Grand Rapids was host to; William H. Wright’s; Broadway Players and Wright Players during the height of Stock Theatre in America 1923–1928. Among their number could be found; Spencer Tracy, Selena Royle, Dean Jagger, Marguerite Fields, Porter Hall, Maude and Margaret Fealy. William H. Wright’s stock company boasted a 5-year engagement in Grand Rapids and most of that time at the Powers Theatre. They made an attempt to revive the glory days of stock in the 1932–33 season after a three year absence, but the draw of the talkies proved too much for stock theatre to survive much past that.
“… In those days actors playing in stock companies were doing four things simultaneously. They were playing the play, forgetting a play, studying a play, and rehearsing a play. All because each week we had a different production, and in many of the companies around the nation, they did two plays a week. It was hard, brain-tormenting, bone-breaking work, but gratifying.”
— Pat O’Brien, Irish-American Stage & Screen Actor
William H. Wright’s Broadway Players began their extended engagement in Grand Rapids Monday 23 April 1923 and played for 22 weeks that first spring/summer season ending Saturday 15 September 1923.
They opened their engagement with Nice People written by Rachel Crothers with Georgia Backus, Mary Wall, Ramon Greenleaf, Marguerite Fields, Gene Harper, William Laveau, Charlotte Wade Daniel, Halliam Bosworth, Kenneth Daigneau, and Jerome Kennedy.
Synopsis: to come.
The Broadway Players promised a brilliant production. It’s members had been selected from Broadway productions and from the best stock organizations.