'The Royal Family'
By Carol LaPlante

Many Thanks to Carol for sharing her report!

I saw 'The Royal Family' in Los Angeles Tuesday April 6th thru Friday April 9th (which included opening night). 

The Ahmanson Theatre is a fairly large venue (seating at least 1,600 people) on three levels. I sat in orchestra center for three of the four nights (usually in an aisle seat). I was in front row center in the balcony on opening night. Andrew Robinson (who played both Frank Ryan on 'Ryan's Hope' and Garak on 'Deep Space Nine') sat in the same row about 10 seats away.

As mentioned in most of the reviews, the staging is wonderful! It does convey the effect of being in the "Cavendish apartment in New York City". The actors use the entire stage,  from Kate standing by herself stage right (acting without speaking), folks opening and closing beautiful wood panel library doors, climbing up and down a spiral staircase, sword fighting on the balcony as well as on the staircase. 

There are several key "conversation" areas:

Stage right: a high-back chair which Fanny Cavendish (Marion Seldes) uses most of the time, which is also where we first see Fanny's little white dog.

Center Stage: a couch with sturdy wide arms (easy for actors to sit), several pillows and with a small coffee table in front.

Stage left: lounging chair with hassock and very small table to the center side; several feet to the right of this chair are the sliding doors to the library, through these doors a second piano can be seen.

Mid Stage: the great staircase to the second floor (with wonderful banisters that just tempt you to slide on down); just left (and back a bit) is a grand piano. Most of this area is also raised about six inches (the actors have to step up/down from the entryway door or to sit at the piano).

Stage Balcony: there two doors (one on the left leading to Fanny's bedroom, and one about 10 feet to the right leading to Gwen's bedroom), an open alcove which leads to Julie's (Kate) bedroom, and a hallway to the right of Gwen's room which leads to Tony's bedroom.

There are four doors to watch for actors to enter/exit: the door to the apartment (with a small front hall and coat rack); a disguised doorway to unseen interior of the apartment (door is painted to match wall); a swinging door which leads to the kitchen; the sliding wooden doors (usually left open) which lead to the library (with the piano and unseen fireplace).

There's so much to see in one viewing. The first night I was torn between watching Kate (even when she wasn't speaking) and trying to catch the action in other areas of the stage.

Be sure to check out the simulated "advertisements" projected onto the curtain of the Ahmanson Theatre. There are "ads" or "Playbills" for the entire Cavendish clan. There's an interesting "ad" of Kate as Julie Cavendish selling Palmolive soap.

If you do have the chance to see the play, I hope that you can also see it on more than one occasion.

Production Photos - Page 1
Production Photos Page 2
Cast & Peformance Information
Articles & Reviews
Opening Night Photos