Goodbye My Fancy
About the Play
Morosco Theatre, Broadway (1948)
Published by Samuel French and anthologized in Plays by American Women 1930-1960. Judith E. Barlow, ed. New York: Applause Books, 2001.
Liberal Congresswoman and former war reporter Agatha Reed returns to her alma mater, the Good Hope College for Women, to screen a documentary about World War II. Reed wants the young graduates to see the horrors of war firsthand, but the college’s conservative trustees deem the film improper. Jim Merrill, the college president and Agatha’s former flame, stuns Agatha by agreeing with the trustees—only Agatha isn’t going down without a fight.
Goodbye My Fancy premiered on Broadway in 1948, charming critics (Brooks Atkinson called it “one of the most delightful comedies of the season”) while showcasing the nascent ideological debate over how to discuss the recently ended war on college campuses. The critic for the New York Journal American declared it “An adult play with laughter on the surface and underneath, a fierce, almost frightening cry for common sense.”
Goodbye My Fancy ran for 446 performances, changing theatres four times during its run. Madeleine Carroll, a movie star who gave up acting during the war to work in Red Cross field hospitals, played Agatha—and her experiences lent the production extra gravitas. Shirley Booth nearly stole the show as a sassy secretary.
About the Playwright
Fay Kanin (1917-2013) has written for stage, screen, and television—winning two Emmys, the Writers’ Guild of America Edmund H. North Award, and the Humanitas Prize Keiser Award during her seven decade career. Kanin was also President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences from 1979 to 1983, the second woman to hold that post. Kanin began her career as a story editor and script reader for RKO in the 1930’s, networking with executives and learning everything about the business—from l…
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