Visiting the Lunts

Any fan of the theatre in the last century knew all about Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, the dazzling couple who defined great acting and who now live on in legend.

Today was a pilgrimage to their home in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin – Ten Chimneys. You may think that might not be a celebrity draw, but for luminaries like Helen Hayes, Noel Coward, Katherine Hepburn, Carol Channing and everyone else you wish you might have ever met, an invitation to Ten Chimneys was highly coveted. Even today, it is quite an event. The visitors’ center was spectacular – they had a ladies’ room that Lynn would surely have approved!

Alfred and Lynn’s contracts always stipulated that they were to have summers off, and this is where they spent them. Alfred was a child in the area, and Lynn was English. Together they built a bit of heaven that spoke strongly to Alfred’s Swedish roots. It was a combination farm and family compound with lots of social spaces. Naturally, one dressed for dinner here!

Alfred and Lynn’s contracts always stipulated that they were to have summers off, and this is where they spent them. Alfred was a child in the area, and Lynn was English. Together they built a bit of heaven that spoke strongly to Alfred’s Swedish roots. It was a combination farm and family compound with lots of social spaces. Naturally, one dressed for dinner here!

The home was gorgeous – passionately curated by two stars who understood lighting, the magic of an intimate setting, and the need for comfort after a busy season. All is all, it is simply gorgeous, and beautifully maintained, with all their things intact. Too bad the interiors could not be photographed, but I could be there still if it were allowed. Every corner was another perfect stage picture!

They were madly in love with each other and with the theatre.  What a wonderful life.

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