Flashback Minis: John Kenley and The Kenley Players

Many famous actors started their careers with John Kenley. The theater director was an innovative thinker in the entertainment industry.

Kenley started the Kenley Players, one of the first touring summer stock series, in 1940 and began touring in the 1950s. Mae West, Betty White, Burt Reynolds and William Shatner were among the Kenley Players notable alumni known for their work in Hollywood or on Broadway.

As the tours increased, he began opening theaters across Ohio, with Warren joining the list in 1957. The Kenley Players moved its Warren operations to Akron in 1978. Kenley and his crew toured throughout the Midwest until his retirement in 1995, and he was still interested in theater until his death, at age 103, in 2009.

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