A European college professor becomes obsessed with a vulgar American woman’s 12-year-old daughter, leading to a cross-country odyssey involving marriage, murder and intrigue in Edward Albee’s adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, Lolita.

The cast included Donald Sutherland as Humbert Humbert, Clive Revill as Claire Quilty, Ian Richardson as Nabakov, and Blanche Baker in the title role.

After 31 previews and 12 performances, the play closed on March 28, 1981.

In retrospect, Albee remembered Lolita as one of the most trying parts of his career. Although he still received the writing credit, according to Albee his script was not used for the Broadway production.

And my adaptation of Nabokov’s Lolita, of course, was never done on Broadway. Something called Lolita with my name attached to it was produced on Broadway, but it was not my adaptation of Nabokov’s Lolita. The one really truly ugly theater experience I have had in a long and reasonably happy career was the experience of losing control of the production of that play. It never happened to me before and I will never let it happen again. . . . I should have had the wisdom to pull out and make them close it. But you know, you get involved in something like a losing musical, and you keep thinking that if you go on with it, maybe it will turn out right in the end–and you get deeper and deeper into the quicksand. So the damn thing opened finally, not my text, not acted or directed or produced the way I wanted–and guess who got the bad reviews?

Albee, Edward. Conversations with Edward Albee. Ed. Philip C. Kolin. Jackson and London: UP of Mississippi, 1988.

The only available script of Lolita has been published in two editions. The first was published by Dramatists Play Service in 1998. The second was published by Overlook Duckworth in 2005 as part of the third volume in The Collected Plays of Edward Albee series.

Type: Full Length Play

First Performance: 19 March 1981, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York

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