Broadway star guests with York Little Theatre

I try to get to at least a few performances at the Belmont Theatre (formerly York Little Theatre) each year. They always do a great job. Click this link for my York Sunday News column on the history of the theater, which dates back to 1933.

Besides the talented local participants, some of the guest performers have been fairly well-known stars of stage and screen. A June 1941 York Gazette and Daily article tells that “Broadway star Lenore Ulric is ‘looking forward’ to her appearance with the York Little Theatre on Monday evening in ‘The Bridge of San Luis Rey.’” It was being directed by Kenneth L. Haynes, who had adapted the 1927 Pulitzer prize winning novel by Thornton Wilder into a play. Ulric, the protégé of well-known Broadway produces, David Belasco, appeared in many plays and films during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

Ulric was enthusiastic about appearing in the play here, noting that she enjoys working with local theater groups. The production with Ulrich would be staged at the William Penn school auditorium at 8:30 on a Monday night, with theater officials hoping for a sellout. Thornton Wilder was invited to the York production, but instead sent best wishes to the Little Theatre, Miss Ulric and Mr. Haynes.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey has been made into a motion picture three times, in 1929 (silent), 1944, and 2005. I could only find references to it being performed as a play in two other instances, with none in New York, so I am assuming it still hasn’t hit Broadway.

Click this link for a look at Ulric and her impressive New York townhouse. She sounds like quite the diva, despite her Minnesota roots. I wonder what she thought of York—and what York thought of her.

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