Play Notes


Study Guide for the World Premiere of


Herb Brown’s YOU’RE MY BOY



Produced by



Contemporary American Theatre Company

CATCO’s 2005-06 season is being presented in association with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA).




Compiled, edited, and written by Bill Childs, Prof. of History, The Ohio State University (






Once again, CATCO is very grateful to the Department of History and the College of Humanities at The Ohio State University for the opportunity to share with Central Ohio--and via the web, the world--insights into the process of "putting on a show."  The last time this was done was in the spring 2001, when CATCO produced Frank Galati’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH.  See

Logo: OSU Department of History 

For every production, CATCO hires a dramaturg to collect information about the play (its structure and setting), the playwright, and past productions.  This information, which is often put together into an “Actors’ Book,” aids the director in establishing an approach and it helps the actors prepare for their different characterizations.  It is supplemental information that furnishes facts and context, for the director, actors, properties master, music director, and costume, scenic, lighting, and sound designers, always do their own research as well.  The key word is “collaboration”; everyone collaborates and shares information with everyone else.  In the case of YOU’RE MY BOY, an original production, the playwright Herb Brown was of course a driving force throughout the process.

The dramaturg prepares not only the Actors’ Book, but also Play Notes, which is a shorter published version of the Actors’ Book.  This publication is made available to high school students and, sometimes, the subscribers.  For the production of YOU’RE MY BOY, this web site is taking the place of Play Notes.

This web site will be updated periodically throughout the rehearsal process.



Table of Contents




CATCO’s New Works Program


Purpose of Play Notes/Questions to Consider




The Play


          Synopsis of the Play


          Playwright’s Notes


          Director’s Approach


          Scene Locations


The Playwright


          Biography of Herb Brown


          Questions for Herb Brown


Historical Context


          Historical Overview of the Postwar U.S.


          Historical Chronology, 1944-1961


          Political Parties, 1947-1961


          Nixon and the Media


          Herblock Cartoons


          Mamie and Pat and Women in Politics in the 1950s


          Plays and Films on Nixon and Eisenhower


The Characters


          Richard M. Nixon


                   Senate History of Nixon

                   Khrushchev-Nixon debate


          Dwight D. Eisenhower




          Other Characters


Thomas E. Dewey


Sherman Adams


Murray Chotiner


                   Pat Nixon


          Other Historical Personalities


The Artistic Process


          Designers’ Page


          Rehearsal Process (photos)


          Dramaturg Communications


Artists’ Biographies


          The Acting Company


          Production Team


For Further Reading