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The Royal Family

A classic 1927 comedy of manners.


Meet the Cavendishes, the ultimate theatrical family in 1920s Manhattan. Matriarch Fanny is an ailing grande dame who longs to return to the stage. Her middle-aged daughter, Julie, reigns as the biggest star on Broadway. Granddaughter Gwen is being groomed to enter the family business, though her stockbroker boyfriend can’t understand why she would want to. Also in the mix are Fanny’s ne’er-do-well son, Tony, a movie star on the run from a scorned woman and various legal scrapes; Fanny’s not-so-successful actor brother Herbert and his (mediocre) actress wife, Kitty; and others who come and go at the family’s posh East Side duplex.

Should I See It?

What is The Royal Family Like?
A classic three-act comedy by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, The Royal Family zips along with verve and fast-flying zingers. A fabulous ensemble cast floats up and down the staircase of the production’s gorgeous wood-paneled set, trading (loving) barbs about theater, money and the meaning of life. Though the play was written more than 80 years ago, there’s a surprisingly modern subplot about the struggle women face combining family and career. If you’re longing to see a funny, entertaining play on Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival ofThe Royal Family is the perfect choice.

Is The Royal Family Good for Kids?
The content is fine for kids, but the length (three hours) and sophisticated wordplay in The Royal Family aren’t really appealing to children. Stagestruck teens might enjoy this exaggerated view of life inside a family of famous actors. (The play is based on the Barrymores, so who knows if Drew will show up to see her ancestors portrayed onstage!)

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