Lawson, John Howard (1894–1977) By Chambers, Jonathan
John Howard Lawson was born in New York City on September 25, 1894. His first major play, Roger Bloomer (1923), advanced expressionism in the United States, trading the pessimism that frequently defined the form for optimism. Processional (1925), produced by the Theatre Guild, was also formally adventurous. Combining jazz, vaudeville, and Dada, and focussing on a labor dispute, it is Lawson’s masterwork.