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Robert W. Anderson (Robert Woodruff Anderson) Biography

(1917– ), (Robert Woodruff Anderson), Come Marching Home, Tea and Sympathy

American playwright, born in New York City, educated at Harvard. His first play, Come Marching Home (1945), is a study in the political idealism of an ex-serviceman whose aspirations conflict with the complacency of the community in which he seeks political election. He is best known for Tea and Sympathy (1953; directed by Elia Kazan), which had a broadway run of 712 performances. Set in a New England boys' school, the play deals with a teenager whose shyness and sensitivity set him apart from his peers; suspected of homosexuality, his masculinity is persistently challenged by the headmaster and his own father. The play is notable for its final act in which the headmaster's wife, played by Deborah Kerr, offers herself to the boy to reassure him. Anderson subsequently enjoyed success on Broadway with You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running (1967). His other plays include Love Revisited (1951), All Summer Long (1953), Silent Night, Lonely Night (1959), The Days Between (1965), I Never Sang for My Father (1968), and Free and Clear (1983). Anderson has enjoyed respect for his technical skill and his treatment of sex and marriage, but his plays lack the psychological subtlety of contemporaries such as Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Agha Shahid Ali Biography to Ardoch Perth and Kinross