In 1939, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were undertaking two near-simultaneous national tours. This brought them to Little Rock twice in less than a month. The first, on February 20, 1939, was for Robert E. Sherwood’s Pulitzer Prize winning Idiot’s Delight.
Set in a European hotel on the eve of World War II, it concerns a group of disparate hotel guests who are trying to make sense of the future. While the play was directed by Bretaigne Windust, the play carried the billing that the production was “conceived and supervised by Mr. Lunt and Miss Fontanne.”
The cast included many members of the original Broadway company including Richard Whorf, Sydney Greenstreet, Jacqueline Paige, George Meador and Barry Thomson.
The original production had run on Broadway in 1936. Their next Broadway show was Amphitryon ’38 in 1937 and 1938. In 1939, they took these two shows on tour with their regular group of actors. (They came back to Little Rock in March with Amphitryon ’38).
The Lunt’s next visit to to Little Rock after March 1939 would be to Robinson Memorial Auditorium in There Shall Be No Night.
2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Pulitzer Prize for Drama being given. To pay tribute to 100 years of the Pulitzer for Drama, each day this month a different Little Rock production of a Pulitzer Prize winning play will be highlighted. Many of these titles have been produced numerous times. This look will veer from high school to national tours in an attempt to give a glimpse into Little Rock’s breadth and depth of theatrical history.