Stage Door by Edna Ferber

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Gypsy Audio, 2010
Set in Broadway during the 1920s, Stage Door tells a familiar tale of a group of aspiring actresses living in the Footlights Club, a boarding-house-cum-rehearsal space presided over by Mrs. Orcutt (Kim Gianopolous). Most of them cannot find work; they spend most of their time 'resting,' or knocking on the doors of big-name theatrical producers such as Anthony Powell (David Maciver), to be told that he is not casting this week. When Powell is generous enough to give them a chance, he expects them to show their gratitude by spending the night with him.
Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard's revival emphasized the importance of female solidarity. Although there were frequent rifts between individual actresses, such as Jean Maitland (Jensen-Woodard) and Terry Randall (Marleigh Norton), all of them understood how important it was to stay together. Otherwise they might end up like Kaye Hamilton (Laura Frechette), who starved herself and ended up committing suicide. Such tragedies were commonplace in a theatrical world of patriarchal indifference presided over by Powell, who pretended to love his starlets and cast them aside when he had no further use for them.
However Powell did not have everything his own way. Terry appeared slightly stronger than most of her friends; her deep voice projected a sense of authority. Although casting her in the lead role in his latest production (due in no small part to her father's agreeing to finance it), he conspicuously failed to seduce her. As portrayed by Maciver, he came across as a weakling whose self-importance was so fragile that he could not treat women on equal terms.
In the end Terry triumphed on her first night, but that did not really matter to her. Stardom might be great for her career, but what mattered more was that she could return to the Footlights Club and enjoy the company of her fellow female performers. In professional terms, Mrs. Orcutt's house was like a womb, helping to nurture aspiring performers:  one of them felt sorry to be "leaving the place where (she) was born."
Based on the Lux Radio Theater script, and introduced by the host-narrator (Murry Retread), Stage Door was an entertaining period-piece, recalling an era vividly evoked in films such as Gold Diggers of 1933, when young women flocked to New York in the hope of becoming a star. At the same time Jensen-Woodard's production made some sharp observations about the importance of group identity as a way of overcoming adversity. Highly entertaining.