Luise made her stage debut in 1926 at the Dumont Theatre in Dusseldorf. She later learnt her craft as a young actress touring Germany and Austria with Max Reinhardt’s famous theatre company, appearing in both Berlin and Vienna. It was during this time that she played in the classics; Peer Gynt, Measure for Measure, Six Characters in Search of an Author et al. Luise has always said that her first love was the theatre and played more roles on stage than on film. In a 1937 interview with Modern Screen magazine she says she regrets being in Hollywood, unable to enjoy the ‘legitimate theatre’. It is strange then, that, once her Hollywood career was over Luise did not take to the stage more often. Some of the great roles were hers for the taking but it seems the events of 1935 to 1939, including her marriage to Clifford Odets and her treatment from Louis B. Mayer at MGM had tempered her desire to act. It’s certainly true that Luise was offered various roles which she declined as she had a firm belief in exactly what parts she wanted to take on. She did, however, at least have her fair share of some classic roles, if only briefly, including Saint Joan (a part which Luise played on numerous occasions), ‘Nina’ in Chekhov’s The Seagull and ‘Ellida’ in The Lady from the Sea. In 1952 she made her directorial debut with a production of S. N. Behrman’s Biography which toured in Summer Stock in the US.
This list is split into dramatic performances, then recitals, variety shows and public appearances, in chronological order. Also included are some plays which Luise did not take part in but which were linked to her in some way. For more information, including credits and production details, click on the titles, where available.
Plays and dramatic performances
A Gift for the Bride by Andrew Solt and Stefan Bekeffi (mid-1940s)
Joan of Lorraine by Maxwell Anderson (1947)
Joan of Lorraine by Maxwell Anderson (1948)
The Seagull by Anton Chekhov (1949)
The Lady from the Sea by Henrik Ibsen (1950)
Joan of Lorraine by Maxwell Anderson (1951)
Biography by S. N. Behrman (1952)
Joan of Lorraine by Maxwell Anderson (1954)
Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman (1963)
Judith by Honegger (1970)
Interviews, readings, recitals and other appearances