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Haila Stoddard made her Broadway acting debut in Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's Merrily We Roll Along (1934). The following year, she set out on a two-year cross country tour of Jack Kirkland's successful play Tobacco Road. Stoddard and Jack Kirkland would later marry and settled in Springtown, Bucks County. Both were original supporters of the creation of the Bucks County Playhouse. Stoddard performed in the Bucks County Playhouse's premiere season opener Springtime for Henry in 1939 and continued to appear in at least 16 productions including Middle of the Night in 1958. Her many Broadway credits include The Rivals (1942), Blithe Spirit (1943) and The Frogs of Spring (1953). She was heard on the radio show Big Sister (1937-1939) and was seen for many years on the television daytime serial The Secret Storm (CBS, 1953-1966). She produced plays in New York and London. She wrote three plays, one of which, A Round With Ring (1969), she also directed. In her varied theatrical career, she made it to Broadway as an actress, producer, playwright, and director.
Haila Stoddard and Edward Everett Horton in Springtime for Henry, 1939. Photo by Maynard Clark. James A. Michener Art Museum. Gift of Philip A. and Dianna T. Betsch.
Education and Training
B.S. at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, 1934
Teacher and Influences
Jack Kirkland, husband and playwright
Connection to Bucks County
Stoddard married playwright Jack Kirkland in Springtown, Pennsylvania in 1938. They lived, expanded and renovated what became known as Kirkland Farm in Springtown. Eventually, they added a new wing with nine rooms to accommodate their many notable guests, including Yul Brynner. When they treated the cast from Kirkland's long running hit Tobacco Road to a meal in the country, the newspaper notice's byline read "Kirkland's Farm Estate is No Tobacco Road." Stoddard and Kirkland were among the original supporters and share holders of the Bucks County Playhouse. They were present at the ground-breaking ceremonies and at the 1939 grand opening of the Playhouse, where Haila Stoddard appeared with Edgar Everett Horton and Julie Haydon in the highly successful performance of Springtime for Henry. In over twenty years, she performed in sixteen Playhouse productions.
Jack Kirkland and Haila Stoddard at the Opening of the Bucks County Playhouse, 1941. Sunday Call-Chronicle. Courtesy of the Spruance Collection of the Bucks County Historical Society.
Come Play With Me, 1959
The Beast in Me, 1963
A Round With Ring, Directed by Stoddard also directed, 1969
A Thurber Carnival, ANTA, New York, 1960 and London, 1962
Sail Away, New York, 1961 and London, 1963
The Affair, 1962
The Hollow Crown, 1963
Private Lives, 1968
Major Theater Performances
Tobacco Road, cross country tour, 1935-1936
Yes, My Darling Daughter, New York, 1937
Suzanna And The Elders, New York, 1940
The Rivals, Shubert, New York, 1942
Blithe Spirit, Morosco, New York, 1943
Dream Girl, Coronet, New York 1945
The Voice of the Turtle, 1947-1948
Good-bye, My Fancy, 1949
Springtime for Henry, New York, 1951
Glad Tidings, Lyceum, New York, 1951
Affairs of the State, Royale, New York, 1950
The Frogs of Spring, New York, 1953
Lunatics and Lovers, New York, 1954
Ever Since Paradise, 1957
Dark Corners, 1964
16 performances at the Bucks County Playhouse, including premiere season's opener Springtime for Henry in 1939
Haila Stoddard and Edward Everett Horton in Springtime for Henry
Springtime for Henry
Opening of the Bucks County Playhouse
Jack Kirkland, John Barton, Mrs. Kirkland and Daughter, Robin
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