Monday, September 12, 2011

Katharine Hepburn's Broadway Debut - 1928

Night Hostess, a play in 3 acts, starring Gail De Hart, John L. Kearney, and Averell Harris, centered on the lounge of the "Little Casino," an exclusive gambling establishment in New York City.

The play opened at the Martin Beck Theater in NYC on Nov. 12 1928


Martin Beck Theater's Stage ( Now the Al Hirshfeld Theatre)


Just graduated from college and actually having appeared in a small Broadway role (which she was fired from the first week) in The Big Pond, Night Hostess is credited as Hepburn's Broadway debut, although she was billed as Katherine Burns. Even though it was a bit part - she played the character of "the other hostess" - this play is said to have been her motivation to seriously pursue acting.


There's actually a conspiracy theory that Katherine Burns wasn't Katharine Hepburn at all, and that she had double booked jobs in search of the best role.  She is credited with Night Hostess, Sept - Dec 1928, and also These Days, Oct - Nov 1928.  The big mystery to hardcore fans is,  how could she do both in different cities at the same time? Hepburn herself initially claimed they were 2 different people, yet later says she used the name to be on 2 contracts at once.  The world may never know.



She would be discovered on Broadway by RKO four years later in The Warriors Husband.

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