2017 Annual Exhibition

Ten Chimneys Foundation is proud to welcome guests to our 2017 Exhibition in collaboration with Sarah Siddons Society.

Sarah Siddons Society was founded in 1952 with the goal of promoting acting and the theatre. Each year the Society presents the Sarah Siddons Award to an actor for an outstanding performance in a Chicago theatrical production, though at times the award is given for the actor’s body of work rather than a single performance.

The Sarah Siddons Award has become one of the most prestigious awards given to stage actors. Many of its recipients over the last 60-plus years have had ties to Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne and their friends and associates. Featured in this exhibit are photographs of nineteen of those awardees that demonstrate the lasting impact that the Lunts have had on the stage and by extension cinema. 

We hope you enjoy our 2017 Exhibition of some of our finest actors as you contemplate the important place the Lunts hold in American theatre.

The exhibition is open to the public during regular tour hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

About Sarah Siddons Society

Sixty-three years ago a group of dedicated Chicago theatregoers saw the film All About Eve and decided to create a version of the movie’s fictional Sarah Siddons Society in Chicago. This film, which earned fourteen Oscar nominations, was the only one in Oscar history to receive four acting nominations—two for its leading ladies Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, and two for its supporting players Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter. In the film, Anne Baxter was awarded a statuette of the famous eighteenth-century Shakespearean actress Sarah Siddons. Seeing this tribute, those theatregoers not only created a real Sarah Siddons Society, but in 1952 they presented their first Acting Award—a replica of that same statuette used in All About Eve to Helen Hayes, one of America’s premiere leading ladies.

The list of Sarah Siddons Acting Award recipients reads like a Who’s Who of Great American Actresses. Included in the list of honorees are Beatrice Lillie, Deborah Kerr, Shirley Booth, Geraldine Page, Myrna Loy, Carol Channing, Celeste Holm, Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis, Colleen Dewhurst, Angela Lansbury, Julie Harris, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Julie Andrews, Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera, Patti LuPone, Barbara Cook, Audra McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth and Jessie Mueller.

The Sarah Siddons Society regularly recognizes Chicago’s finest actresses with its Leading Lady Awards including Laurie Metcalf, Lia Mortensen, Paula Scrofano, Kate Fry, Heidi Kettenring, Hollis Resnick, Barbara Robertson, Rondi Reed, Mary Beth Fisher, and E. Faye Butler, to name a few.

Permanent Exhibition

You are invited to explore our permanent exhibition off the Lunt-Fontanne Program Center’s main floor lobby.

Enter a bygone era of drama and sophistication as you step through the façade of the “Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.” You can easily envision Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, “the greatest acting couple in theatre history,” on stage in their lavish Broadway landmark. 

Ah, but perhaps you’d like to direct? Try your hand at the Lunts’ production in the miniature theatres, each with its own unique mechanization. (Alfred adored miniature theatres…you will too.)

Maybe you yearn for the footlights? Well, just step on stage. You will find there is much to know about the artistic legacy of Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. 

Interior of the exhibition

What is Ten Chimneys?

Ten Chimneys, the estate lovingly created by theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, is open to the public as a world-class house museum with a progressive mission to serve the arts.

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