Cover art courtesy of City Theatre Company

Smart Blonde

Willy Holtzman
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Memory and song converge as Judy Holliday, the “dumb blonde” with a genius IQ, charts her experiences from Greenwich Village to Broadway and beyond with notable show business alums, including Leonard Bernstein and Marilyn Monroe.

Production Info

Cast: 4 total (2 female, 2 male, doubling)
Drama (about 90 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Period Costumes
Category: Tags: ,

Press Quotes

“In Willy Holtzman’s skillfully structured play … it’s December, 1964, and Judy Holliday, at a recording session, tells stories of her life and career between takes. Exquisitely painted scenes show the actress, born Judy Tuvim (Hebrew for ‘holidays’), performing cabaret with her friends Adolph Green, Betty Comden, and Lenny Bernstein; auditioning for Born Yesterday; fighting off the predatory producer Darryl Zanuck; using her wits at a Senate hearing to avoid naming names in the McCarthy era; and encountering Gerry Mulligan and Marilyn Monroe … [The play captures] the depth, insecurity, intelligence, and strength of Judy Tuvim.” —Ken Marks, The New Yorker

“… commissioning Willy Holtzman’s SMART BLONDE for this year’s Pittsburgh City Theatre season turned out to be a smart move. Last night’s SMART BLONDE opening was (as the critics like to say) a triumph (or, as my saintly mother would have said: ‘one for the books!’) … [It] was Willy’s work up to Willy’s high standards — with his usual mix of drama, comedy, character, shameful American politics and, in this case, songs from the American Songbook …” —Frank Gagliano, Stage Voices

About the Author


  • Willy Holtzman

    Willy Holtzman's plays include THE FIRST MRS. ROCHESTER (Portland Stage Company), HONOR FLIGHT (PlayPenn), G.O.B. (PlayPenn), THE MORINI STRAD (City Theatre, ATCA Steinberg Best New American Play Award nominee, had its New York debut at Primary Stages in March 2012); SOMETHING YOU DID (Primary Stages, People's Light & Theatre, Theatre J, commissioned by Baltimore Center Stage); SABINA (Primary Stages, New Jewish Theatre, Gradiva Award Nominee); HEARTS (People's Light & Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Asolo Theatre, New Jewish Theatre of St. Louis, received the Barrymore Award, the inaugural Arthur Miller Award and was anthologized in Smith and Kraus BEST NEW PLAYS); BOVVER BOYS (Primary Stages, Cleveland Play House, Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Curtain Theatre); THE CLOSER (GeVa Theatre — Davie Award, the Working Theatre); INSIDE OUT (commissioned and produced by Theatre for a New Audience, Portland Stage Company, Nebraska Repertory Theatre); THE LAST TEMPTATION OF JOE HILL (Working Theatre); BLANCO (Goodspeed Opera House Norma Terris Theatre); WHITE TRASH (West Bank Cabaret); SAN ANTONIO SUNSET (published in Best Short Plays and produced in New York, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Mumbai). VOICES IN CONFLICT (created with Wilton, Conn., high school students, was presented at the Public Theatre, the Vineyard Theatre and the Culture Project). Holtzman wrote and executive produced the independent film Edge of America (2004 Sundance Film Festival Opening Night selection, Tribeca Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival, Hamptons Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival — Best Picture) for which he received the Peabody Award, the Humanitas Prize, and the Writers Guild Award. He also wrote Blood Brothers (HBO, Cine Golden Eagle) and A Body to Die For (Emmy nomination). Holtzman received the HBO Award at the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. He has taught writing to at-risk teens at Bronx Regional High School in South Bronx, and was the Lila Wallace Resident Playwright at Juilliard. He has worked with young writers through the 52d Street Project in New York's Hell's Kitchen and on the Navajo reservation. He serves on the board of New Dramatists (where as a member he received the Calloway Award) and Harlem Stage Company.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 1/18/2023
Pages 72
ISBN 9780881458442

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

music by Gerry Mulligan and lyrics by Judy Holliday
Courtesy of Mulligan Publishing Co., Inc.

music by Steve Marzullo; lyrics by Peter Flynn

words by Leo Robin, music by Nacio Herb Brown
Twentieth Century Music Corporation

written by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh
used by permission of Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc.
on behalf of Aldi Music Company (ASCAP)

composed by Joe Bishop and Gordon Jenkins
published by Music Sales Corporation (ASCAP)
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin used by permission of the Garson Kanin Estate.

Excerpt from Adam's Rib used by permission of Warner Brothers Entertainment.

SMART BLONDE was originally commissioned and produced
by City Theatre in Pittsburgh where it premiered on November 15, 2014.

SMART BLONDE subsequently opened at 59E59 Theaters in Manhattan on March 16, 2019,
produced by MBL Productions and Mary J Davis
in association with Judith Manocherian LLC.

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Smart Blonde is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC