On this day, in 1976, The Belle of Amherst opened on Broadway. The one-woman show, starring Julie Harris, tells the story of the reclusive poet, Emily Dickinson. It would garner Harris the Tony Award for Actress in a Play. Harris, who played fifteen characters in the play, also earned a Drama Desk Award, a Grammy Award for Spoken Word Recording, appeared in a PBS production and toured the show throughout the remainder of her career. She came to Seattle to perform it at ACT Theatre in 2000.
Some interesting facts about Emily Dickinson:
Only seven poems were published during her lifetime, and most were anonymous and against her will.
It's believed that her decision to seclude herself was to secure the independence to write.
The last time she left Amherst (where she lived), was a trip to Boston 12 years before her death.
After the poet's death, her sister fuond over 1,000 poems in Emily's bureau. It wasn't until 1955 that all of her 1,800 poems were published.
Cynthia Nixon recently protrayed Dickinson in "A Quiet Passion":
And here is Joely Richardson in the role: