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Steven Vincent Benet

Performance Dates

March 1-3, 1962

Creative Team

Director - Charles Dodrill

Choral Director - Richard Chamberlain

Technical Director - Fred Thayer


Stephen Vincent Benet, one of America's outstanding poets of this century, was born in 1898 and died in 1943. A direct descendant of military men, Benet published his most important work, "John Brown's Body," in 1928. This long narrative poem captured the Pulitzer Prize and has sold over 600,000 copies.

In 1952 Charles Laughton conceived the idea of staging "John Brown's Body." In late 1952 and throughout 1953 the production was a smash hit on Broadway and on-tour across the country. The production starred Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson and Raymond Massey. Laughton cut the long poem from its original 334-page length, to conventional play length (80 pages), and planned its reading at the hands of three actors and a chorus. Six years later Curtis Canfield (Director of Theatre at Yale University) staged the play in its present version, first at the Yale Drama School and then at an Off-Broadway Theatre in New York in June, 1960. The music was composed by Fenno Heath of the Yale University Music School.


Acting | Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History


College Theater, Otterbein University Theater, Drama

John Brown's Body

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