VINTAGE PLAYBILL: Machinal, 1928

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14 Jan 2014

The title page from the original 1928 production of <i>Machinal</i>
The title page from the original 1928 production of Machinal

The Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Sophie Treadwell's Machinal opens Jan. 16 at the American Airlines Theatre. To celebrate the opening, the Playbill Vault looks back at the original 1928 production.

Inspired by the real-life case of Ruth Snyder, a convicted murderer who was sentenced to death, Machinal premiered on Broadway Sept. 7, 1928, at the Plymouth Theatre (now the Gerald Schoenfeld). Arthur Hopkins staged the production, which featured Zita Johann in the central role of Young Woman and a young Clark Gable in his Broadway debut.

The production was noted for its distinct style and expressionistic approach to drama. Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times wrote: "Subdued, monotonous, episodic, occasionally eccentric in its style, Machinal is fraught with a beauty unfamiliar to the stage." The play ran for 91 performances before closing on Nov. 24, 1928.

Machinal has not been seen on Broadway since its premiere 86 years ago. Rebecca Hall makes her Broadway debut in the revival as Young Woman. The cast also features Suzanne Bertish as Mother, Michael Cumpsty as Husband and Morgan Spector as Lover.



See a vintage Playbill from the original 1928 production in the Vault.