Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jane Cowl at the Court Square Theater

Jane Cowl, actress, playwright, and “Juliet” of a generation, toured with “The First Mrs. Fraser” at The Court Square Theater in Springfield, Massachusetts, April 1948. You might recall the darling diva from our earlier post about her blowing up at an incompetent young Jimmy Stewart and getting him fired. Here, she’s all composed and playing the grand lady of stage at the end of her career.

Born in 1884, this Boston native was one of the great stage actresses of her day, who performed in a few silent films, originated the role of Dolly Levi in Thornton Wilder’s “The Merchant of Yonkers”, and during World War II headed New York’s Stage Door Canteen.

She was in her mid-60s when she appeared as Janet Fraser in this comedy by St. John Ervine, which was revived on Broadway in November 1947. Unfortunately, it played only 38 performances through December before producer Gant Gaither sent it on the road.

The play was actually made into a film in 1932 with Dorothy Dix in Jane Cowl’s role. Also in the cast of this play was Reginald Mason who came with Miss Cowl from the original New York cast, and had Broadway credits as long as your arm.

This play capped the 1947-48 season at the Court Square, and was also a kind of cap to Jane Cowl’s stage career. She died two years later.

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