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Elliot Norton Reviews; Woman of the Year


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Elliot Norton Reviews
Woman of the Year
Program Number


Series Description

Boston theatre critic Elliot Norton interviews prominent actors, directors and producers on their craft. (Aired from October, 1958 to 1982. Winner of both Peabody and Tony Awards.) Series release date: 1958

Program Description

Elliot Norton interviews playwright Peter Stone and producers Lawrence Kasha and David S. Landay about the pre-Broadway trial of the musical comedy “Woman of the Year” at the Colonial Theatre. “Woman of the Year” is based on the 1942 film of the same name, which brought the famous pair Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn together for the first time. Peter Stone was impressed with how the screenplay was so ahead of its time. In this interview, he comments on how the traditional gender roles are reversed; the female lead (Tess Harding) is a high-powered woman and her male counterpart (Sam Craig) acts like a wife whose husband is too busy for her.

The interviewees and Norton discuss at length the successful casting of Lauren Bacall and Harry Guardino as the leads. The actress playing Tess Harding needed a powerful and commanding presence, while the actor playing Sam Craig needed to be strong enough himself to not be intimidated by her. Guardino was attractive enough to make it believable that Bacall would be initially attracted to him in addition to having the substance that would make her continue to fall for him. Stone notes that the audience would not like her if she fell for somebody who was not her equal, citing Woody Allen as an example. Stone also talks about the need to test the show in front of a live audience to see if the jokes work and if the play is an appropriate length. Stone believes that “the audience is never wrong collectively” and Kasha comments on Boston and Los Angeles being “good musical comedy audiences.”

Director: Russ Fortier. Taped 2/10/1981.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Talk Show
Performing Arts
Chicago: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Woman of the Year,” 02/10/1981, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 25, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_A5D59A5CEBFC48A3937C85CA015D1372.
MLA: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Woman of the Year.” 02/10/1981. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 25, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_A5D59A5CEBFC48A3937C85CA015D1372>.
APA: Elliot Norton Reviews; Woman of the Year. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_A5D59A5CEBFC48A3937C85CA015D1372
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