As Mrs. Anna in The King and I, Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri in August of 1956.
In the mid 1950s, she toured in summer stock productions of her old favorite, Bitter Sweet, plus The King and I (both originally written for Gertrude Lawrence, although the former turned out to be too musically demanding for her). Jeanette’s sensitive and warm portrayals of the two roles brought the MacDonald magic to new audiences.
She opened in Bitter Sweet at the Iroquois Amphitheater, Louisville, Kentucky, on July 19, 1954 and performed it in various locations until 1959. Her production of The King and I opened August 20, 1956 at the Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri. While performing there, she collapsed. Officially it was heat prostration, brought on by the ninety-degree heat, vigorous dancing, and the elaborate corseted costumes that the role required. Actually it was a heart seizure. She began limiting her appearances.
In the 1950’s, Jeanette and her husband, Gene Raymond, toured in Ferenc Molnar’s “The Guardsman,” with Herbert Berghof. It opened at the Erlanger Theater, Buffalo, New York on January 25, 1951 and played in 23 northeastern and midwestern cities until June 2. It closed before reaching Broadway.
Jeanette made a few night club appearances. She sang and danced at the Sands and the Sahara in Las Vegas in 1953, the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles in 1954, and again at the Sahara in 1957, but she never felt entirely comfortable in the smoky ambiance.