A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 28, 2022
First Lady of the Theater (First Lady of the Theatre)


The White House Historical Association
The Origins of the American “First Lady”
By: MATTHEW COSTELLO
Vice President of the Rubenstein Center for White House History, Senior Historian
(...)
The phrase “The First Lady of the Land” became so prevalent that it even found its way into American popular culture. Charles Frederic Nirdlinger’s The First Lady of the Land initially opened at the Gaiety Theatre in New York on December 4, 1911. This ahistorical play told the sensationalized story of Dolley Madison and her vacillation between the two loves in her life, James Madison and Aaron Burr. One critic hailed it “a play of much charm” and applauded Nirdlinger’s effort to depict Dolley as “intelligent, self-reliant, diplomatic, and generally speaking, appealing.” The dramatization of a popular first lady’s love affairs, however, prompted criticism from spectators; the “play is neither historical drama nor a transcript from real life. It is romance pure and simple,” concluded a New York Times correspondent.

Wikipedia: Minnie Maddern Fiske
Minnie Maddern Fiske (born Marie Augusta Davey; December 19, 1865 – February 15, 1932), but often billed simply as Mrs. Fiske, was one of the leading American actresses of the late 19th and early 20th century. She also spearheaded the fight against the Theatrical Syndicate for the sake of artistic freedom. She was widely considered the most important actress on the American stage in the first quarter of the 20th century. Her performances in several Henrik Ibsen plays helped introduced American audiences to the Norwegian playwright.

Wikipedia: Ethel Barrymore
Ethel Barrymore (born Ethel Mae Blythe; August 15, 1879 – June 18, 1959) was an American actress and a member of the Barrymore family of actors. Barrymore was a stage, screen and radio actress whose career spanned six decades, and was regarded as “The First Lady of the American Theatre”. She received four nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, winning for None but the Lonely Heart (1944).

Wikipedia: Katharine Cornell
Katharine Cornell (February 16, 1893 – June 9, 1974) was an American stage actress, writer, theater owner and producer. She was born in Berlin to American parents and raised in Buffalo, New York.

Dubbed “The First Lady of the Theatre” by critic Alexander Woollcott, Cornell was the first performer to receive the Drama League Award, for Romeo and Juliet in 1935. Cornell is noted for her major Broadway roles in serious dramas, often directed by her husband, Guthrie McClintic. The couple formed C. & M.C. Productions, Inc., a company that gave them complete artistic freedom in choosing and producing plays. Their production company gave first or prominent Broadway roles to some of the more notable actors of the 20th century, including many British Shakespearean actors.

Wikipedia: Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne (/fɒnˈtæn/; 6 December 1887 – 30 July 1983) was an English actress. After early success in supporting roles in the West End, she met the American actor Alfred Lunt, whom she married in 1922 and with whom she co-starred in Broadway and West End productions over the next four decades. They became known as “The Lunts”, and were celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic.

Wikipedia: Laurette Taylor
Laurette Taylor (born Loretta Helen Cooney; April 1, 1883 – December 7, 1946) was an American stage and silent film star who is particularly well known for originating the role of Amanda Wingfield in the first production of Tennessee Williams’s play The Glass Menagerie.

Wikipedia: Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes MacArthur (née Brown; October 10, 1900 – March 17, 1993) was an American actress whose career spanned 80 years. She eventually received the nickname “First Lady of American Theatre” and was the second person and first woman to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award (an EGOT). She was also the first person to win the Triple Crown of Acting; to date, the only other person to have accomplished both is Rita Moreno. Hayes also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1986.[2] In 1988, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Monday, November 28, 2022 • Permalink