Howells’s “The Parlor Car” radio drama online May 9, 2020

From the Metropolitan Playhouse, specializing in reviving 19th and early 20th century plays, a WDH play, for your delectation:

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Make your Reservation on

a farce of isolation in motion, by the “Dean of American Letters”
William Dean Howells

(but no reservation is needed)


Saturday, May 9, 2020
8:00 pm

(running time: 45 minutes, with chatter to follow)

Watch the way you wish…

Right on our Webpage
YouTube Channel: Metropolitan Playhouse

and, for those who don’t like to watch…

Broadcast on Radio WBAI 99.5 FM



Virtual Lobby Open starting at 7:55.
Reading at 8:00 pm
(to allow for traffic we start a little late, it’s true)

Miss Galbraith and Mr. Richards, recently separated lovers
find themselves confined to the same compartment
of a railway car on the way to Schenectady.
Mortifying though it may be,
it is also a chance to look a little more closely
at the reason for their spat.
And when the car is de-coupled from its train,
stranded on the lonesome track…
well, who knows what may happen.

One of a series of his “railway car” farces, The Parlor Car is
filled with Howells’s distinctive wit and feel for polite niceties,
and his impatience for socially mandated confusions.
This one is particularly close to the circumstance of a socially distancing audience.
Originally published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1876,
the play is also particularly well suited to a “static” presentation,
though it throws down a particular gauntlet to the “Zoom drama” technique
that Metropolitan is only too glad to pick up in its evolving exploration of online drama.

Metropolitan is delighted to present these readings as a small way of keeping the theater’s pilot lit.
They also serve to help us compensate performing artists, so particularly struck by this long “pause.”
If you would like to contribute to the fund supporting these gifted and generous friends,
click here to learn about Metropolitan Artist Relief
Or here, simply to make a contribution.


Practice Social Distancing.
Love Your Neighbors.

For current information about the virus and disease, visit the Center for Disease Control website:

Thank you very much. We hope to see you at the theater soon!

Metrpolitan Playhouse
220 E 4th Street
New York New York 10009
United States

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