A thinly-veiled portrait of the legendary Barrymores, another renowned “Royal Family of Broadway,” the Cavendish clan 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 son Tony who has forsaken the stage for Hollywood. Heralding the third generation of players, Julie’s daughter Gwen is just beginning 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 that 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
The fifth production of the year was a revival of the George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber classic 1920’s comedy “The Royal Family.” The show was first performed at Players as the opening production of the 1931-1932 season. That show ran for two performances at the Illini Theater and was held over for a special benefit for the Bloomington Welfare Fund.
One of the special highlights of the opening night performance was the opportunity for director Bruce Parrish to present to the audience two actresses from the 1931 Players’ production: Ruth Bowers Jeager and E. Melba Kirkpatrick. A reception followed the performance. A special guest at a later performance was Eula Brown O’Neill, a director of over 30 plays at Community Players. These three ladies were very important to the early years for the Community Players. While the review was mixed, the show was a financial success for the Players.