The Ivoryton Playhouse Mar 10, 2009 3:37:04 GMT -5
Post by dreamer on Mar 10, 2009 3:37:04 GMT -5
Returning to the Stage
Posted by Interactive Desk on Mar 05 2009, 11:44 AM
In the summer of 1931, a young and ambitious actress appeared at the box-office of the Ivoryton Playhouse and demanded to play the lead roles in the summer shows. She lived close by and she promised much publicity and increased audiences. The producer, Milton Stiefel, said no. But Katharine Hepburn was not about to take no for an answer. After much discussion, they struck a deal. If she was as good as she said she was, one leading role.
Hepburn was a woman of her word–she was even better than she said and ended up playing two leading roles that summer, the last one opposite theatre legend Henry Hull. Broadway producer Gilbert Miller was in the audience that summer and from Ivoryton, Hepburn went to Broadway and then to Hollywood. The rest, as they say, is history.
Reading about Hepburn’s early years in Ivoryton inspired local resident Nila Plocha to make a phone call. She owned a beautiful bronze bust of Hepburn and she knew she had found a home for it.
“When I read about Katharine’s summer in Ivoryton and the fact that she lived just down the road, I knew that she belonged here. I discovered that in later years she used to attend shows here and so the connection lasted throughout her lifetime.”
The bronze sculpture was created by Old Saybrook artist Kara Joan Knobelsdorff, who has been a fan of Hepburn’s since she was a child. She studied classical sculpture at the Lyme Academy and was the youngest sculptor ever to be awarded first place in the National Sculpture Society’s Young Sculptors Competition.
“I watched all of her movies and always admired her character and independence,” she says. “As a sculptor it was a treat to take on that wonderful bone structure, though she obviously had a preferred side as there are certain angles that are rarely shown in any of her movies.”
The bust is a limited edition, the first of five, created in 2005 and now stands in the lobby of the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street.
At 98 years old, the Ivoryton Playhouse is one of the oldest continually operating, self-supporting theatres in the U.S. For more information, call 860-767-7318 or visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.
Here are more images of the bust found on ebay some time ago