Life With Father
Director: Matthew Travisano
Life with Father (1939), a comedy by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Clarence Day is certain he dominates his Madison Avenue brownstone and his family, which includes four young sons and his wife, Vinnie. He constantly complains to Vinnie about her housekeeping, and his blustering tantrums have cost the Days many a maid. But when the Rev. Dr. Lloyd pays a visit, Day accidentally reveals that he has never been baptized. Father Clarence argues, “They can't keep me out of heaven on a technicality,” but Vinnie is determined that the oversight must be rectified. Clarence, however, is adamant until in a weak moment, when he believes Vinnie may be dying, he agrees. Vinnie holds him to his promise, so he goes off to church bellowing, “I'm going to be baptized, damn it!” The comedy, based on Clarence Day Jr.'s New Yorker recollections, remains the longest running nonmusical play in Broadway history. Arriving as war broke out in Europe and while America was still feeling the effects of the Great Depression, its affectionate portrait of 19th‐century home life evoked a past of simple values. A sequel, Life with Mother (1948), had only a modest run despite generally warm notices.
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