Sweeney in the Trees (1940)

Original Production - Cape Theatre, Cape May, New Jersey, August 17th to 21st, 1940

Published - in The Beautiful People & two other plays in 1941.

Producer - T.C. UphamSweeney in the Trees001

Original cast:

Julie Haydon



Saroyan sought permission from Irish author Flann O'Brien to use the title as O'Brien had initially intended his work At Swim Two Birds to be titled Sweeney in the Trees

A tale recounted by Leonard Lyons in a tribute to Broadway star of the 1920s and 30s has Saroyan, in need of cash, offering to sell the rights to the play to Baker in exchange for $10,000. The one condition Saroyan placed on the deal was "You're not to come back to me ever, Phil, and ask me to explain the play to you." The deal fell through.

After he completed writing the play, he attempted to create a musical version with Howard Dietz, the famed writer of musicals such as The Band Wagon. Dietz left the project, telling Saroyan, "I feel like I'd be intruding."   

Rarely produced after the initial production on Cape May. A production in Detroit in 1955 at the World Theatre, and the El-Hi Drama Groups in San Francisco produced a version in 1960, 


Associated Materials:

In the Forever Saroyan collection: 

Sweeney in the Trees Program, 1960, El-Hi Drama Group, PB005

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