Moss Hart was one of the great comic playwrights of American drama. In works such as Once in a Lifetime, You Can’t Take It with You, and The Man Who Came to Dinner, he gave the theater some of its most amusing moments. He was awarded the Roi Cooper Megrue Award in 1930 for Once in a Lifetime and in 1937, with George S. Kaufman, the Pulitzer Prize for You Can’t Take It with You.
Because Hart’s best works are his collaborations with Kaufman, his critical stature will always be obscured by that of the older, more famous dramatist. It would be a mistake, however, to think of Hart as simply Kaufman’s collaborator. Kaufman worked with several partners in his career, including such talents as Ring Lardner, Alexander Woollcott, and Edna Ferber, but none of them produced such fine results with Kaufman as Hart did, nor were any of the Kaufman and Hart plays the work of one man more than the other. Theirs was a true collaboration, with each man contributing equally to the final product. Moreover, Hart’s solo works, such as Lady in the Dark, with its innovative staging and probing of psychological conflicts, show that he could create significant drama on his own.
In addition to playwriting and screenwriting, Hart directed such plays as Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s Camelot (pr. 1960) and My Fair Lady (pr. 1956); the latter won for Hart a Tony Award.