The Historical Birthday-Tea Party March 31st

The final birthday post for March, and again no specific birthday so here is a late one:

Margaret Webster March 15, 1905 – November 13, 1972

American born actor who became well known on stage in the UK before returning to the US as a highly successful Broadway stage director, noted for record breaking long runs, and for employing black actors at a time when this was still unusual. She met and started a relationship with Eva Le Gallienne, who starred in several of her productions.

In 1946, Margaret and Eva co-founded the American Repertory Theater with producer Cheryl Crawford. The relationship with Eva ended in 1948, and in 1950 Margaret became the first  woman to direct at the New York Metropolitan Opera. She worked in theatre and opera untl her death from cancer in 1972.

The Historical Birthday-Tea Party March 22nd

And another date with no birthday, so let’s skip back a couple of months and one that got away:

Eva La Gallienne 11 January 1899-3 June 1991

Eva was an actor and producer, born in England and who became part of the milieu of lesbian actors in Hollywood, performing herself on stage as Emily Dickinson, Peter Pan Elizabeth I and Hamlet with great success. in 1980 she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in the film Resurrection, at the time she was the oldest Oscar nominee.

Eva had affairs with many of the members of the ‘sewing circles’:  Alla Nazimova,  Tallulah Bankhead, Beatrice Lillie,  Laurette Taylor and Mercedes de Acosta.

In 1927 Eva was named as co-respondent in the divorce of her then lover Josephine Hutchinson.

People hate what they don’t understand and try to destroy it. Only try to keep yourself clear and don’t allow that destructive force to spoil something that to you is simple, natural, and beautiful.

In the late 1930s Eva started a relationship with theatre director Margaret Webster. and they later founded the American Repertory Theater together. She also later had a relationship with Marion Evensen.

So Eva, get your glad rags on, you’re invited to the party…

The Historical Birthday-Tea Party March 2nd

So it turns out I was mistaken about not having a birthday party booked for the 1st – my spreadsheet lied to me. So pretend Emilia was today, and

Mercedes de Acosta March 1, 1893 – May 9, 1968

was yesterday – I’ll switch them round later when you aren’t looking.

Mercedes  was a not particularly successful playwright and poet. She would likely be completely forgotten were it not for her love life, and her flamboyant and extravagant behavior.

Described by Cecil Beaton as the most rebellious & brazen of Lesbians, Mercedes boasted she could get a woman from any man.

Her lovers included Greta Garbo, Isadora Duncan, Eva Le Gallienne, Alla Nazimova and Marlene Dietrich. She seems  in each case to have fallen hook-line-and-sinker for the woman in question, and to sometimes have made something of a nuisance of herself.

She wrote an autobiography Here Lies the Heart, in which she wrote about all of her women friends, and although she was not explicit in her description of her relationships, neither Eva nor Greta ever forgave her for ‘outing’ them.