Edward Albee's paternal grandfather, Edward Franklin Albee, was a powerful American Vaudeville producer who made the family fortune as a partner in the Keith-Albee Orpheum Corporation which controlled over 700 theatres in the United States and Canada. As a result, yound Edward was exposed to theatre and famous Vaudeville personalities throughout his early childhood.
Edward Albee's The Zoo Story was originally produced on September 28, 1959, at the Schiller Theatre Werkstatt in Berlin, Germany, where it shared the bill with Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. After this successful German production, The Zoo Story debuted off-Broadway at the Provincetown Theatre in New York on January 14, 1960. On October 9, 1968, The Zoo Story finally made its Broadway debut at the Billy Rose Theatre where it once again shared the bill with Krapp's Last Tape. One of Edward Albee's most popular plays, The Zoo Story tells the tale of a drifter who acts out his own murder in Central Park with the unwitting aid of an upper-middle-class editor.
Edward Albee's Seascape (1974) features two sea creatures named Leslie and Sarah who are contemplating a move from the ocean depths to life on dry land. When the two creatures come ashore to scout out their potential new home, they meet Charlie and Nancy, two humans, for whom existence has grown flat and boring, who may hold the answers to the secrets of the upper world. Seascape won Albee his second Pulitzer Prize.
In 1963, Edward Albee adapted Carson McCullers' novella, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, for the stage. The play opened to mixed reviews at the Martin Beck Theatre on October 30, 1963, and ran for only 123 performances.
Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize winning play, A Delicate Balance, was made into a movie in 1973 starring Katharine Hepburn, Paul Scofield, Lee Remick, Kate Reid, Joseph Cotten, and Betsy Blair. Part of the American Film Theater series, conceived in the 1970s by producer Ely Landau, A Delicate Balance was intended to be shown theatrically just like a play, with tickets sold in advance. The film depicts Hepburn and Scofield as an old married couple who would prefer not to be bothered with visitors. Of course, they find themselves repeatedly confronted with unexpected guests, and each time their "delicate balance" is threatens to unravel.
Edward Albee won Pulitzer Prizes for A Delicate Balance (1967), Seascape (1975), and Three Tall Women (1994). There was no Pulitzer Prize awarded for the 1962-63 season when Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, arguably Albee's greatest play, debuted on Broadway. Two members of the Pulitzer Prize committee resigned that year, protesting the fact that Albee's play had been overlooked.
Arthur Hill and Uta Hagen played George and Martha in the original Broadway production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which opened at the Billy Rose Theatre in New York on October 13, 1962. The critically acclaimed production enjoyed a run of 664 performances and earned both Hill and Hagen Tony Awards for their performances.
The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? earned Edward Albee a Tony Award for "Best Play" in 2002. He had previously won the same award for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1963). He was also awarded a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005. The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? examines a love affair between an upstanding middle-aged man named Martin and, well ... a goat.