"A wonderful new work…of serious whimsy, of glittering style and dark substance…THE VIOLET HOUR balances heights of wit with depths of feeling."
It's April 1st, 1919, and the young independent publisher John Pace Seavering is setting up his office: A couple of dilapidated rooms in a romantic Manhattan tower. With only enough capital to put out one book, John finds himself besieged by two authors. Denny McCleary, John's brash and gifted college friend, has produced a manuscript so unruly it lives in a trio of crates. He’s fallen in love with the enchanting heiress Rosamund Plinth, and if John doesn't agree to publish his book today, he'll lose her forever. But John is also being strenuously lobbied by Jessie Brewster, the popular black jazz singer who is also John's very secret mistress. She's written her memoirs and is determined to have her story known. As John temporizes with these two, another drama is playing out in the anteroom: A machine of mysterious provenance and purpose has arrived and is spewing out stacks of pages while John's hapless assistant, Gidger, strives vainly to stem the flood and leaves John to ponder if knowing the future will allow him to change it?
"May just be Greenberg's finest…The play is continually amusing, but also deeply touching."
"Richard Greenberg's luminous, mysterious, emotionally churning tragicomedy, THE VIOLET HOUR, is a wondrous piece of work…This is the kind of bewitching play that makes theater a world unto itself." —Chicago Sun-Times.
The Violet Hour was commissioned and originally produced by South Coast Repertory. It received it’s New York premiere by Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director; Barry Grove, Executive Producer), at the Biltmore Theatre on October 16, 2003.