Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Out of Town Tryouts - "Last House on the Left" - 1945

“Last House on the Left” came to Hartford in it’s pre-Broadway tryout in November 1945 with what must have been typical high hopes, but no crystal ball regarding the ultimate success of the show.

This was a comedy-farce written by Jean Carmen and Irish Owen, and directed by Irish Owen, not to be confused with the cult horror movie of the early 1970s with a similar name. Definitely not to be confused with that.

Jean Carmen played vaudeville, radio, and did a lot of B-westerns in Hollywood by the time she trod the boards at the Bushnell for this play in which she also starred with Gene Barry “and a cast of 20.” Her only Broadway stint was as a replacement in “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

Gene Barry had a lot of stage work under his belt, particularly on Broadway, mostly musicals, and would eventually make his fame on television, especially as TV’s “Bat Masterson.” Barry had just come off of “Catherine Was Great” on Broadway in January 1945 when “Last House on the Left” was in the works.

“Last House on the Left” never made it to Broadway. Barry’s career sailed on, however, and he went back to Broadway in a revival of “The Would-Be Gentleman” at the Booth Theater. It ran three months. Then presumably he joined Irish Owen and Jean Carmen in the eternal search for a new gig.

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