[Kingsway Theatre Menu Card celebrating the 500th Performance of George Bernard Shaw’s Suffragette Comedy “Fanny’s First Play”; Signed by Shaw, Shaw’s Wife, Theatre Managers Lillah McCarthy and Harley Granville-Barker, and almost the Entire Cast].
[Kingsway Theatre Menu Card celebrating the 500th Performance of George Bernard Shaw’s Suffragette Comedy “Fanny’s First Play”; Signed by Shaw, Shaw’s Wife, Theatre Managers Lillah McCarthy and Harley Granville-Barker, and almost the Entire Cast].

[Kingsway Theatre Menu Card celebrating the 500th Performance of George Bernard Shaw’s Suffragette Comedy “Fanny’s First Play”; Signed by Shaw, Shaw’s Wife, Theatre Managers Lillah McCarthy and Harley Granville-Barker, and almost the Entire Cast].


Menu card celebrating the 500th performance of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw’s greatest first-run success, Fanny’s First Play, signed by Shaw, Shaw’s wife, theatre managers Lillah McCarthy and Harley Granville-Barker, and almost the entire cast plus a few others. “Fanny’s First Play set a suffragette comedy within an artificial frame-play… Within were debates on parents and children, women’s rights, marriage, and other issues then on the cutting edge for London audiences.” (ODNB)

The play opened in London on April 1911 at the Little Theatre in the Adelphi starring Lillah McCarthy, actress and (with her husband, Harley Granville-Barker) successful theater manager. The play was subsequently produced at The Kingsway Theatre, managed by McCarthy and Granville-Barker, in Great Queen Street, London, starring Nell Carter in the lead role of Fanny O’Dowda.

The June 28, 1912 menu card appears to have been kept by actor Lyonell Watts who played the character Bobby in Fanny’s First Play. The front of the menu is signed by Watts and beneath his autograph is the note “500th,” almost certainly referring to the play’s 500th performance.

The menu—written entirely in French—featured cantaloupe, cold consommé, trout, lamb, and, fittingly for a theatrical gathering, strawberries “Sarah Bernhardt.” The dinner was held in the Connaught Rooms (now a hotel) on the same street as the Kingsway Theatre.

In addition to being autographed by playwright George Bernard Shaw, theatre managers Lillah McCarthy and Harley Granville-Barker, and actors Nell Carter and Lyonell Watts, the menu is signed by 25 others. Actors from Fanny’s First Play who signed the menu include A.E. Filmer, Lewis Sealy, Harcourt Williams, Claude King, A.B. Tapping, Mark Hannum, Lionel Pape, Fewlass Llewellyn, Kate Bishop, Dorothy Minto, Cicely Hamilton, Arnold Lucy, Phyllis Relph, Raymond Lauzeric—almost the entire cast. The menu is also signed by “C.F. Shaw” i.e. Charlotte Frances née Payne-Townshend Shaw, the playwright’s wife.


Description: [Kingsway Theatre Menu Card celebrating the 500th Performance of George Bernard Shaw’s Suffragette Comedy “Fanny’s First Play”; Signed by Shaw, Shaw’s Wife, Theatre Managers Lillah McCarthy and Harley Granville-Barker, and almost the Entire Cast].

[London:] Connaught Rooms, Great Queen Street, 1912. [1]p. Menu Card. 6½ x 4¼ inches. Heavy card stock with gilt, beveled edges; printed in red on recto only. Pencil autographs on recto and verso. Minor soiling; Very Good.

[3729791]

Price: $350.00