Longest Running Plays: #9 The Voice of the Turtle

Not exactly a household name The Voice of the Turtle holds the number 9 spot on the longest running non-musical Broadway plays. The show originally debuted at the Morosco Theatre on December 8th 1943, and ran for a little under four years until transferring to the Hudson Theatre for the last three months of its run in November 1947. The Voice of the Turtle ran for an overall number of 1,557 performances. The play was adapted for a film of the same name in 1947 starring future president Ronald Reagan, along with Elanor Parker, and Eve Arden.

Premiering during the chaos of World War II, The voice of Turtles was a controversial comedy for it’s time. The shows main themes explore the sexual struggles of a young woman named Sally Middleton.

The plot begins with Sally in the final stages of moving into her new apartment in the East Sixties of Manhattan. A small town girl from the town of Joplin, Missouri she has moved to the city for her acting career. Soon after she has settled the Broadway producer she had been seeing leaves her as soon as he feels the relationship becoming to serious. After suffering this heartbreaking loss Sally confides in her promiscuous and worldly friend, Olive Lashbrooke about her insecurities. Sally wonders weather she is the only one who questions the lessons of chasteness she was taught in her youth, or if other women suffer from the same passions as her.

Olive before coming to Sally’s apartment has arranged for her new date, a Sergeant named Bill Paige, to meet her at the apartment. At the last moment Olive receives and offer for a date with another man and decides it to be the better offer. Bill is left stood up and facing even more emotional turmoil than he was already in from a failed love affair years before. The play then leaves Sally to deal with the room less Bill, and the two begin to fall for one another.

The play is a major exploration into the world of desire and sexual needs that was not often seen during the time period. It was well received and now holds a place on a list many shows hope to find themselves on one day.

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