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Shattered Applause

The Lives of Eva Le Gallienne

Robert A. Schanke

Publication Year: 2010

The first full-length biography of stage actress Eva Le Gallienne traces her life from her birth into the troubled but fascinating household of Richard Le Gallienne, British writer and intimate member of the Oscar Wilde circle, to her recent death.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Front Cover

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pp. 1-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7

Contents

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pp. vii-

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

At the highest level in all the arts genius communicates a vision of life. Of course we recognize a Virginia Woolf world, a Wallace Stevens world, a Stravinsky world — a few lines, a stanza, or some musical phrases would have in each case a recognizable signature; but when we come to the performing arts the aperçu becomes subtler and harder to pin down. ...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xx

''A national treasure," "another Duse," "a reminder of what greatness in the theatre can be" — this is typical of the praise showered on Eva Le Gallienne as she approached her eightieth birthday. In 1977 President Gerald Ford cited her "excellence of achievement." ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxi-xxii

Many people assisted me in writing this book, especially Eloise Annen and Anne Kaufman Schneider. They granted several interviews, opened many doors, and provided moral support. ...

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1. Water Baby

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pp. 1-23

Each summer thousands of Americans visiting England make a special pilgrimage to the home of Charles Dickens, one of London's colorful tourist attractions. Armed with maps and cameras, they board the Piccadilly Line Underground and exit at Russell Square, via a creaky and cramped elevator that shakes and shimmies as it chugs to the surface. ...

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2. Mad about Her

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pp. 24-40

Eva and her mother were not the only foreigners flocking to France. Soon after the Universal Exhibition of 1900, Paris suddenly became the premiere school of Europe, the acknowledged center of intellectual, cultural, and artistic activity. ...

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3. Tout Sera Bien (All Shall Be Well)

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pp. 41-65

When Eva and her mother arrived in New York in August of 1915, they saw little evidence of the war panic they had left behind in Europe. Only three months earlier a German torpedo had sunk the Lusitania off the coast of Ireland, killing 1100 people, but Americans seemed oblivious. ...

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4. Abbess of Fourteenth Street

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pp. 66-87

Eva was beginning to feel strangled by a lack of professional appreciation. She realized that she was moving outside the mainstream of what was expected of actresses of her generation. Nevertheless, she felt she deserved better and refused to be brushed aside. ...

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5. My Life in Two

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pp. 88-98

On July 8, 1930, Eva's struggle for privacy abruptly ended as she became front-page headlines across the country. The cause—Josie's explosive divorce from her husband of six years. Attempts to hush the divorce by going through the courts in the distant town of Reno, Nevada, only peaked the gossip-hungry media. ...

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6. The Greater Depression

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pp. 99-118

As the ummer of 1932 approached, Eva was ready to tackle the reopening of the Civic. During her sabbatical year, she had kept a nucleus of her staff and acting company on a small retainer's fee and assumed they were prepared to resume their work. She discovered otherwise. ...

Gallery of Illustrations

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pp. 119-158

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7. Beyond Joy

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pp. 159-183

The Connecticut terrain was wild and rustic. Eva wanted nothing more than to withdraw from the public eye and to forget the agonies of recent years. The first six months of 1936 were spent in the solitude of her home. During heavy snowstorms, the half-mile, ruddy old lane leading to the house from the main road was usually closed to traffic. ...

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8. Buying Some Freedom

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pp. 184-201

Once upon a time, in a far-off Connecticut farm, there lived two Bantam hens. Flossie, the scrawnier of the two, was downright ugly. Very shy and reserved, she often felt like crying for sheer loneliness. She often suffered from ill-natured gibes and malicious ridicule. ...

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9. The Queen Is Back

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pp. 202-231

LeG had generally resisted acting in revivals in New York, but suddenly an offer came along that was just too good to ignore. Producers Norris Houghton and T. Edward Hambleton asked her to play the role of Queen Elizabeth in Schiller's Mary Stuart for the opening of the fifth season at their off-Broadway Phoenix Theatre. ...

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10. Exit the Queen

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pp. 232-241

Anyone who spent fifty years in the theatre was bound to experience reversals. LeG had more than her share. The decade of the twenties saw her on top, but by the mid-thirties she was something of a pariah. Though in the mid-forties she still managed to create national headlines with the ART, ...

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11. The Comeback Kid

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pp. 242-267

It was a total surprise to Wersba when LeG called a year later to tell her that Lucille Lortel wanted to present The Dream Watcher at the White Barn in late August.1 Overnight a production evolved. Warren Enters was chosen as director, a cast was assembled, and rehearsals began. ...

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12. Winter Bound

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pp. 268-278

In spite of LeG's dismal showing with Alice and the catastrophe of St. Elsewhere, for the next three years her name was still bandied about for several new projects. Would she be interested in playing the role of the Dowager Empress in a musical version of Anastasia? ...

Appendix A: Works by Eva Le Gallienne

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pp. 281-283

Appendix B: Production Record of Eva Le Gallienne

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pp. 284-290

Notes

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pp. 291-310

Index

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pp. 311-319

Author Bio

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p. 345-345

Back Cover

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p. 346-346


E-ISBN-13: 9780809386000
E-ISBN-10: 0809386003
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809330089
Print-ISBN-10: 0809330083

Page Count: 344
Illustrations: 42 B/w halftones
Publication Year: 2010