[BECKETT, SAMUEL. 1906-1989.]
4 watercolor and pen and ink costume designs for the original American production of Waiting for Godot, c.1956.
450 x 350 mm (sheet), signed "M.P.S." in pencil at lower left, titles, captions, and production notes in pencil, sheets laid down to board with minor bubbling, some toning and light soiling, a few tiny edge chips, speckling to one sheet.
Provenance: Michael Myerberg; by descent to present owner.
ORIGINAL COSTUME DESIGNS FOR THE AMERICAN PREMIERE OF WAITING FOR GODOT, FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE PLAY'S PRODUCER, MICHAEL MYERBERG. The designs are for four of the play's five characters, with the actors identified in the captions as follows: Vladimir - Tom Ewell; Estragon - Bert Lahr; The Boy - Jimmy Oster; Lucky - Charles Weidman. Suggestions for revisions are made in pencil on each of the designs as well. A note on Estragon's design, for example, reads, "trousers must fall where length of suspenders rope is removed (almost to knees?) rope is "breakaway" prop + breaks in middle when pulled." We have been unable to identify "M.P.S."
The American premiere took place on January 3, 1956, at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, with Weidman having been replaced by understudy Arthur Malet. The production was met with general bewilderment and/or hostility (notable exceptions include Tennessee Williams and William Saroyan, who as members of the first-night audience lauded the performers with "bravos") and Myerberg scrapped the planned Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston performances. Myerberg then recast all parts with the exception of Lahr's, replaced director Alan Schneider with Herbert Berghof, and reopened the show on Broadway in April of the same year. See Hutchings pp 84-85, and Knowlson, Damned to Fame, pp 379 ff.