"Look Back in Anger" - Lyceum Theatre (1957)

Our playbill for "Look Back in Anger", presented at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway is from the original Broadway production. The leading lady in this production was Mary Ure, a young actress with an already impressive career and wife of the playwright, John Osborne. She also created her role of Alison Porter in London the year before. Also among the original West End cast was Alan Bates who created the role of Cliff Lewis. All of the cast members were English with the exception of Jack Livesey who was Welsh and Vivienne Drummond who was from Pretoria, South Africa. The Director, Tony Richardson, also directed the original London production.

"Look Back in Anger" opened at the Lyceum Theatre on October 1, 1957 and transferred to the John Golden Theatre on March 17, 1958. It ran for a total of 407 performances. The playbill in our archive is hand dated November 16, 1957 by Norman Landau, the gentlemen who saw the performance that night and kept the program. He also noted on the cover that it was considered the "Best Foreign Play - 1957-58 Season", but he thought that the performance that night was "Poor", or perhaps he thought the play itself was poor, he did not elaborate. He did, however, tape several newspaper cutouts of production photos into the inside pages of the program, the pictures being from an unknown source. These photos have been scanned and can be found at the bottom of the page.


Portrait Actor
561844_10151264165496913_1131374900_n.jpg Mary Ure as (Alison Porter): Miss Ure is making her New York debut in this part, which she created in London. Born in Glasgow, she early in her school career showed an aptitude for the theatre. During the Festival of Britain six years ago there was a nationwide search for an actress to appear as Mary in the York Mystery Plays. Mary Ure's headmistress urged her to try her luck and she was chosen for the part at the age of sixteen. E. Martin Browne, the producer, was so impressed by her talent that he advised her to study in London at the Central School of Speech Training, where she enrolled for a teaching course. There, during her first year she appeared in a different play every three weeks and at the end of the year decided that acting rather than teaching was to be her life's work. She won a scholarship upon graduation offered by the B.B.C., but did not accept it, as a West End management also offered her a year's contract, and she preferred to try her luck in the live theatre. Mary Ure made her first appearance in Time Remembered, the Jean Anouilh play and was acclaimed by the critics. It ran eighteen months in the West End. Her appearances since then have been as Ophelia in Hamlet wiht Paul Scofield, Alison in Look Back in Anger, and in Arthur Miller's The Crucible and A View from the Bridge. She recently completed work in Zoltan Korda's film, None But the Brave, and before that played in Windom's Way. Both are yet to be released here. She is the wife of John Osborne, author of Look Back in Anger.
430132_10151264165456913_1463912638_n.jpg Kenneth Haigh as (Jimmy Porter): Mr. Haigh, the son of a Yorkshire collier, wanted to be an actor for as long as he can remember. Like his co-star he is a graduate of London's Central School of Dramatic Art and is making his first appearance in his bailiwick, as Jimmy Porter. His portrayal of Mr. Osborne's protagonist has made it a symbol of Britain's "angry young men." Before playing in Look Back in Anger, he was the villain in Herbert Wilcox's My Teenage Daughter and acted on television in Garden Boy, The Confidential Clerk, Dance Dress, Family Portrait and Madeleine. His first big break was with Wilfred Pickles, popular British comedian, in The Gay Dog. Mr. Haigh's London debut was with the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park. His professional bow was in Sunderland, which stage historians recall was made famous by Sir Henry Irving early in his acting life. A rigorous Shakespearean tour of Ireland followed in repertory. Since his success as Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger he has been busy with film work. His most recent appearnace has been as Brother Martin in GBS' Saint Joan and he will soon be seen in the role of a young jet pilot in High Flight. Mr. Haigh, as well as Miss Ure and Mr. Bates, were charter members with director Richardson of the English Stage Company founded two years ago to encourage new creative writing and acting talent in the British theatre.
539394_10151264236396913_938690340_n.jpg Alan Bates as (Cliff Lewis): Mr. Bates, who created the role of Cliff at the Royal Court Theatre, also played there as Simon in The Mulberry Bush, in Cards of Identity, and as Mr. Harcourt in The Country Wife. He made his first professional appearance two years ago as the juvenile lead with the Midlands Theatre Company at Coventry in You and Your Wife. Other performances with that company included Horace in School for Wives and as one of the twins in The Comedy of Errors. Mr. Bates trained for the theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and while there was the Forbes Robertson prize. He played as Richard II and as Romeo at the Southwark Festival. While in the Royal Air Force he found time to play Orpheus in Euridyce in a service production. His sole film appearance was a one-minute impersonation of King Lear in It's Never Too Late.
644658_10151264165551913_1630880578_n.jpg Vivienne Drummond as (Helena Charles): Vivienne Drummond was born in Pretoria, South Africa, where she started her professinal career with the National Theatre Organization. It toured all over South Africa in repertory with plays by such authors as Barrie, Shaw, Priestley and men of similar literary standing. In South Africa she won renown her for performance in the title role in Peter Pan. At the Royal Court Theatre she played in The Entertainer, Look Back in Anger, The Member of the Wedding and The Apollo of Bellac. In the West End she acted with Carol Browne in Simon and Laura and with Dirk Bogarde in Summertime.
548845_10151264165411913_115493771_n.jpg Jack Livesey (Colonel Redfern): Jack Livesey last season played the Foreign Minister in The Apple Cart with Maurice Evans in New York and on tour. A Welshman, he has been in the theatre for more than forty years starting with his father, Samuel Livesey's company. Early in his career he played for two years with the Old Vic, then toured all over the Far East in musicals. In his long career he has acted in every London theatre. At the Drury Lane he played in four musicals, Rose Marie, Show Boat, Three Musketeers and The New Moon, and in a season of Edgar Wallace thrillers. He has had experience as a producer with three shows in London, and acted in numerous films in Britain. He has served as a radio producer at United Nations in New York and appeared in many television plays from here. He is a brother of Roger Livesey.

Production Staff

Portrait Name
430166_10151264165431913_265406070_n.jpg John Osborne (Author): John Osborne was born in Chelsea, and briefly worked as a trade paper journalist. At twenty-one he became as actor-manager and ran repertory seasons in Sidmouth and Ilfracombe. In addition to presenting Look Back in Anger, the English Stage Company, Ltd. employed Mr. Osborne's talents as an actor in Ronald Duncan's Don Juan and The Death of Satan and in Nigel Dennis' Cards of Identity and The Making of Moo. His travels to inspect overseas productions of Look Back in Anger have taken him to Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo, Moscow, and Berlin. This Fall it will also be presented in Zurich. Sir Laurence Olivier will come to New York later this season to recreate his performance in Mr. Osborne's The Entertainer.
576969_10151264165536913_60268585_n.jpg Tony Richardson (Director): Tony Richardson staged Look Back in Anger, and Mr. Osborne's other produced play, The Entertainer, starring Sir Laurence Olivier, which is currently at the Palace Theatre, London. At The Royal Court Theatre, where he is associate director of the English Stage Company, he also directed Nigel Dennis' Cards of Identity with Joan Greenwood, Carson McCullers' The Members of the Wedding, Giraudoux's The Apollo of Bellac, Ionesco's The Chairs and Mr. Dennis' new satirical and controversial, The Making of Moo. Educated at Oxford, where he was president of the Oxford University Dramatic Society, Mr. Richardson was a B.B.C. television director. His production of Othello achieved a higher rating than any other Shakespearean work on television. While working for B.B.C. he staged J. B. Priestley's Mr. Kettle and Mrs. Moon in the West End and directed a number of plays for various repertory companies in London and the provinces. He staged Look Back in Anger on British TV and in Moscow.
Name Position
David Merrick Producer
Alan Tagg Setting
Motley Costumes
Howard Bay Design Supervisor
Tom Eastwood Music
Jack Schlissel General Manager
David M. Pelham Asst to Mr. Merrick
Harvey Sabinson General Press Rep
Sol Jacobson Press Rep
Lewis Harmon Press Rep
Howard Stone Stage Manager
Edward Fuller Production Secretary
Harry Thompson Production Electrician
Mark Monahan Master Electrician
Fred Becker Production Carpenter
Gene Tierney Production Propertyman
Lyle Leake Wardrobe Mistress

Production Photos

282065_10151264167596913_1414921876_n.jpg CLASPING TOY SQUIRREL, Alison (Mary Ure) tells how she and Jimmy find comfort by pretending they are "little furry creatures… a silly symphony for people who couldn't bear the pain of being human beings any longer."
304358_10151264167521913_1674020644_n.jpg GLEE FOLLOWS GLOOM when Jimmy and his friend (Alan Bates) accidentally upset an ironing board and burn Jimmy's wife. But quickly the couple make up and caper as if they were toy animals in childlike joy. 417361_10151264167506913_405660177_n.jpg
486714_10151264167616913_1799946869_n.jpg 247845_10151264167706913_249891134_n.jpg 534258_10151264167666913_1026121581_n.jpg
RELIEVING THE TEDIUM of a dull Sunday, Jimmy and his friend sing corny songs and cavort like old-time vaudeville hoofers for Helena (Vivienne Drummond), who has moved into flat and settled down as Jimmy's mistress. Mary Rue and Kenenth Haigh as Alison and Jimmy Porter COMING BACK TO JIMMY who blows his trumpet outside the window. Alison forgives the friend who betrayed her. The two women talk sympathetically, Alison explains she has lost her baby and Helena decides to leave.
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