Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hollywood Actors in New England Summer Stock 1950

Over on my Another Old Movie Blog tomorrow, we’ll be discussing the 1950 film “Summer Stock” with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Pretty much an overgrown “let’s put on a show” movie with grownups instead of kids, the simplistic plot paints a charming scene of what you can do with a New England barn besides keep cows in it.

Since enough New England summer stock companies began, or still play, in barns, summer theatre is sometimes called the Barn Circuit. Today, in conjunction with the movie “Summer Stock”, we’ll have a look at a couple of New England summer theatres, one of them started in a barn, that featured Hollywood actors in the summer season of 1950.

This information comes from two very interesting books, “The Cape Playhouse” by Marcia J. Monbleau, (Raymond Moore Foundation, Dennis, Mass., 1991), and from “The Ogunquit Playhouse: 75 Years” by Carole Lee Carroll, Bunny Hart, and Susan Day Meffert (Back Channel Press, Portsmouth, NH, 2007).

In the summer of 1950, Paulette Goddard appeared at the Cape Playhouse on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in “Caesar and Cleopatra.” The following show featured Shelley Winters in “Born Yesterday.” Later on that summer, Luise Rainer appeared in “Lady from the Sea”. Brian Aherne starred in “Dear Brutus.” Sylvia Sidney appeared in “Goodbye My Fancy.” The season concluded with Francis Lederer in “The Silver Whistle.”

Meanwhile, up in Ogunquit, Maine, among the Hollywood film colony appearing that summer was Stuart Erwin in “Harvey.” Leo G. Carroll starred in “Once an Actor.” Edward Everett Horton starred in “His French Wife.”

These and other plays that season also featured theatre veterans, some up and coming TV stars (like Imogene Coca), and many young apprentices to the acting craft.

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