The Rehearsal Club Documentary
The Early Years - Stage Door - The War - Golden Age - Final Curtain


Lucy A. Bruell
Director

Centennial "teaser" to the fuller story . . .

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 LOGLINE:  In 1913, amidst the rough and tumble of street gangs, and the syncopated swing of Ragtime, a little residence for actresses quietly opened in the West 40s. Its shingle read: The Rehearsal Club. The Times noted it offered tea and companionship. Nothing foretold fame would descend with the film Stage Door; that the girls would conquer Broadway, film, radio and television; its stars, abundant. In national crisis, a few made history, including the iconic nurse from WWI, and a teen singer evading the Japanese in Burma. The Rehearsal Club was stuff of legends. It remains the stuff of dreams.

Narrated by
Blythe Danner

Exclusive Footage:
​Carol Burnett

As the 2007 founding members of The Rehearsal Club move toward incorporation to a 501(c)(3), we are now focused on finding the funding that will allow us to complete the documentary started during our Centennial. 

If you are a Foundation that might support our mission, let us know!  We need you!

To date, we've submitted for the Made In NY grant and are working to navigate the complicated world of research and grantwriting as we continue to outreach for funding.  Currently under the fiscal umbrella of New York Women in Film and Television, we are growing this fund.

SYNOPSIS:  Stage Door first brought it fame. The women of The Rehearsal Club created the legend: Singers, dancers and actresses -- on America's stages, on film, on television and behind the scenes in casting, producing and advocating for our professional unions. In and out of its doors located at 45-47 West 53rd Street, came Kim Cattrall, Sandy Duncan, Marjorie Lord, Audrey and Jayne Meadows, Lisa Kirk, Phyllis Thaxter, Martha Scott, Carol Burnett, Betty Lynn, Donna Douglas, Blythe Danner, Cynthia Gregory, Gail Robinson, Diane Keaton and union activist and President, Roberta Reardon.  

With the subsidized support from The Rockefellers, plus the simple humanity of women helping other women succeed, the RC changed the trajectory of many young lives like all of the above, lucky enough to find this safe haven.  Since its demise in 1979, the remaining former residents are determined to capture the story and preserve its legacy before it’s too late.

The Documentary Feature will chart The Rehearsal Club from its beginning: the era of Ragtime, Tin Pan Alley and Flo Ziegfeld's Follies, when the club first opened its doors in the Broadway theater district. Its mission was simple: shelter young actresses. But in the seven decades that followed, the little brownstone Club succeeded far beyond the imaginings of its founders. 

Beyond preserving an important piece of theater history, our hope is that the documentary will inspire the creation of a new Rehearsal Club. In giving some of today's most promising young talent their start, what 21st Century icons might it nurture? We can only imagine. In the meantime, this documentary will forever capture the history of New York since 1913, New York Theater through the Golden Age and the contributions of the many women who managed to get their start in show business by finding the unique safe haven known as The Rehearsal Club.