A Royal Welcome To The Royal Family Broadway Revival
Evening: Tue 7pm
Wed through 8pm
Broadway is no stranger to revivals. Like its glittering brother Hollywood, there is always the need to restore to the stage a presentation that—whilst in production—was widely loved and accepted. Shows like Hair and Ragtime, have experienced these sorts of revivals. And so when it was announced that the amusing play The Royal Family Broadway would be revived for the walls of Broadway yet again ( it was revived prior to this in 1977), many people though delighted were really not shocked.
You would have to go as far back as 1927 for the very first premier of the play. Released on 28 December in that year the play ran for 3 straight years before it was closed in October after having run more than 340 performances. Shortly after that, in 1934, the west end version of the play was directed by Noel Coward. Written by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, The Royal Family is widely accepted to be a parody of the Barrymore family actors (popular actress Drew Barrymore is a member of this group). The focus of the story is found to have been more aimed at John and Ethel Barrymore.
The story revolves around the made-up characters of Tony Cavendish and Julie Cavendish. The former is described as a heavy drinking womanizer while the latter is found to be a prima donna. It is reported that Ethel Barrymore on viewing the play and the character Julie found it offending to the point where she pondered legal action.
It was not until the season of 1975 that the play once again returned to Broadway. This revival was directed by Ellis Rabb. George Grizzard replaced Otto Kruger as the alcoholic Tony, whilst Rosemary Harris was Julie Cavendish. The show won a best director Tony award during this period spurring an adapted telecast version of it on PBS. It also was awarded a Drama desk award for Outstanding Revival of a play.
The current The Royal Family Broadway revival has already recorded rave reviews. The irascible Tony is well played by Reg Rogers and there is already much talk of a possible Tony award for the outstanding portrayal of Julie Cavendish by Jan Maxwell. Over watching this insane bunch is their mother Fanny Cavendish who is played, much to the delight of many Broadway lovers, by Rosemary Harris—the lady who 34 years earlier so resoundingly played Julie. The set of the stage as well as the lighting is artfully done. So also the choreography and direction by Dough Hughes.
In fact very little in this charming revival of a classic seems to be out of place. The humor is just as fresh as it was 82 years ago and the message just as real. Whether this is as a result of the skill and talent behind the penmanship of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, or more a reflection of the unchanging laws of humor might be a puzzle for some.To others, it is a fair testament of both. For a great online selection of The Royal Family Broadway tickets click the link.
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