|Sunrise at Campobello|
|Written by||Dore Schary|
|Characters||Franklin Delano Roosevelt |
Sara Delano Roosevelt
|Date premiered||January 30, 1958|
|Place premiered||Cort Theatre|
New York City, United States
|Subject||FDR's battle with polio|
New Brunswick, Canada
The original Broadway production was presented at the Cort Theatre by The Theatre Guild and Dore Schary and directed by Vincent J. Donehue. It opened on January 30, 1958 and closed on May 30, 1959 running for 556 performances. It starred Ralph Bellamy as Roosevelt. Bellamy won a Tony Award for Best Actor. Others in the cast included Henry Jones as Louis McHenry Howe; Mary Fickett as Eleanor Roosevelt; Anne Seymour as Sara Delano Roosevelt and, in his Broadway debut, James Earl Jones. Bellamy repeated his role in the film version of the play, but was not Oscar-nominated for his performance, though Greer Garson was Oscar-nominated for her performance as Eleanor.
The production won three other Tonys including Best Play (producers were Lawrence Langner, Theresa Helburn, Armina Marshall and Dore Schary), Best Director of a Play (Vincent J. Donehue) and Henry Jones won for Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. Mary Fickett was nominated for Best Supporting or Featured Actress in a Play.
Campobello Island was Roosevelt's summer home in New Brunswick, Canada. Early scenes in the play's actions take place there, where we see Roosevelt afflicted with paralysis of his legs, before the play's story shifts to Roosevelt's home in New York City, where he struggles to overcome the paralysis. The play ends with the 1924 Democratic National Convention speech, which catapulted him back into politics after an absence of several years.
Ralph Bellamy stars in the 1960 film adaptation of Sunrise at Campobello, released by Warner Bros. Dore Schary, who began his career in Hollywood, wrote and produced the film which, like the stage version, was directed by Vincent J. Donehue. Greer Garson co-stars as Eleanor, with Hume Cronyn as Louis Howe. The role of Sara Delano Roosevelt, FDR's mother, is played Ann Shoemaker, who succeeded Anne Seymour in the role in the original Broadway production.
Despite it being perhaps Bellamy's most famous role, it was Garson who received the critical attention. She won the Golden Globe and National Board of Review Award for Best Actress. The film received four Academy Award nominations: Best Actress (Garson), Art Direction, Sound and Costume Design.
Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio in 1921, but his symptoms are more consistent with Guillain-Barré syndrome - an autoimmune neuropathy which his doctors failed to consider as a diagnostic possibility.
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