JFK ATTENDED NATIONAL THEATRE'S "SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL" 50 YEARS AGO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty years ago this evening, April 1, 1963, President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy attended a performance of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's "The School for Scandal"* at the National Theatre here in the Nation's Capital.
The National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
*The School for Scandal was 1st performed at the Drury Lane Theatre In London in 1777. English critic William Hazlitt wrote that the play..."is...perhaps the most finished & faultless comedy...we have." Edmund Goose said it was "perhaps the best existing comedy of intrigue."
The President & First Lady were accompanied by Mr. & Mrs. Goddard Leiberson** & Mr. & Mrs. Max Freedman.***
The National Theatre opened in 1835 & is located just 3 blocks from the White House at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. It's 1st production was "Man of the World," & on April 14, 1865, having been renamed Grover's, Abraham Lincoln's son, Tad, was attending "Aladdin" when he learned that his father had been shot.
Every U.S. president has attended performances at the National Theatre which is appropriately called "The Theatre of Presidents."
The auditorium & front of the theatre have been rebuilt 4 or 5 times over the years. It was remodeled in anticipation of the Kennedy presidency with a large white plaster eagle with an array of white stars was placed over the proscenium arch.
The National Theatre seats 1676 & despite its name is not funded by the federal government but privately operated by a non-profit organization.
**Goddard Lieberson (1911-1977) was president of Columbia Records from 1956-1971 & 1973-1975. He was President of the Recording Industry Association of America in 1964. Before becoming president at Columbia, Lieberson introduced the LP or long play 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record.
***Max Freedman (1914-1980) was Washington correspondent for the Winnipeg (Canada) Free Press & wrote a syndicated column for the Chicago Daily News which appeared in 100 papers. It was said that his advice was often sought by JFK's staff.
You Tube Video****
****This film, produced by the AFL-CIO, was made at the National Theatre.