- The Royal Family (play)
"otheruses|Royal Family (disambiguation)A play by
George S. Kaufmanand Edna Ferber, The Royal Family lampooned the famous Barrymore familyacting clan. A hit, the show ran for 345 performances, the prolific and successful Kaufman's longest running show to that time. The most severely ridiculed Barrymores were John and Ethel. The character Tony Cavendish, a heavy-drinking womanizer, represents John Barrymore. Julie Cavendish is the prima donna Broadway star Ethel Barrymore. Ethel Barrymore was offended and her critical comments were quoted by the press; however John Barrymore saw the production in Los Angelesand was amused, and congratulated Fredric Marchon his performance as Tony Cavendish. ( Otto Krugerhad played the role on Broadway.)
The Royal Family was made into a
motion picturefeature, " The Royal Family of Broadway", released in 1930by Paramount Pictures.
England, Noel Cowarddirected the West End version of the play in 1934, with a cast that included Laurence Olivieras Tony.
Before moving to Broadway, the play had successful out-of-town try-outs in Newark and
Atlantic City.The Royal Family opened one day after the revolutionary musical Show Boat, based on Ferber's novelof the same title. Edna Ferberherself acted in The Royal Family at the Maplewood Theater in 1940, in a production staged by Cheryl Crawford(see LIFE Magazine, Sept 23, 1940)
A revival of the comedy was one of the highlights of the 1975-76 season on Broadway. Directed by
Ellis Rabb, it starred Rosemary Harrisas Julie Cavendish, George Grizzardas Tony, and Eva Le Gallienneas the theatrical matriarch, Fanny. It won Rabb the 1976 Tony award for best director. The production was later telecast on PBS, with Rabb replacing Grizzard as Tony, and this version is now on DVD.
Several live TV productions of the play have been produced, including one in
1954, with Fredric March reprising his role as Tony, Helen Hayesas Fanny, and Claudette Colbertas Julie. The only complete version of the play shown on TV, however, is the aforementioned PBS telecast; all of the others have been one-hour condensed adaptations.
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Drama Desk Awardfor Outstanding Revival
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