Monday, April 20, 2009

A Look Back in Time Through the Playhouse Archive

Pasadena Playhouse is gearing up for its next mainstage production, "The Little Foxes," which Stage Management begins pre-production work on tomorrow. The Costume Plot and other final designs are due on Wednesday, and we're all set to begin rehearsals with the cast next Tuesday. Personally, I'm looking forward to hosting a tour for our new team of artists after a Meet & Greet with the staff on their first day, which brings me to a little bit of Playhouse history:

Once I heard that we were scheduled to produce such a seminal work of the American dramatic canon, I ran down to the archives to see what our previous production history was with this show. Having been the world's most prolific theatrical producer for most of the 20th century, I knew the Playhouse MUST have done the show before, and I was eager for a historical perspective on what I understand will be a very contemporary presentation.

Below, you'll find some scanned excerpts from our January, 1942 program for The Little Foxes the last time someone staged it here, as well as a photo of the magnificent set by in-house Art Director Rita Glover, prominently featuring the famous staircase. Some interesting things to note about these images are the advertisements on the title page for cocktails priced at 25 cents and dinners for 75 cents, as well as the header on that same page, noting that The Little Foxes was the 619th production in the organization's (then) 25-year history. That implies that even during the financial distress of World War 2, Pasadena Playhouse was averaging more than 25 productions each year, or a new show every other week. 67 years later, we have presented approximately 3,500 shows since opening in 1917 (counting readings and productions in subsidiary theatres), or 1,283 productions on the mainstage alone. That's a lot of plays!

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