Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman
Originally published in 1936. The movie based on the play WAS released in 1938
starring Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Eve Arden, Ann Miller and Ginger Rogers,
is similar, but there are many plot differences. Good study for style, tone, set,
costumes, and characterization.
SETTING: 1936 -the Footlights Club- a club for girls of the stage. It occupies an
entire brownstone house in the West 50’s in NYC.
The play features the lives of young actresses as they try to make it on the stage
in the world of Broadway in the 1930’s. They all live together in The Footlights
Club, a house exclusively for female performers, trying to negotiate the business
of theatre. The hopes and ambitions of these sixteen young women are revealed in
scenes of entertaining comedy. Contrasted with this are the cases of the girl without
talent and the elderly actress whose days are over. The central plot has to do with
courageous Terry Randall, who fights against discouragement to a position in the
theater. One of her fellow aspirants gives up in despair, one gets married, and one
goes into pictures, but Terry, with the help of idealistic producer, David Kingsley,
sticks to her guns. Other characters include Mattie, the maid; Frank her husband; a
few young men callers; a movie magnate; and young Keith Burgess, the playwright
who "goes Hollywood.”
The show explores success, failure, love, comradeship and perseverance.
Emerging in the midst of The Great Depression, this show serves as a love letter
to the American Dream and the persistence of all starving artists.
Terry Randall-vivid personality-excellent actress determined to make it on
“legitimate” stage and avoid Hollywood
Judith Canfield—hard, wise, sarcastic
Jean Maitland-beautiful girl in 20’s-charming, a little too vivacious-goes
Kaye Hamilton-frail, wispy-running away from abusive husband
Mary Harper (Big Mary who is ironically SHORT)-best friends with Little Mary—
bubbly, sense of humor
Mary McCune (Little Mary) almost a foot taller than “Big” Mary—2 always together
Bernice Niemeyer- constantly asks questions-bit of a character
Madeleine Vauclain-“languid beauty” from Seattle-rather snooty
Ann Braddock-not much sense of humor—judgmental and self-righteous
Linda Shaw-having an affair with wealthy married man—spites her mother
Bobby Melrose-feminine Southern belle
Louise Mitchell-marries and moves home to Wisconsin
Susan Paige-acting student by day; understudy by night
Pat Devine-nightclub dancer-does little dance steps throughout play
Kendall Adams—from prominent, wealthy Boston family-as in John Adams
Olga Brandt-Russian, concert pianist-bitter about having to play the Wintergarden
Two young actresses who come in last act
Tony Gillette
Ellen Fenwick
Mattie—housekeeper –we are NOT using the dialect—we may go Irish!
Mrs. Orcutt -runs the boarding house -46, theatrical past
Mrs. Shaw-Linda’s mother
David Kingsley-Hollywood producer-37, charming, distinguished
Keith Burgess-brooding, self-centered playwright who gives up his “art” for the $$
in Hollywood. Terry’s boyfriend for most of play
Dr. Randall-Terry’s father-small town doctor-kind and loving
Frank-houseman-married to Mattie
Young Men who date two of the girls
Sam Hastings-young actor from Houston
Jimmy Devereaux-student at New York School of Acting
Business Men in town for a night-go on date with Madeleine and Judith
Fred Powell
Lou Milhauser
Larry Westcott-New York publicity man who follows Jean back to the club
Billy Adolph Gretzl-photographer for Jean’s publicity
AUDITION SCENES from the following pages:
Script posted on Mrs. Poyner’s website and on FB page
Bern, Olga, Mattie, Little M, Big M,
Mad, Olga, Jud, Kay, Mrs O
( Jean Hollywood, Louise goodbye) Jean, Big M, Little M, Bern, Ann,
Bobby, Mrs O, Judy, Louise, Kendall, Terry, Pat, Susan
17-18 (Terry got a job) Kendall, Terry, Pat, Big M, Little M, Judith, Olga, Susan,
(4 men pick up dates) 2 young actors: Sam, Jimmy; 2 business men:
Fred and Lou
( Showing off for producer) Bern, Kingsley, Pat, Mrs. O,
(first meeting) Keith, Terry
(Terry’s disillusionment & kaye’s confession) Kaye and Terry**
(Keith is a creep) Judith, Terry then Ann and Bobby
(Lindas adultery) Linda and Mrs Shaw
55-58 (Terry’s dad comes; Keith cancels) Terry, Dr. Randall, Keith
59-60 (Keith tells Terry shes not in play) Terry, Keith
70-71 (Kings tells Terry she is good and go to HW) Terry and Kingsley
72-75 (girls lounging Sun am reading papers) Little M, Big M, Pat, Olga, Susan,
Bern, Tony (new girl), Bobby, Ellen (new girl), Judith, Kendal, Ann, Mad
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