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Look Back at 65 Years of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway

2 min read
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Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama opened at the Morosco Theatre March 24, 1955.

The original Broadway production of Tennessee William’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opened at the Morosco Theatre March 24, 1955. The production, staged by Elia Kazan, played 694 performances before closing on November 17, 1956, and garnered four Tony Award nominations, including Best Play, as well as the Pulitzer Prize.

Williams’ drama tells the story of a wealthy Southern patriarch facing impending death and manipulating his family, as his children squabble and mislead in desperate attempts to secure the family inheritance.

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof starred Barbara Bel Geddes as Maggie, Burl Ives as Big Daddy, Mildred Dunnock as Big Mama, Ben Gazzara as Brick, R.G. Armstrong as Dr. Baugh, Janice Dunn as Trixie, Seth Edwards as Sonny, Maxwell Glanville as Lacey, Pauline Hahn as Dixie, Pat Hingle as Gooper, Brownie McGhee as Brightie, Darryl Richard as Buster, Madeleine Sherwood as Mae, Fred Stewart as Rev. Tooker, Sonny Terry as Small, Eva Vaughn Smith as Daisy, Musa Williams as Sookey.

Look Back at 65 Years of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway

Look Back at 65 Years of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway

33 PHOTOS

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Playbill - April 1955


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1955


Ben Gazzara and Burl Ives in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>, 1955″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://magazine.rehearseapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/echo/nypl.digitalcollections.b7c55f92-1192-7ea4-e040-e00a18063dd3.001.w.jpg” data-url=”3″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”></img><figcaption>
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                Ben Gazzara and Burl Ives in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>, 1955</p>
<p>                    <span>Friedman-Abeles/©NYPL for the Performing Arts</span></p>
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Barbara Bel Geddes in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1955

Friedman-Abeles/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


Burl Ives and Ben Gazzara in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>, 1955″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://magazine.rehearseapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/echo/nypl.digitalcollections.b7c55f92-1193-7ea4-e040-e00a18063dd3.001.w.jpg” data-url=”5″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”></img><figcaption>
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                Burl Ives and Ben Gazzara in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>, 1955</p>
<p>                    <span>Friedman-Abeles/©NYPL for the Performing Arts</span></p>
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<p>    <img alt=Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1955″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://magazine.rehearseapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/echo/nypl.digitalcollections.b7c55f92-1191-7ea4-e040-e00a18063dd3.001.w.jpg” data-url=”6″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”>


Ben Gazzara in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1955

Friedman-Abeles/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1974


Keir Dullea and Fred Gwynne in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>, 1974″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://magazine.rehearseapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/echo/nypl.digitalcollections.18372430-d495-0131-2497-58d385a7b928.001.w.jpg” data-url=”8″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”></img><figcaption>
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                Keir Dullea and Fred Gwynne in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>, 1974</p>
<p>                    <span>Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts</span></p>
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<p>    <img alt=Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1974″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://magazine.rehearseapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/echo/nypl.digitalcollections.162f01f0-d495-0131-231c-58d385a7b928.001.w.jpg” data-url=”9″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”>


Fred Gwynne in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1974

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


Elizabeth Ashley and Fred Gwynne in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>, 1974″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://magazine.rehearseapp.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/echo/nypl.digitalcollections.1cce75f0-d495-0131-1e74-58d385a7b928.001.w.jpg” data-url=”10″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”></img><figcaption>
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                Elizabeth Ashley and Fred Gwynne in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>, 1974</p>
<p>                    <span>Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts</span></p>
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Cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1974

Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


The drama would be revived five times over the years (making it one of the most-revived plays in Broadway history). The first revival came in 1974 at the Anta Theatre, starring Elizabeth Ashley, Keir Dullea, and Fred Gwynne. The play would return 26 years later in a Howard Davies-helmed production starring Kathleen Turner, Charles Durning, and Daniel Hugh Kelly. In 2003, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof played the Music Box Theatre starring Ashley Judd, Jason Patric, Ned Beatty, and Margo Martindale. Shortly thereafter, the drama returned to Broadway, directed by Debbie Allen, starring Terrence Howard, James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, and Anika Noni Rose. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof last played the Great White Way in 2013, starring Scarlett Johansson, Ciarán Hinds, Benjamin Walker, and Debra Monk.

READ: Do You Know the 13 Most-Revived Plays on Broadway From the Last 70 Years?

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