disapproved of him being gay, he left home at 18 like the son in this play. Albee admitted to The Economist that the play “was a kind of exorcism. And I didn’t end up any more fond of the woman after I finished it than when I started.”
Besides exorcising personal demons, Albee regained the respect of New York theater critics with the play. Many of them had despaired that the playwright, who showed such promise during the 1960s and 1970s, had dried up creatively. In fact, Three Tall Women was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1994, as well as the Drama Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel, and Outer Critics Circle awards for best play.
Written by Edward Albee
Directed by Joe Mantello
Scenic Design by Miriam Buether
Costume Design by Ann Roth
Lighting Design by Mimi Jordan Sherin
The John Golden Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 252 West 45th Street (George Abbott Way) in midtown-Manhattan. Designed in a Moorish style along with the adjacent Royale Theatre by architect Herbert J. Krapp for Irwin Chanin, it opened as the Theatre Masque on February 24, 1927 with the play Puppets of Passion. Seventy-six years later it housed another production known for its puppets, the award-winning Avenue Q. In 1937, impresario John Golden acquired the theatre and renamed it for himself. It also operated as a movie house in the late 1940s and ’50s before it was purchased by the Shubert Organization, who returned it to full-time theatrical use. The exterior of the theatre was used as the location of the movie version of the film A Chorus Line. It is also shown in the background during the opening scenes of All About Eve as the home of Margot Channing’s Aged In Wood.