University Players
The University Players was primarily a summer stock
Summer Stock
For the article about the theatre genre, see Summer stock theatre.Summer Stock is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical made in 1950. The film was directed by Charles Walters and stars Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken, Gloria DeHaven, Marjorie Main, and Phil Silvers...

 theater company located in West Falmouth, Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Cape Cod, often referred to locally as simply the Cape, is a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States...

, Massachusetts, from 1928 to 1932. It was formed in 1928 by eighteen college undergraduates. Notable among them were Eleanor Phelps
Eleanor Phelps
Eleanor Phelps was an American theater, film and television actress from Roland Park, Baltimore, Maryland. She appeared in 17 Broadway theater productions....

 of Vassar, two undergraduates at Princeton, Bretaigne Windust
Bretaigne Windust
Bretaigne Windust was a French-born theatre, film, and television director.-Early life:He was born Ernest Bretaigne Windust in Paris, France, the son of English violin virtuoso Ernest Joseph Windust and singer Elizabeth Amory Day from New York City...

 and Erik Barnouw
Erik Barnouw
Erik Barnouw was a U.S. historian of radio and television broadcasting.According to the Scribner Encyclopia of American Lives, Erik Barnouw was born in Den Haag in the Netherlands, the son of Adriaan , and Ann Eliza Barnouw...

, and several undergraduates at Harvard, Charles Crane Leatherbee (grandson of American diplomat and philanthropist Charles Richard Crane
Charles Richard Crane
Charles Richard Crane was a wealthy American businessman, heir to a large industrial fortune and connoisseur of Arab culture, a noted Arabist. His widespread business interests gave him entree into domestic and international political affairs where he enjoyed privileged access to many...

), Kent Smith
Kent Smith
Kent Smith was an American actor who had a lengthy career in film, theater, and television.Born Frank Kent Smith in New York, New York, Smith made his acting debut on Broadway in 1932 in and, after spending a few years there, moved to Hollywood, California, where he made his film debut in The...

, Kingsley Perry, Bartlett Quigley (father of American actress Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander is an American actress, author, and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts. Although perhaps best known for playing the female lead in The Great White Hope on both stage and screen, Alexander has played a wide array of roles in both theater and film and has committed...

), and John Swope (son of GE President Gerard Swope
Gerard Swope
Gerard Swope was a U.S. electronics businessman. He served as the president of General Electric Company between 1922 and 1939, and again from 1942 until 1944...

 and later Hollywood and Life Magazine photographer and husband of actress Dorothy McGuire
Dorothy McGuire
Dorothy Hackett McGuire was an American actress.-Career:Born in Omaha, Nebraska, she began her acting career on the stage at the Omaha Community Playhouse...

). Several others of its members who had their first professional experiences with the University Players went on to achieve fame in the theater and film industry, including Joshua Logan
Joshua Logan
Joshua Lockwood Logan III was an American stage and film director and writer.-Early years:Logan was born in Texarkana, Texas, the son of Susan and Joshua Lockwood Logan. When he was three years old his father committed suicide...

, James Stewart
James Stewart (actor)
James Maitland Stewart was an American film and stage actor, known for his distinctive voice and his everyman persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and receiving one Lifetime...

, Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins...

, Margaret Sullavan
Margaret Sullavan
Margaret Brooke Sullavan was an American stage and film actress. Sullavan started her career on the stage in 1929. In 1933 she caught the attention of movie director John M. Stahl and had her debut on the screen that same year in Only Yesterday...

, Mildred Natwick
Mildred Natwick
Mildred Natwick was an American stage and film actress.- Early life :A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born to Joseph and Mildred Marion Dawes Natwick. She graduated from the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore...

, Aleta Freel
Aleta Freel
Aleta Freel was an American stage actress.- Life and career :Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the daughter of a physician, Freel was educated at the Bergen School for Girls in Jersey City. She graduated from Smith College....

, Barbara O'Neil
Barbara O'Neil
-Early life and career:Barbara O'Neil was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She began her acting career in summer stock. In July 1931 Bretaigne Windust, Charles Leatherbee , and Joshua Logan, the three directors of the University Players, a three-year old summer stock company at West Falmouth on Cape...

, Myron McCormick
Myron McCormick
Myron McCormick was an American actor of stage, radio and film.McCormick was born as Walter Myron McCormick in Albany, Indiana....

, Charles Arnt
Charles Arnt
Charles Arnt was an American film actor. He appeared in 120 films between 1933 and 1962.He was born in Michigan City, Indiana, and died in Orcas Island, Washington from pancreatic and liver cancer.-Selected filmography:...

, Karl Swenson
Karl Swenson
Karl Swenson was an American theatre, radio, film, and television actor.-Biography:Born in Brooklyn, New York of Swedish parentage, Swenson made several appearances with Pierre-Luc Michaud on Broadway in the 1930s and 40s, including the title role in Arthur Miller's first production, The Man Who...

, Kent Smith
Kent Smith
Kent Smith was an American actor who had a lengthy career in film, theater, and television.Born Frank Kent Smith in New York, New York, Smith made his acting debut on Broadway in 1932 in and, after spending a few years there, moved to Hollywood, California, where he made his film debut in The...

, Norris Houghton, Frieda Altman, Elsie Schauffler, and Philip Faversham.

Romances born of the University Players led to four marriages: Barbara O'Neil to Joshua Logan for a few years in the 1930s; Logan's little sister Mary Lee Logan to Charles Leatherbee; and that of a few "happy" months in 1932 between actress Margaret Sullavan and actor Henry Fonda; and future author Peggy Friedlander to future English professor Roy Lamson.


  • New York Times, 25 May 1928 "Collegians to Give Plays This Summer : Men and Women of Four Institutions Plan a Season at Falmouth"

Further reading

  • Houghton, Norris. But Not Forgotten: The Adventure of the University Players. William Sloan Publishers, New York: 1951.
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