The Shanghai Gesture

Melodrama / Erlanger's Biltmore Theatre; Los Angeles, CA / June 20, 1927

Original Broadway productions:
Martin Beck Theatre, (2/1/1926 - circa. 7/1926)
Chanin's 46th Street Theatre, (9/1926 - circa. 9/1926)
Opening: Feb 1, 1926
Closing: Sep 1926 Total Performances: 206

Description: A play in four acts
Setting: The Far-Famed House of Mother Goddam, 17 San Kaiou Road, Shanghai, China

At the “Far-Famed House of Mother Goddam,” a Shanghai brothel, the proprietress entertains the head of the British-China
Trading Company, Sir Guy Charteris (McKay Morris). Mother Goddam (Florence Reed) reminds Sir Guy of several things he has
forgotten: that they were once lovers, that he had promised to marry her, and that he had sold her to some cruel Chinese junkmen
when he fell in love with an English girl. As Sir Guy and his friends look on, Mother Goddam now sells a young girl
to similar junkmen, then reveals that the girl was a daughter she had had by Guy. When the daughter, Poppy (Mary Duncan),
returns to the brothel as a dope addict and a prostitute, Mother Goddam strangles her. Originally written as a vehicle for
Mrs. Fiske, who was dismissed by director Guthrie McClintic during the tryout, the play was lambasted by many critics.
George Jean Nathan called it “a pâté of box-office drivel.” But its lurid story and Reed's memorable performance made
it a major hit.


Opening Night Production Credits:

Produced by A. H. Woods
Written by John Colton
Staged by Guthrie McClintic


Broadway Opening Night Cast:

Joan Bourdelle: Ni Pau (Lost Petal)
Langdon Bruce: Ex-Envoy Mandarin Koo Lot Foo
Conrad Cantzen: Lin Chi
C. Haviland Chappell: Don Querebro d'Achuna
Mary Duncan: Poppy
Louie Emery: Ching Chang Mary C. Henry Gordon: Prince Oshima
Cyril Keightley: Caesar Hawkins
Eva Leonard-Boyne: Lady Blessington
McKay Morris: Sir Guy Charteris
Margarita Orlova: Donna Querebro d'Achuna
Florence Reed: Mother Goddam
Vera Tompkins: Mrs. Dudley Gregory
Henry Von Rhau: Dudley Gregory
Henry Warwick: Sir John Blessington (Port Judge)
Evelyn Wight: Mme. Le Comptesse de Michot
William Worthington: M. Le Compte de Michot

The Shanghai Gesture as a 1941 American United Artists film noir
starring Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, and Victor Mature.

(actual program measures 5 3/4" x 8 1/2" )

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