The Royal Family


October 8 & 9, 1931


Illini Theatre


A thinly-veiled portrait of the Barrymores, another renowned “Royal Family of Broadway,” the Cavendish family comprises three generations of legendary American actors: dowager Fanny Cavendish, widow of the premier actor of his day, who at seventy is planning an upcoming tour; brother Herbert, a histrionic player now in his decline; Fanny’s daughter Julie, at the height of her Broadway fame, and other brother Tony who has forsaken the stage for Hollywood. Heralding the third generation of players, Julie’s daughter Gwen is just starting a promising ingenue career. When Tony rushes home only to flee to Europe escaping the attentions of a Polish movie star and Gwen shocks the family by marrying a “non-professional,” it seems the Cavendish name and reputation is threatened. Through it all, Fanny rules with a combination of strength, wit, courage, and a sharp tongue, proving that the “show” indeed, “must and will go on.”

Authors: George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber

Historian’s Corner

“The Royal Family” was performed one week after the initial run as a benefit for The United Welfare Fund. Tickets were sold at $.50 (which was half the price of the original) by the Junior Women’s Club of Bloomington. R.W. Lawler, city manager for the Publix theaters and Vernon Everroad, of the Irvin theater was in charge of the Illini Theatre box office on Friday and Jesse Jones was in charge of the ushers. The Publix theaters furnished ushers and box office help: the Stage Employees and Moving Picture Operators local union, no. 193, furnished the services of James Tucker, stage manager; Clarence Roberds, property man; Harvey Peterson, electrician; and Charles Miller, flyman; and the Lang-Fuller Printing Company supplied tickets and programs so that the entire proceeds, $387.45, could be given to the United Welfare Fund.