PLAYBILL PICKS: The Five Greatest Plays About Hollywood

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10 May 2013

It's a tale nearly as old as Broadway and Hollywood. The successful playwright is lured to California with promises of riches and sunshine, hates the experience, then returns to New York to write an eviscerating portrait of the movie business.

In the history of show business, no one has bitten the hand that feeds it harder that the dramatists moonlighting in Tinseltown. Feeling their talents and dignity have been affronted by a colony of shallow, megalomaniacal egomaniacs, they reach for their trustiest weapon—the pen. The tradition goes back as far as the 1920s, when George S. Kaufman—who would see many of his stage successes made into film—mercilessly sent up the film world in Merton of the Movies. He offered up a second helping of abuse in 1930 with Once in a Lifetime. His satiric sword has since been taken up by the likes of Clifford Odets, David Mamet, David Rabe and many, many more.

Here are's picks for the five best Hollywood hatchet jobs.


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