February 1956: A Waverly Twp. resident had her moment in the spotlight when the Broadway play she penned turned into a hit.
Carolyn Green’s work, “Janus,” opened on Nov. 24, 1955, and made a full return on its initial investment of $60,000 and a net profit of $70,000. The show was grossing $32,700 a week at the Plymouth Theater (now the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre) on West 45th Street in New York City.
The comedy, named after the Roman god with two faces, deals with a housewife, Jessica, who meets up with her lover, Denny, for a few months each year in Greenwich Village, where they write a novel. On a recent writing trip, her tycoon husband, Gil, turns up unannounced, and an IRS agent also stops by. The agent reveals that Denny has not been paying the proper amount of taxes on the profits from the couple’s successful historical novels, and Gil may be on the hook for back taxes.
The play starred Margaret Sullavan as Jessica, Claude Dauphin as Denny, Robert Preston as Gil, Robert Emhardt as taxman Mr. Harper and Mary Finney as Miss Addy. During the show’s run, Imogene Coca and Claudette Colbert took over the role of Jessica.
“She has never got the quips off a middle-grade level and in this sort of skylarking, chuckles aren’t enough,” Walter Kerr of the New York Herald-Tribune said of Green in his review of the show.
Jean Collins Kerr, Walter Kerr’s wife and a native of Scranton, rebutted her husband’s comments by saying that Green’s play was “good entertainment. It should be a natural for the movies and TV.”
The play closed June 30, 1956, after 251 performances.
In April 1965, Green’s second play, “A Sign of Affection,” had an out-of-town premiere at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. The show starred Lesley Ann Warren, John Payne and Lois Markle and was directed by Ron Winston. Following that opening, an article in the Asbury Park Press explained that the show’s next two engagements at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, and the Mineola Playhouse in Long Island were postponed for rewrites.
Green died in 1996.
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