Pine Brook Country Club began when Benjamin Plotkin purchased Pinewood Lake and the surrounding countryside on Mischa Hill in the historic village of Nichols, Connecticut. Plotkin built an auditorium with a revolving stage and forty rustic cabins and incorporated as the Pine Brook Country Club in 1930. Plotkin's dream was to market the rural lakeside club as a summer resort for people to stay and enjoy theatrical productions. The Club remained in existence until major fighting broke out in Europe in the mid-1940s and was reorganized as a private lake association in 1944.

Pine Brook is best known for having been the 1936 summer rehearsal headquarters of the most important experiment in the history of American Theatre. The Group Theatre (New York) was formed in New York City in 1931 by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg and was made up of actors, directors, playwrights and producers. The Group produced works by the most important American playwrights of the time on real life subject matter which changed

stage and film forever.
Including and in addition to the Group Theatre, some of the artists who are known to have spent the summer at Pine Brook at one time or another were: Stella Adler, Marc Blitzstein, Roman Bohnen, Phoebe Brand, Morris Carnovsky, Lee J. Cobb, Imogene Coca, Howard Da Silva, Frances Farmer, John Garfield, Betty Garrett, Michael Gordon (film director), Will Geer, Paul Green (playwright), Judy Holliday, Elia Kazan, Canada Lee, Lotte Lenya, Robert Lewis (actor), Sanford Meisner, Harry Morgan, Clifford Odets, Luise Rainer, John Randolph (actor), Jerome Robbins, Irwin Shaw, Anna Sokolow, Ralph Steiner, Paul Strand, Franchot Tone, and Kurt Weill.
During the summer of 1936, Paul Green, Cheryl Crawford, Kurt Weill and Weill's wife Lotte Lenya rented an old house at 277 Trumbull Avenue located two miles from Pine Brook in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was here that Green and Weill wrote the screenplay and music for the controversial Broadway play Johnny Johnson (musical), which was titled after the most frequently occurring name on the American casualty list of World War I. It was also during this time that Lotte Lenya had her first American love affair with Paul Green.
In 1944 Pine Brook went into receivership and was sold, reorganized and chartered as the Pinewood Lake Association, a private lake association.

  • 1. [Nichols, Connecticut] Nichols, a historic village in southeastern Trumbull on the Gold Coast (Connecticut) of Fairfield County, was named after the family who maintained a large farm in its center for almost 300 years. The Nichols Farms Historic District, which encompasses part of the village, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2. [Johnny Johnson (musical)] Johnny Johnson is a musical with a book and lyrics by Paul Green and music by Kurt Weill.
    Based on Jaroslav Hašek's satiric novel The Good Soldier Švejk, the musical focuses on a naive and idealistic young man who, despite his pacifist views, leaves his sweetheart Minny Belle Tompkins to fight in Europe in World War
  • 3. [Cheryl Crawford] Cheryl Crawford (September 24, 1902 – October 7, 1986) was an American theatre producer and director.
    Born in Akron, Ohio, Crawford majored in drama at Smith College. Following graduation, she moved to New York City and enrolled at the Theatre Guild's school. By then she knew that she didn't want to pursue an acting career, but
  • 4. [Phoebe Brand] Phoebe Brand (November 27, 1907 – July 3, 2004) was an American actress.
    Brand was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1907 and raised in the nearby town of Ilion. Her father worked for Remington Typewriter Company as a mechanical engineer.
  • 5. [Group Theatre (New York)] The Group Theatre was a New York City theatre collective formed in 1931 by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg. It was intended as a base for the kind of theatre they and their colleagues believed in—a forceful, naturalistic and highly disciplined artistry. They were pioneers of what would become an "American acting technique",
  • 6. [Pinewood Lake] Pinewood Lake is a natural lake located northwest of 330 feet (100 m) tall Mischa Hill in the Nichols Farms Historic District section of Trumbull, Connecticut.
  • 7. [Harold Clurman] Harold Edgar Clurman (September 18, 1901 – September 9, 1980) was an American theatre director and drama critic, "one of the most influential in the United States". He was most notable as one of the three founders of the New York City's Group Theatre (1931–1941). He directed more than 40 plays in his career and,
  • 8. [Robert Lewis (director)] Robert Lewis (March 16, 1909 – November 23, 1997) was an American actor, director, teacher, author and founder of the influential Actors Studio in New York in 1947.
  • 9. [Revolving stage] A revolving stage is a mechanically controlled platform within a theatre that can be rotated in order to speed up the changing of a scene within a show. A fully revolving set was an innovation constructed by the hydraulics engineer Tommaso Francini for an elaborately produced pageant, Le ballet de la délivrance de Renaud, which was presented for Marie de Medici in January 1617 at the Palais du Louvre and noted with admiration by contemporaries.
  • 10. [Morris Carnovsky] Morris Carnovsky (September 5, 1897 – September 1, 1992) was an American stage and film actor. He was one of the founders of the Group Theatre (1931-1940) in New York City and had a thriving acting career both on Broadway and in films until, in the early 1950s, professional colleagues told the House Un-American Activities
  • 11. [Paul Green (playwright)] Paul Eliot Green (March 17, 1894 – May 4, 1981) was an American playwright best known for his depictions of life in North Carolina during the first decades of the twentieth century. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 1927 play, In Abraham's Bosom. It was also included in Burns Mantle's The Best Plays of 1926-1927.
  • 12. [Howard Da Silva] Howard Da Silva (May 4, 1909 – February 16, 1986) was a versatile American actor, director and musical performer on stage, film, television and radio. He was cast in dozens of productions on the New York stage, appeared in more than two dozen television programs, and acted in more than fifty feature films. Adept at
  • 13. [Clifford Odets] Clifford Odets (July 18, 1906 – August 14, 1963) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and director. Odets was widely seen as successor to Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill as O'Neill began to retire from Broadway's commercial pressures and increasing critical opprobrium in the mid-1930s. From early 1935 on, Odets' socially relevant dramas proved extremely influential,
  • 14. [Will Geer] William Aughe Ghere, known as Will Geer (March 9, 1902 – April 22, 1978), was an American actor and social activist, known for his portrayal of Grandpa Zebulon Tyler Walton in the 1970s TV series The Waltons.
  • 15. [Michael Gordon (film director)] Michael Gordon (born Irving Kunin Gordon; September 6, 1909 – April 29, 1993) was an American stage actor and stage and film director.
  • 16. [Irwin Shaw] Irwin Shaw (February 27, 1913 – May 16, 1984) was a prolific American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for two of his novels: The Young Lions (1948), about the fate of three soldiers during World War II, made into a
  • 17. [Roman Bohnen] Roman Bohnen (November 24, 1901 – February 24, 1949) was an American stage and film actor.
  • 18. [Ralph Steiner] Ralph Steiner (February 8, 1899 – July 13, 1986) was an American photographer, pioneer documentarian and a key figure among avant-garde filmmakers in the 1930s.
  • 19. [Canada Lee] Canada Lee (March 3, 1907 – May 9, 1952) was an American actor who pioneered roles for African Americans. After careers as a jockey, boxer and musician, he became an actor in the Federal Theatre Project and stage productions by Orson Welles. A champion of civil rights in the 1930s and 1940s, he was blacklisted
  • 20. [Frances Farmer] Frances Elena Farmer (September 19, 1913 – August 1, 1970) was an American actress and television host. She is perhaps better known for sensationalized accounts of her life, especially her involuntary commitment to a mental hospital. Farmer was the subject of two films, one television special, three books, and numerous songs and magazine articles.
  • 21. [Lee J. Cobb] Lee J. Cobb (December 8, 1911 – February 11, 1976) was an American actor. He is best known for his performances in 12 Angry Men (1957), On the Waterfront (1954), and one of his last films, The Exorcist (1973). He also played the role of Willy Loman in the original Broadway production of Arthur Miller's
  • 22. [John Garfield] John Garfield (March 4, 1913 – May 21, 1952) was an American actor adept at playing brooding, rebellious, working-class characters. He grew up in poverty in Depression-era New York City and in the early 1930s became an important member of the Group Theater. In 1937, he moved to Hollywood, eventually becoming one of Warner Bros.'
  • 23. [Lee Strasberg] Lee Strasberg (born Israel Strassberg; November 17, 1901 – February 17, 1982) was an American actor, director and acting teacher born in a part of Galicia, Austrian Poland in what is now Ukraine. He co-founded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical
  • 24. [Sanford Meisner] Sanford Meisner (August 31, 1905 – February 2, 1997), also known as Sandy, was an American actor and acting teacher who developed an approach to acting instruction that is now known as the Meisner technique. While Meisner was exposed to method acting at the Group Theatre, his approach differed markedly in that he, like Konstantin
  • 25. [Harry Morgan] Harry Morgan (born Harry Bratsberg, often spelled Harry Bratsburg; April 10, 1915 – December 7, 2011) was a prolific American actor and director whose television and film career spanned six decades. Morgan's major roles included Pete Porter in both December Bride (1954–1959) and Pete and Gladys (1960–1962); Officer Bill Gannon on Dragnet (1967–1970); Amos Coogan
  • 26. [Stella Adler] Stella Adler (February 10, 1901 – December 21, 1992) was an American actress and acclaimed acting teacher. She founded the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City and Los Angeles with long-time protégée Joanne Linville, who continues to teach Adler's technique. Her grandson Tom Oppenheim now runs the school in New York City, which has produced alumni such as Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Elaine Stritch, Kate Mulgrew, Kipp Hamilton, and Jenny Lumet.
  • 27. [Luise Rainer] Luise Rainer (12 January 1910 – 30 December 2014) was a German and American film actress. She was the first actor to win multiple Academy Awards and the first person to win them consecutively. At the time of her death, she was the longest-lived individual ever to have received an Academy Award.
  • 28. [Lotte Lenya] Lotte Lenya (18 October 1898 – 27 November 1981) was an Austrian singer, diseuse, and actress, long based in the United States. In the German-speaking and classical music world she is best remembered for her performances of the songs of her husband, Kurt Weill. In English-language cinema, she was nominated for an Academy Award for
  • 29. [Elia Kazan] Elia Kazan (born Elias Kazantzoglou, September 7, 1909 – September 28, 2003) was an American director, producer, writer and actor, described by The New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history".
  • 30. [John Randolph (actor)] Emanuel Hirsch Cohen, better known by the stage name John Randolph, (June 1, 1915 – February 24, 2004) was an American film, television and stage actor.
  • 31. [Anna Sokolow] Anna Sokolow (February 9, 1910, Hartford, Connecticut – March 29, 2000 in Manhattan, New York City was an American dancer and choreographer. She was also a co-founder of the Actors Studio.
  • 32. [Paul Strand] Paul Strand (October 16, 1890 – March 31, 1976) was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century. His diverse body of work, spanning six decades, covers numerous genres and subjects throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
  • 33. [Marc Blitzstein] Marcus Samuel Blitzstein, known as Marc Blitzstein (March 2, 1905 – January 22, 1964), was an American composer, lyricist, and librettist. He won national attention in 1937 when his pro-union musical The Cradle Will Rock, directed by Orson Welles, was shut down by the Works Progress Administration. He is known for The Cradle Will Rock
  • 34. [Franchot Tone] Franchot Tone (February 27, 1905 – September 18, 1968) was an American stage, film, and television actor, star of many successful films and television series throughout his career, such as Bonanza, Wagon Train, The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Lives of a Bengal Lancer. He is perhaps best known for his role as Midshipman Roger Byam in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), starring alongside Clark Gable and Charles Laughton.
  • 35. [Betty Garrett] Betty Garrett (May 23, 1919 – February 12, 2011) was an American actress, comedienne, singer and dancer who originally performed on Broadway before being signed to a film contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. While there, she appeared in several musical films before returning to Broadway and making guest appearances on several television series.
  • 36. [Theatrical producer] A theatrical producer is a person who oversees all aspects of mounting a theatre production. The producer manages the overall financial and managerial functions of a production or venue, raises or provides financial backing, and hires personnel for creative positions (writer, director, designers, composer, choreographer—and in some cases, performers).
  • 37. [Imogene Coca] Imogene Coca (November 18, 1908 – June 2, 2001) was an American comic actress best known for her role opposite Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows.
    She possessed a rubbery face capable of the broadest expressions — Life magazine compared her to Beatrice Lillie and Charlie Chaplin, and described her characterizations as taking "people or
  • 38. [Hill station] A hill station is a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The term was used mostly in colonial Asia, but also in Africa (albeit rarely), for towns founded by European colonial rulers as refuges from the summer heat, up where temperatures are cooler. In the Indian context most hill stations are at an altitude of approximately 1,000 to 2,500 metres (3,500 to 7,500 feet); very few are outside this range.
  • 39. [Kurt Weill] Kurt Julian Weill (German: [vaɪl]; March 2, 1900 – April 3, 1950) was a German composer, active from the 1920s in his native country, and in his later years in the United States. He was a leading composer for the stage who was best known for his fruitful collaborations with Bertolt Brecht. With Brecht, he
  • 40. [Affair] An affair is a sexual relationship, romantic friendship, or passionate attachment between two people without the other spouse knowing.
  • 41. [Judy Holliday] Judy Holliday (June 21, 1921 – June 7, 1965) was an American actress, comedian and singer.
    She began her career as part of a nightclub act before working in Broadway plays and musicals. Her success in the 1946 stage production of Born Yesterday as "Billie Dawn" led to her being cast in the 1950 film version
  • 42. [Jerome Robbins] Jerome Robbins (October 11, 1918 – July 29, 1998), was an American theater producer, director, and dance choreographer known primarily for Broadway Theater and Ballet/Dance, but who also occasionally directed films and directed/produced for television. His work ranged from classical ballet to contemporary musical theater. Among the numerous stage productions he worked on were On
  • 43. [Theatre director] A theatre director or stage director is a director/instructor in the theatre field who oversees and orchestrates the mounting of a theatre production (a play, an opera, a musical, or a devised piece of work) by unifying various endeavours and aspects of production. The director's function is to ensure the quality and completeness of theatre
  • 44. [Log cabin] A log cabin is a dwelling constructed of logs, especially a less finished or architecturally sophisticated structure. Log cabins have an ancient history in Europe, and in America are often associated with first generation home building by settlers.
  • 45. [Auditorium] An auditorium is a room built to enable an audience to hear and watch performances at venues such as theatres. For movie theatres, the number of auditoriums is expressed as the number of screens.
  • 46. [Bridgeport, Connecticut] Bridgeport is the most populous city in the state of Connecticut. Located in Fairfield County on the Pequonnock River and Long Island Sound, the city had a population of 144,229 in the 2010 United States Census and is the core of the Greater Bridgeport area.
  • 47. [Playwright] A playwright, also known as a dramatist, is a person who writes dramatic plays.
  • 48. [Actor] An actor (actress is sometimes used for females; see § Terminology) is a person portraying a character in a dramatic or comic production; he or she performs in film, television, theatre, radio, commercials or music videos. Actor, ὑποκριτής (hypokrites), literally means "one who interprets"; an actor, then, is one who interprets a dramatic character. Method
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