03 January 2006

summer stock

James Robert Parish sent me a fascinating link this morning. it's a list of the productions of the Kenley Players.

John Kenley (who turns 100 next year) was a onetime Broadway chorus boy who became a producer. he brought major stage & screen & TV stars to Ohio every summer to perform in stock. my first experience with that cavernous auditorium in Warren was in the summer of 1959 when I joind cousins Regina & Vivian to see real-life Hollywood couple Virginia Mayo & Michael O'Shea in a light comedy. my only memories of that long-ago production were that Mayo lookd gorgeous & her husband muggd mercilessly.

over the years I saw everyone from Gloria Swanson & Sylvia Sidney to Tommy Kirk & Vincent Price in Kenley productions. it was a way for current & past stars to appear before fans in the hinterlands. & it also was a training ground for such future stars as Elizabeth Hartman & John Spencer.

summer stock is pretty much dead now. in its heyday there were theaters all over the east coast & creeping into the midwest. it was a glorious time for theatergoers & just one more vanishing tradition which I miss.


Exguyparis said...

Oh, I want a time machine! Some of the casting is fascinating, and some is bizarre.

I really loved Betsy Palmer!


Alex Gildzen said...

so did James Dean. at least if Miss P is to be believd. she claims they were lovers at the time they workd together in what's now calld the "golden age" of live tv drama.

Regality said...

Seeing summer stock--a dream I didn't realize I had until now. *humming "The Impossible Dream"*