Rehearsal Club (New York City)

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The Rehearsal Club
Formation 1913
Type Young Women's Residence
Headquarters 218-220 West 46th Street
New York, NY
Location
Official language
English
Founder
Jean "Daisy" Greer
Website http://www.rehearsalclubnyc.com

The Rehearsal Club was a theatrical girls' boarding house was founded in 1913 by Jean "Daisy" Greer, daughter of New York's Episcopal bishop, and Episcopal Deaconess Jane Harriss Hall. The residence provided young women pursuing a life in the theater a place to rest between auditions, along with opportunities to socialize and receive simple meals.[1] Within a year, the Professional Children’s School was established in back parlors of The Rehearsal Club.[2]

History[edit]

In 1920, the Club relocated from its first home on West 46th Street to a large house on West 45th to accommodate increasing residency. In 1923, the Club moved to 47 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, where it remained for over 50 years. The brownstone and its neighbor number 45, acquired for the Club in 1925, were owned by Rockefeller family members.

In 1936, The Rehearsal Club served as the inspiration behind Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman's play, Stage Door which opened on October 20, 1936 at the Music Box Theater.[3] In 1937, the RKO film version of Stage Door was released, featuring Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers.[4]

One of the most noted Rehearsal Club residents was Carol Burnett. In 1955, she initiated and was featured in a showcase of her fellow Club friends called 'The Rehearsal Club Revue,'[5] which served as an initial career boost for several of the girls. Ms. Burnett sponsored scholarships for Club residents in the 1960s, and fondly recalls her Club life in her memoirs This Time Together [6] and One More Time: A Memoir.[7]

Although men were not allowed upstairs, many did hang out in the Rehearsal Club’s first-floor parlor.[8] James Dean, before he became a Hollywood legend, often visited the Rehearsal Club and for a time dated resident Liz Sheridan, also known as "Dizzy," then a 23-year-old fledgling dancer on the Milton Berle Show.[9][10]

In 1979, Rockefeller Brothers Fund sold the buildings at 45–47 West 53rd Street to American Folk Art Museum[11] and the Rehearsal Club closed for good.[12]

Today[edit]

In 2007, Rehearsal Club alumnae gathered and formed an organization with a mission statement to "preserve the name of The Rehearsal Club, protect its legacy and inspire other younger generations".[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NY Times, July, 1913, https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1913/07/06/100633752.pdf
  2. ^ Professional Children’s School, From the Archives, 2012, by John Tucker
  3. ^ Elita Wilson, October 21, 1936
  4. ^ Published The New York Times, October 8, 1937 by Frank S. Nugent.
  5. ^ The Paley Center for Media | She Made It | Carol Burnett
  6. ^ This Time Together by Carol Burnett, published Harmony Books (April 6, 2010)
  7. ^ One More Time: A Memoir by Carol Burnett, Publisher: Random House, c1986
  8. ^ Published The New York Times, July 6, 1913, retrieved August, 2012
  9. ^ "People Magazine": An Affair to Remember, by Michael A. Lipton, June 24, 1996 Vol. 45 No. 25. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20141628,00.html
  10. ^ Published as the “saddest site today,” James Dean Walking Tours, In Search of a Legend in New York, December 7, 2001,
  11. ^ American Folk Art Museum
  12. ^ Life Magazine, April, 1979
  13. ^ http://www.rehearsalclubnyc.com