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Rice, Elmer

Elmer Rice (1892-1967) was born in New York City, and educated in law at New York University. He began his career as a playwright with ON TRIAL (1914), the first American play to use the flashback technique. THE ADDING MACHINE, his expressionistic fantasy satirizing the dehumanizing effects of machines, was produced in 1923. His STREET SCENE (1929), a realistic drama that focused on the New York City slums, received the 1929 Pulitzer Prize in drama and in 1947 was made into an opera by the American poet Langston Hughes and the German-born American composer Kurt Weill. In the 1930s, Rice was New York regional director of the Federal Theatre Project. Included among Rice's other plays are COUNSELOR-AT-LAW (1931), WE, THE PEOPLE (1933), A NEW LIFE (1943), and DREAM GIRL (1945).

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