Edward Albee was born in Washington, DC on March 12, 1928. When he was two weeks old, Edward was adopted by millionaire couple Reed and Frances Albee and was raised in Westchester, New York.
Due to his father and grandfather's involvement in the theatre business, Edward was exposed to theatre and well-known Vaudeville personalities throughout his childhood.
In 1948, Edward decided to move to Greenwich Village in New York City, despite his mother’s disapproval. Over the next decade Albee lived off his grandmother's trust fund and held jobs as an office boy, record salesman, and Western Union messenger. Alan Schneider decided to give Albee a chance with his first major play, The Zoo Story, which was produced as a double bill with Samuel Beckett’s Krappe’s Last Stand. After its debut, The Zoo Story marked the birth of American absurdist drama.
“I started looking to find out if they’d be good, intelligent, interesting theater. And I started going there. I very seldom found it on Broadway. Now and again, I found some of it Off-Broadway but I found most of it in the smaller theaters. Where people were taking chances, doing good work and that’s what interested me.” In the years following, Albee became one of the foremost leaders of the Off-Broadway movement. In 1962, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was produced on Broadway. The play won a Tony Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Since then, Albee is seen as one of the great American playwrights along with Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams.
In the succeeding year, Albee joined two friends to create the absurdist group “Theater 1964”, which led Albee to win his first Pulitzer Prize for A Delicate Balance in 1966. He continued to write plays throughout the 1960’s and 1970s’ and won his second Pulitzer during that period for Seascape. In 1994 Albee had his first commercial hit in over a decade with the play Three Tall Women, which not only one a Pulitzer but also a New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award. Lastly in 2008, in celebration of Albee's eightieth birthday, a number of his plays were mounted in distinguished Off Broadway venues, including the historic Cherry Lane Theatre.
Albee celebrated his 84th birthday this year and recently sat down with DecadesOut and expressed words of encouragement - “Keep making theater that changes the world and is worth the experience of participating in because there’s not much of that. But keep finding that and keep doing that.”