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Creator / Thornton Wilder

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Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, for The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Our Town, and The Skin of Our Teeth. His play The Matchmaker was the basis of the musical Hello, Dolly!.

No relation to Billy Wilder or to Gene Wilder (although the latter did choose his stage name in Thornton Wilder's honor).

Works by Thornton Wilder with their own pages include:


Other works by Thornton Wilder provide examples of:

  • No Fourth Wall: Wilder disliked realistic theatre where the characters act unaware of the audience, so his plays constantly remind us that we're watching a play; even The Matchmaker, which uses realistic sets, has the characters talk directly to the audience at least once in every act.
  • Refusing Paradise: In "Pullman Car Hiawatha", a one-act existential comedy, a woman named Harriet dies on the titular train and is visited by the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, but initially refuses to go to heaven, saying that she would rather remain on Earth and watch over her husband.