- There's no business like show business.
Annie Get Your Gun (1946) 1888–1989 American songwriter: title of song in
- Let a single completed action, all in one place, all in one day, keep the theatre packed to the end of your play.
L'Art poétique (1674) canto 3, l. 45 1636–1711 French critic and poet:
- If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there.
Teatr i iskusstvo 11 July 1904 1860–1904 Russian dramatist and short-story writer: I. Ya. Gurlyand ‘Reminiscences of A. P. Chekhov, in
- Damn them! They will not let my play run, but they steal my thunder!
on hearing his new thunder effects used at a performance of Macbeth, following the withdrawal of one of his own plays after only a short run
A Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities (1893) 1657–1734 English critic, poet, and dramatist: William S. Walsh
to French dramatist and film director Jean Cocteau (1889–1963)
Journals of Jean Cocteau (1956) ch. 1 1872–1929 Russian ballet impresario: Wallace Fowlie (ed.)
- The famous rules, which the French call Des Trois Unitez, or, the Three Unities, which ought to be observed in every regular play; namely, of Time, Place, and Action.
An Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668) 1631–1700 English poet, critic, and dramatist:
- Shaw is like a train. One just speaks the words and sits in one's place. But Shakespeare is like bathing in the sea—one swims where one wants. 1913–67 English actress: letter from Harold Nicolson to Vita Sackville-West, 1 February 1956
- Don't clap too hard—it's a very old building.
The Entertainer (1957) no. 7 1929–94 English dramatist:
- The weasel under the cocktail cabinet.
on being asked what his plays were about
Anger and After (1962) 1930–2008 English dramatist: J. Russell Taylor
- You've got to perform in a role hundreds of times. In keeping it fresh one can become a large, madly humming, demented refrigerator.
Time 21 August 1978 1902–83 English actor: in
- The play-bill, which is said to have announced the tragedy of Hamlet, the character of the Prince of Denmark being left out.
commonly alluded to as ‘Hamlet without the Prince’
The Talisman (1825) introduction; W. J. Parke Musical Memories (1830) vol. 1 gives a similar anecdote from 1787 1771–1832 Scottish novelist and poet:
- Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
Henry V (1599) chorus, l. 11 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.) 1564–1616 English dramatist:
- I can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and I can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and I can do you all three concurrent or consecutive, but I can't do you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory—they're all blood, you see.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1967) act 1 1937– British dramatist:
- I've never much enjoyed going to plays…The unreality of painted people standing on a platform saying things they've said to each other for months is more than I can overlook.
Writers at Work 4th Series (1977) 1932–2009 American novelist and short-story writer: George Plimpton (ed.)
- We never closed.
of the Windmill Theatre, London, during the Second World War
c.1889–1960 British theatre manager: Tonight and Every Night (1952) ch. 18
- Four trestles, four boards, two actors, a passion.
all he needed to create a play
Lope de Vega and the Spanish Drama (1902) 1562–1635 Spanish dramatist and poet: attributed; James Fitzmaurice-Kelly
- It's a sound you can't get in the movies or television…the sound of a wonderful, deep silence that means you've hit them where they live.
Theatre Arts June 1956 1922–2006 American actress: in