The Little Foxes
Opening Date: Feb. 15, 1939
Playwright: Lillian Hellman
Director/Producer: Herman Shumlin
Partial Cast: Frank Conroy, Dan Duryea, Carl Benton Reid, Patricia Collinge, Eugenia Rawls, Abbie Mitchell, John Marriott, Lee Baker, Charles Dingle, Florence Williams
Tallulah's Role: Regina Giddens
When Lillian Hellman sent Tallulah the script for The Little Foxes, it could not have come at a better time. Tallulah was in desperate need of a hit, both to bolster her career reputation and to pay bills. Regina Giddens was a character unlike any Tallulah had played before and she admitted that she experienced self-doubt toward it. Her incredible success in the role, however, can partly be attributed to her director, Herman Shumlin. In the past, Tallulah would memorize her lines right away (she had an incredible gift for memory) and did not pay much attention to rehearsals, nor delve deeply into her character. Instead, she let her own personality dictate the part. Shumlin chastised Tallulah for this and insisted that she throw herself into rehearsals and give Regina Giddens a distinct personality apart from Tallulah's own. She agreed and the role was her greatest achievement on the stage. She won the Variety award for Best Actress of the Year, an accomplishment she was most proud of. The play's run was not all that smooth, however. Tallulah clashed with both Lillian Hellman and Shumlin later on political issues (see Biography).
Tallulah's Comments: "...it ran for a year in New York, for another year on tour. It provided me with more weeks employment than all the other fifteen plays in which I had appeared in my own country combined. But it did something more. It established me as a dramatic star, an emotional actress worthy of the critical halos voted me. (Someone has said that a halo only has to slip eleven inches to become a noose.) The Little Foxes did me another service. Since I received ten percent of the weekly box office receipts, it enabled me to wipe out my debts, walk out of the stage door after a performance without fear of a bouquet from a process server."
Back to Stage Credits