Cast Members of “Mister Roberts,” performed by the Wisconsin Players at Union Theater, April 10-14, 1962
On this day, the Wisconsin Players debuted their rendition of Mister Roberts. The play was adapted from a best-selling 1946 novel by Thomas Heggen and had premiered on Broadway in February 1948. The players’ challenge was to distinguish their production from a 1955 film adaptation starring Henry Fonda (reprising his role from the Broadway original), James Cagney, Jack Lemmon, and William Powell, among others. Daily Cardinal editor Marilyn Shapiro commented in her April 11 review that actor Joseph Polansky’s resemblance to James Cagney risked overshadowing his performance in the role of Doc. Luckily, she concluded, “Polansky overcomes this handicap to produce his own characterization of the blustering leader.” Other cast members’ performances drew some criticism - Shapiro questioned whether one main player had mastered his lines before opening night - but the review was mostly positive, characterizing it as “an excellent performance” executed with “great gusto.” Unfortunately she offered no comment on why one actor appeared in what looks to be an adult diaper. We’ll have to watch the movie to find out!
Posted by Jillian Slaight for UW-Madison Archives.
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