Broadway: One Man's Mede

An influenza epidemic and George S. Kaufman's first play opened in Manhattan in 1918, and the play was vastly less contagious. With dour glee, the 28-year-old writer went around advising people to avoid crowds—see Someone in the House." The flop was satisfying proof to Kaufman of "the gross inadequacies of the human race"—from which, as his collaborator Moss Hart observed, the playwright suffered daily. But he mined his suffering profitably; over the years he produced more memorable wisecracks and more hit comedies than anyone else in the U.S. theater. Last week....

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