Released by Masterworks Broadway, the recording, which received the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording, was made in 1963, a few months after the play first opened on Broadway. It was produced by Columbia Records.
The recording has been unavailable for years, but it will be available for purchase via MasterworksBroadway Feb. 18 on CD and digital download. The recording will feature a booklet with the original liner notes by Edward Albee and Goddard Lieberson, as well as a new essay by David Foil.
"In [Goddard] Lieberson's mere decision to make this recording of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, there was a bit of daring," press notes state. "We forget how deeply shocking the play was for many of its first audiences (as the film would be to a larger audience in 1966). As if to prove the point, in the spring of 1963, the trustees of Columbia University overruled the unanimous recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize drama jury and refused to award Albee's play the prize in drama that year — because of its unprecedented portrait of a dysfunctional marriage and the scathing language with which it speaks."
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? follows two married couples who find themselves engaged in marital war late into the night following a party. The original 1963 production received the Tony Award for Best Play, and Hagen and Hill were both honored for their performances with Best Actor and Actress. The production has since been revived on Broadway in 1976, 2005 and 2012. The 2012 revival, starring Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Carrie Coon and Madison Dirks, won the Tony Award for Best Revival, and Letts was honored with Best Actor.