Lucille Lortel at her White Barn Theatre in Westport, Connecticut

Lucille Lortel in her 20s

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LUCILLE LORTEL: THE QUEEN OF OFF BROADWAY

Volpe's seductive photograph of Lucille in the 1920s.

This definitive biography of the producer and philanthropist is also a look into the New York theater of the 1950s, when Off-Broadway was being born as an alternative to Broadway.

It's the story of a woman who was born in a tenement on the Lower East Side in 1900, became a moderately successful actor and then a stalwart promoter and producer of new plays. Filled with details about the theater and about New York City, it is both a portrait of a woman and a profile of an era.