The Millionairess (play)

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The Millionairess
Written by George Bernard Shaw
Original language English
Genre Comedy

The Millionairess is a play written in 1936 by George Bernard Shaw. It tells the story of Epifania, a spoiled heiress, and her search for a suitor.

Shaw wrote the play in 1936 expressly for Dame Edith Evans. Evans rejected the role, calling it "too icy".

In Performance[edit]

The Millionairess opened at the Malvern Festival with Sybil Thorndike as Epifania. The reception was lukewarm, and the play did not go to London.[1]

The first known Broadway production was performed at the President Theatre and ran for only 13 performances from April 6 to April 17, 1949.[2]

In the summer of 1952, Katharine Hepburn starred in The Millionairess for a ten-week run at the New Theatre in London's West End. The production, directed by Michael Benthall and co-starring Robert Helpmann and Cyril Ritchard, was widely praised.[3] In October 1952, it was brought to New York where it played at the Shubert Theatre for ten weeks and 83 performances.[4]

A well-received production was performed by the American Shaw Festival at Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania July - August 1986 with Jane Roth-Casson as Epifania and Sullivan Brown as The Doctor.

The Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario has performed the play a number of times: in 1965, 1977, 1991 and 2001. Most recently, the play was presented by the Court House Theatre in 2012 and was directed by Blair Williams, with set design by Cameron Porteous, lighting design by Louise Guinard and sound design by Dmitri Marine.[5]

Film and Television[edit]

A film version of The Millionairess was made in 1960, directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers, with substantial alterations made to the text.

The BBC Sunday Night Theatre broadcast a production on 6 September 1959 starring Dawn Addams as Epifania and Donald Pleasance as The Doctor.

The play was taped for the BBC's Play of the Month (1972) series and broadcast on 25 September 1972, starring Maggie Smith as Epifania, Tom Baker as The Doctor and Charles Gray as Adrian Blenderbland.


  1. ^ Kanin, Garson (1971). Tracy and Hepburn: An Intimate Memoir. New York: Viking. pp. 161–162. ISBN 0-670-72293-6. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Dickens, Homer (1990 edition). The Films of Katharine Hepburn. Carol Publishing Group. p. 22. ISBN 0-8065-1175-3. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Shaw Festival press release

External links[edit]