The late Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, who died September 16, 2016, at age 88, left instructions in his will that any unfinished manuscripts—and potentially early drafts of published works—are to be destroyed, according to the New York Times.
Two of Albee’s longtime friends, Arnold Toren and William Katz, serve as executors of the late playwright’s estate. Responding through a spokesperson, they declined to answer questions from the Times, including whether any manuscripts or other papers had already been destroyed. A provision in the will states that Albee left it up to his executors to determine which works were incomplete.
Albee’s will states: If at the time of my death I shall leave any incomplete manuscripts I hereby direct my Executors (i) to destroy such incomplete manuscripts (including, without limitation, all copies thereof in physical, electronic or any other medium and any materials in any medium from which copies can be derived or recovered) as soon as is practicable after my death and (ii) pending such destruction to treat the materials herin directed to be destroyed as strictly confidential and to ensure that such materials are not copied, made available for scholarly or critical review or made public in any way. The determination by my Executors, in their best fiduciary judgment, as to the material directed to be destroyed in this article “THIRD” shall be final, conclusive and binding u[on all parties having any interest in my estate.
Among the known works in question are Laying an Egg, one of Albee’s final plays that was twice withdrawn from production at Off-Broadway’s Signature Theatre Company. Elizabeth I. McCann, the Broadway producer of Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?; as well as revivals of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and A Delicate Balance, informed the Times that she had a partial version of the script, but was unsure whether Albee had continued work on it.
In a 2013 season announcement, the Signature characterized the play in the following manner: “Faced with a domineering mother, an adoring husband, and the damning conditions of her late father’s will, a middle-aged woman renews her vow to get pregnant with chaotic results.”
Earlier this year, Albee’s executors withdrew the rights to an Oregon production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? when they learned that a black actor would be cast in the role of Nick, whose blond hair and blue eyes are referenced throughout the play.
The recent London revival of Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? featured a multicultural cast, starring Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo.