The accident happened on Opening Night, before a full house. It was in the Third Act, when Mrs. Danvers enters from stage right for a bit of business, as they say in show business. She was going to plump up the cushions and dust the curtains in that room, that sacred shrine, where the late Mrs. de Winter, known far and wide as Rebecca, had lived. The gestures that Mrs. Danvers would use would show an awe of her late employer, an awe verging on adoration.
But Mrs. Danvers never got to make those gestures. As she swept across the stage to open a window at lower stage left, she simply disappeared from view. We all heard the scream. Those in the audience seated nearest the stage saw that she had fallen through the stage trapdoor. It was a painful but minor injury, and it certainly would not keep Grace Upshaw from performing during the play’s two-week run. A slightly sprained ankle, the injury was worth an admiring “show must go on” mention in Variety magazine!