Moss Hart needs little introduction as he is truly one of the legends of 20th century theater in America. His collaborations with George S. Kaufman include the classic plays Once in a Lifetime, The Man Who Came to Dinner, and You Can’t Take it with You. The latter won the Pulitzer Prize and the film adaptation, directed by Frank Capra, won the Oscar for Best Picture.
Hart’s other writing work includes the play Light Up the Sky, the musicals As Thousands Cheer (with Irving Berlin), Jubilee (with Cole Porter) and Lady in The Dark (with Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin). His screenplays include Gentleman’s Agreement (Oscar nomination), Hans Christian Andersen starring Danny Kaye and A Star is Born starring Judy Garland (the photo on our home page of Moss & Kitty in Times Square is from the premiere of A Star is Born).
With all these classic plays and screenplays, many people forget that Moss Hart was also well known as a stage director. In fact, he won the Best Director Tony Award for the original production of My Fair Lady. His final Broadway production was Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot. In 1972, eleven years after his death, Moss Hart was one of 23 people chosen for the first induction class of the American Theater Hall of Fame. A stage adaptation of Act One, his autobiography, premiered at Lincoln Center in 2014 and received five Tony Award nominations including Best Play.
Kitty Carlisle Hart
Kitty Carlisle Hart has an equally storied career. While she may be best known around the country as a regular panelist (from 1956 to 1978) on the long running television show To Tell the Truth, she was also one of the most prominent and effective arts advocates in the country.
She was Vice Chair of the New York State Council on the Arts from 1971 -1976 and Chair of the Council from 1976 -1996 at which point she became Chair Emeritus. During her tenure, she saw herself as a “Johnny Appleseed for Culture,” working tirelessly to bring the arts to every corner of the state. One of her lasting legacies is the increased focus on the many smaller arts organizations throughout New York (and she also dramatically increased the funding that went to these smaller groups).
In honor of her work, the State Theatre of New York in Albany (“The Egg”) is named the Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre. In 1991, she received the National Medal of Arts from President George H.W. Bush; in 1998, she was named a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy; and in 1999, she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.