Tag Archives: Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunrise at Campobello

Dear Friends,

Since we’ve been celebrating American history all week, we thought we’d share this post with you again, as it is where history and theatre intersect!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

Certainly one of the most exciting plays we ever produced was Sunrise at Campobello, the story of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early 1920s.

We were extremely happy when Dore Schary, a prominent head of MGM, decided to leave Hollywood to concentrate on writing and producing plays in New York!

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His first play, Sunrise, was excellent!  We opened the play on what would have been Roosevelt’s 76th birthday—January 30, 1958.  It was directed by Vincent J. Donehue and starred Ralph Bellamy as Roosevelt, along with Mary Fickett, Henry Jones, Anne Seymour, Mary Welch, Alan Bunce and more!

The play ran for 16 months with 556 spectacular performances.  It was nominated for 6 Tonys in 1958 and won Best Play, Best Actor, Best Director…

  • Best Play (winner)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Play—Ralph Bellamy (winner)
  • Direction—Vincent J. Donehue (winner)
  • Featured Actor in a Play—Henry Jones (winner)
  • Featured Actress in…

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Chicago Performance

Exciting review from our latest performance of FDR, starring Ed Asner, last week in Chicago at the Roosevelt University Auditorium Theatre!

Ed Asner was an absolute delight as Franklin Roosevelt. We were proud to present his one man show, FDR, in celebration of Roosevelt University’s 70th birthday. FDR’s grand-daughter and great grand-son were in the audience and they were very complimentary about Ed’s portrayal of their family’s patriarch. He displayed FDR’s warmth and humanity and brought that special Asner touch to a complex character familiar to us all. In addition, he was very open and accessible, happily greeting our patrons and even spending an hour in the classroom with our theatre students.

Of course, we already know that Ed is fantastic in his role as FDR—but it’s always great seeing others agree!

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Sunrise at Campobello

Certainly one of the most exciting plays we ever produced was Sunrise at Campobello, the story of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early 1920s.

We were extremely happy when Dore Schary, a prominent head of MGM, decided to leave Hollywood to concentrate on writing and producing plays in New York!

campo 2

His first play, Sunrise, was excellent!  We opened the play on what would have been Roosevelt’s 76th birthday—January 30, 1958.  It was directed by Vincent J. Donehue and starred Ralph Bellamy as Roosevelt, along with Mary Fickett, Henry Jones, Anne Seymour, Mary Welch, Alan Bunce and more!

The play ran for 16 months with 556 spectacular performances.  It was nominated for 6 Tonys in 1958 and won Best Play, Best Actor, Best Director…

  • Best Play (winner)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Play—Ralph Bellamy (winner)
  • Direction—Vincent J. Donehue (winner)
  • Featured Actor in a Play—Henry Jones (winner)
  • Featured Actress in a Play—Mary Fickett (nominee)

It was great fun producing and working with such talent!  The play itself was so masterfully written and so poignant and inspirational—transcending generations—and that’s why we adapted the play into a one-man show, FDR, which we have been touring all over the United States starring Ed Asner and playing in over 100 theatres during the last 6 years (since 2009).

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You can read more about our production of Sunrise at Campobello and many more Theatre Guild productions in our book: A pictorial history of the Theatre Guild by Norman Nadel.

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Jean Stapleton Stars As Eleanor Roosevelt

We recently came across this photo of Jean Stapleton, who was one of our most beloved actresses. She starred in the play Eleanor Roosevelt by Rhoda Lerman, performing all over the United States for 37 weeks.  While everyone may recognize Jean in her prominent role of Edith Bunker, it is her stage presence and her warm and darling personality that makes us miss her so!

—Marilyn & Philip

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