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Award Winning Playwright Edward Albee To Visit OKC

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The Oklahoma City University Distinguished Speaker Series has brought some amazing people to Oklahoma City.  In the past, the university has brought in names like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, highly respected journalist Helen Thomas, writer Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and string theorist Brian Greene.  Now, on November 12, the community has been invited to hear a speech by award winning playwright Edward Albee.

Some people might feel like Albee is something of a let down after Jane Goodall, last year’s speaker, but that’s only because he doesn’t have quite the super-star fame that Goodall, Wiesel, and Tutu have.   Rest assured, Albee certainly deserves to be placed with these other speakers.  For one, while his name isn’t that well known, you’ve most likely heard of at least one of his plays: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Albee won a Tony Award for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but it’s certainly not his only award winning play.  He has won three Pulitzer Prizes (yes, three), starting in 1966 with A Delicate Balance, followed in 1975 by Seascape, and finally, his last Pulitzer was for Three Tall Women in 1994.  Garnering three Pulitzer’s over 30 years more than demonstrates Albee’s talents and his ability to speak to several generations.

In addition to these awards, Albee won a second Tony for The Goat or Who is Sylvia in 2002, and three years later, he was named as the winner of the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre, an award that only one other playwright (Arthur Miller) has received. 

Albee will talk about what this success has meant to him and on his creative process in a speech entitled “An Evening with Edward Albee: Improvisation and the Creative Mind.”  Anyone interested in theater, writing, or simply in being entertained should attend.  The best news is that the event is free to the public.

As I said before, Albee will present his speech on November 12 at 7:30 at the Freede Wellness Center on the Oklahoma City University campus.  I do have to warn you that, with the recent addition of a softball field, parking is now a little scarce, so you might want to get there early to get a good parking space.  Doors open at 6:30, but I’ve attended a number of these events, and I can tell you that there will be a line to get in.  If you really want good seats and good parking, I suggest you plan on arriving around 5:30.  Yes, you’ll have to stand outside for an hour, but it is sometimes worth it. 

You may want to eat a small dinner beforehand, too.  Sometimes, the university’s concession stand is open and you can buy bottled water or snacks (candy bars and the like), but you shouldn’t count on it. 

If you enjoy Albee’s speech, be sure to get on the mailing list for information about the Distinguished Speaker Series.  The series presents two speakers a year, one in the fall and one in the spring, and it’s always free.  The spring’s speaker is Andrew Sullivan, the senior editor if The Atlantic and author of several books.  Even if you’re not a theater fan or interested in writing, I encourage you to attend both of these events.  The speakers are always entertaining, and I always learn something from their speeches.

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