Book Description

(HEPBURN, Katharine.) MASSINGHAM, Dorothy in conjunction with Murray MACDONALD. The Lake: A Play in Three Acts. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company 1933. First American edition. Presentation copy signed by Katherine Hepburn who starred in the first Broadway production: “To Richard Aldrich/ Katharine Hepburn”. With Richard Aldrich’s ‘Casa de Aldrich’ armorial bookplate on free front endpaper. Bound in full blue Spanish calf leather, with author and title in gilt on spine, separated by raised bands also decorated in gilt; marbled paper end papers; speckled edges. The faintest of foxing on second front and back free endpapers, otherwise a Near Fine copy
Dealer Notes
The Lake debuted on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on December 26, 1933 and was one of acting legend Katharine Hepburn's first major Broadway roles. Directed by Jed Harris, the notorious "big bad wolf" of American theatre, the play was a critical and popular flop, though it had a respectable run of 55 nights. Hepburn in particular drew sharp rebukes in the newspapers, many of which were penned by the same critics who loved her in The Warrior's Husband. Columnist Dorothy Parker famously quipped that Hepburn "ran the gamut of emotions — from A to B." Despite the poor response, Harris decided to take the show to Chicago, saying to Hepburn, "My dear, the only interest I have in you is the money I can make out of you." Hepburn refused, and paid Harris everything she had, $13,675, to close the production instead. Hepburn later referred to Harris as "hands-down the most diabolical person I have ever met", and claimed this experience was important in teaching her to take responsibility for her career. In 1937, Hepburn included a line from The Lake in the film Stage Door, thus making fun of her biggest failure. The line became one of Hepburn's signature catchphrases: "The calla lilies are in bloom again, such a strange flower, suitable to any occasion..."

Provenance: Richard Aldrich produced The Lake in 1934 and cast Katharine Hepburn in the lead role. Aldrich produced more than thirty plays on Broadway, including The Moon Is Blue, Goodbye My Fancy, The Playboy of the Western World, Pygmalion and Dear Charles. He also sponsored New York appearances by several international theatrical troupes, including the Old Vic Theatre Company, London, and the Dublin Gate Theatre. He was married to the actress Gertrude Lawrence and presented her in a successful revival of Pygmalion. After her death from cancer in 1952, Mr. Aldrich memorialized her life in a well-received biography titled Gertrude Lawrence as Mrs. A: An Intimate Biography of a Great Star.
Author (HEPBURN, Katharine.) MASSINGHAM, Dorothy in conjunction with Murray MACDONALD.
Date 1933
Binding Bound in full blue Spanish calf leather
Publisher New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company
Condition See description below.

Price: £175.00

Offered by William Cowan

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