Tremendous Success and Terrible Failure: The Broadway Shows of Edward Gorey

Tony Gunn

Abstract


This article discusses the art and literature of Edward Gorey, focusing on his two Broadway shows that played concurrently in the late 1970’s. The first, Dracula, was a tremendous success, running for over two years and 925 performances. The second, Gorey Stories, opened and closed on the same night for only one performance. This article submits that the reason for Dracula’s success and the failure of Gorey Stories is that Gorey’s visual aesthetic, while morbid and dark, is easily consumable by a mass audience especially when paired with show that provides a recognizable plot structure. Gorey’s narrative style, featured in Gorey Stories, is complex and can be unsettling, making the show a difficult sell for Broadway. Tony Gunn is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Theatre.

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