NEW! The Theatrical Adventures of Edward Gorey


From his boyhood in Chicago, he was fascinated by theater. In high school he designed his first stage backdrop. As a clerk in the U.S. Army, Private E. Gorey spent World War II at a top-secret facility in the Utah desert writing throwaway plays. Once he got to Harvard University, he joined the legendary Poets’ Theatre and learned to do everything: design sets and costumes, write scripts, even draw tickets and posters. He took a job in New York as a book illustrator, to support himself and his cats, and started publishing his own odd little storybooks.

What changed him from a cult figure to a famous artist was Dracula. A summer revival he designed on Nantucket Island exploded into a Tony Award-winning Broadway hit: “The Edward Gorey Production of Dracula.” While stars from Frank Langella to Jeremy Brett posed in Gorey-designed capes on Gorey-designed coffins, a series of adapters turned surrealistic and/or sinister Gorey stories like The Doubtful Guest and The Curious Sofa into musical revues. Ted Gorey became Edward, fled Manhattan for a decrepit mansion on Cape Cod, and began directing his own adaptations on stages from Woods Hole to Provincetown.

The Theatrical Adventures of Edward Gorey chronicles this little-known side of a uniquely brilliant, inventive, and influential artist. Coauthored by his comrade-in-arts Carol Verburg and the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, this lavish volume combines front-line reporting with newly released visual treasures from the Gorey Archive. For the first time, his fans, collectors, fellow thespians, and anyone who loves the theater can discover Gorey’s extraordinary theatrical artwork — colorful sets and costumes for The Mikado, giant hand-painted urns, intricate lithographs, storyboard sketches — along with a sampler of scripts ranging from a pastiche of Nancy Drew in limericks to an opera libretto for hand puppets to a Christmas homage to Agatha Christie.

For anyone who’s ever been curious about the brilliant, eccentric creator of such classics as The Gashlycrumb Tinies (“A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Basil assaulted by bears”), Dracula on Broadway, and the animation that opens PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery, this revelatory book is a treasure trove. For art lovers, it’s a spectacular exhibition of elaborate black-and-white drawings and full-color paintings. For actors and directors, it’s a revelatory look at a unique genius’s never-before-published texts for the stage.

Learn more about The Theatrical Adventures of Edward Gorey here or preorder here (US, UK, Australia)