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The Players Revivals 1926: King Henry IV, Part One by William Shakespeare

By TOWNES COATES

Program Cover of King Henry IV, Part One by William Shakespeare
Program Cover of King Henry IV, Part One by William Shakespeare

Not until this, the fifth of the club’s limited-run revivals produced on a Broadway stage, did The Players tackle Shakespeare. With so many members likely able to recall the performances of Edwin Booth and his storied colleagues just a few decades earlier, some trepidation might have been expected. Henry IV was not one of Edwin’s

signature roles, however, so this choice avoided comparison to the founder's performances.


The role of King Henry was taken up by the esteemed third president of The Players, John Drew. John was the son of a respected actor, and his generation brought together two leading families of the American theatre, through the marriage of his sister Georgiana Drew to Maurice Barrymore. Others onstage in this production had names still familiar in Players lore, including Otis Skinner, Don Marquis, Eric Pape, and Edgar Lee Masters; only the first was a professional actor. Prince John of Lancaster was cast as a breeches role, played by the 22-year-old socialite and actress Rosamond Pinchot.


This revival was staged at the Knickerbocker Theatre at Broadway and West 38th Street, which was demolished in 1930.


The Players Revivals were a series of short engagements in Broadway houses mounted by the club between the world wars. With a membership comprised of producers, directors, actors, designers, and lovers of the stage, the club was well-suited to produce these plays, which were staffed entirely by club members and colleagues. The 8–10 performance runs served as a source of income for the club.


Blog Contributor
Townes Coates

Townes Coates is a writer and producer of documentary film. He serves as the twentieth President of The Players.

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