Variety (December 1907)

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12 VARIETY NEW YORK. "The week before Christmas" is so no- toriously a theatrical black mark that the attendance is never noticed, although a fair sized crowd was at the New York Monday evening to see Louis Mann (New Acts). Besides Mr. Mann's drawing pow- ers, Josephine Cohan and Fred Niblo were also on the bill, Miss Cohan appearing in a new sketch, which is under New Acts, along with Jay W. Winton, a foreign ventriloquist. The show did not play extra well, but it was a "hard" audience, one of the worst in the New York for some time, and that house has held some "corkers" since "Ad- vanced Vaudeville" made its stand there. Fred Niblo was entitled to the record for the evening. Following Louis Mann., who had occupied the stage for forty min- utes, with about one-half the time full of laughs, Mr. Niblo had to struggle against the handicap in his position, one number before tne closing, with a mono- logue. Sixteen minutes Mr. Niblo remained on the stage, and did remarkably. The mid- dle section of his talk is a rapid transit routine of comment on the countries and cities visited in his recent tour of the world, short snappy points being made against each, .Mr. Niblo commencing at England and coming back home, with some familiar dialogue to close. The opening was a short little verse, aptly pointed, and it preceded the "slow-train-cow" jokes, but the latter made the New York patrons laugh, the uncontrovertible evi- dence of how seldom they attend variety performances. The Okabe Family, Japanese acrobats, returned for their pretty and skillful acro- batics. It is a fine act, ranking any of the Japanese numbers of the same style. One of the boys is a handsome looking lad, a singular occurrence for an Oriental. He could be a model for an artist. The settings and costuming combine to add to its effectiveness, and it was one of the strongest cards on the program. The Cottrell-Powell Troupe with two magnificent horses gave their picturesque circus act for the last number of the bill, and the Walthour Troupe of bicyclists opened, an unenviable position here, but one in which they did well. Johnny Johns, "The Boy from Dixie," mixed up some parodies with talk, and took several encores upon slight pretext. Mr. Johns strives too hard. He is so anxious his efforts seem mechanical, and there is a great deal of "patriotic" stuff mingled throughout. A repeat of the success before secured in the same house was recorded by Bar- on's Burlesque Menagerie. The "cat race" and the other telling details all brought laughs in numbers. Another newcomer at the New York L« Max Schmidt, who now leads the or- chestra. It seems like a new organization. Himc. A bill of particulars was filed this week in the suit brought by W. S. Cleveland against John J. Ryan for alleged unpaid commissions for the latter's Cleveland theatre. The matter will probably come to trial during the February term of the Supreme Court. Ryan was served during his presence in the city a few months ago with the complaint in the case. The amount demanded is $2,300. COLONIAL. Robert Hilliard and his sketch, "As a Man Sows," are rather familiar in this vicinity to form the feature of one of Mr. Williams' principal houses. He is bno>*Hl up bv a fairlv stnmjr bill, but his name blazoned in the Broadway electrics does not promise any novelty within. The show is a bit short on comedy, particu- larly in the early half, where Collins and Hart alone appeal to the sense of humor. Stuart Barnes, of course, is classed as a comedy act, but his quiet methods could scarcely be called upon to make up for the lack of laughing value. Under these circumstances Harry Tate's "Motoring," late on the bill, found the audience in a splendid mood for its pur- pose. The burlesque sketch has been on this side more than two years now, and in its travels has spent a goodly propor- tion of its time in the Metropolitan Dis- trict, but it is far from played out. The Colonial audience laughed as heartily at the ridiculous urchin and at Harry Stevens' screaming comedy as when the little com- pany first showed over here. During its long stay the sketch has undergone prac- tically no change and that it is still fresh and enjoyable is a complete test of its universal appeal. Waterbury Brothers and Tenney opened the intermission and scored emphatically with their comedy musical turn. The comedian is amusing without seeming ef- fort, and this appearance of unconscious- ness is not the least element of his humor. The straight pair leave him pretty much to himself in his funni- ments, an arrangement that gives the number an easy running appearance with- out any straining after or forcing of ef- fect. Stuart Barnes has given up a great deal of his talk in favor of musical num- bers. He now sings four, finishing with "Aren't You the Girl I Met at Snerry's?" skillfully worked up with a girl in one of the stage boxes. It makes an excellent close. What talk there is is concise and smoothly delivered. The points register without being emphasized unduly. The Romany OiK'ratic Company wer° placed rather early on the bill, appearing No. 3', in which place they were given an enthusiastic reception. There are several brilliant 6oprano voices in the organiza- tion, and the vocal strength of the com- pany is as apparent in the ensemble num- bers as in the solos. There are no dead minutes in the act, and the finish in "one" is an entertaining feature. The Empire City Quartet are giving their undivided attention to amusing their audiences this week, having for the time being no special songs to exploit. Harry Cooper's funniments kept the laughter going, and although making the third suc- cessive comedy number they did exceed- ingly well. Cooper got an extra laugh for good measure by appearing in the sol- emn parade of the Kitabanzai Troupe, which closed the show. The latter or- ganization has not changed its routine, the pedal juggling being the feature. The boy who does the top mounting at the finish is growing rather heavy looking for this purpose. The Sandwinas (New Acts) opened, followed by Collins and Brown. Rush. 125TH STREET. There must have been troublesome times this week for whoever has the plac- ing together of the bills at the 125th Street house. Of the nine acts employed seven require full stage without any clos- ing in "one," leaving only two acts in that position to fill the gaps. With the Wotpert Trio obliged to open in "one" and a short film of pictures injected, the management was able to run the program off without a hitch. McMahon and Chappelle and their "l*ullman Porter Maids" were the head- line attraction, and in a late position were the hit of the bill. McMahon and Chappelle were a solid hit by themselves. It is doubtful if there is another team in the busines who could afford an audi- ence an equal amount of entertainment with a quiet line of talk in street dress. Tim McMahon has a peculiar delivery that brings the points out sharply, while Miss Chappelle looks exceedingly well, and works to the comedian beautifully. The eight girls for neat dressing and training would be hard to beat. Many a "girl act" producer would benefit by taking a glance or two at the "Pullman Porter Maids" in action. There is very little preference between the two sketches on the program. Harry Corson Clarke and Company in "Strat- egy" occupied an early position on the bill and did fairly. The players are su- perior to the sketch by a long way, but they manage to make a silly, impossible idea almost entertaining. Margaret Dale Owen contributes the best work to the playlet. She is a handsome woman with a low, clear voice, both odd and pleasant. Harry Corson Clarke has a poor part, but plays it about as well as anyone could. Davenport Marshall is suitable in a small role. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner Crane in "Am I Your Wife?" have a sketch about on a par with the other, only it hasn't the sav- ing grace of embodying a new idea. It is practically the same as in Wilbur and Mansfield's 4, No. 11 Prospect Street." Mr. Crane makes the two characters distinc- tive, and that is about the best to be said. Will Rogers always contributes fifteen minutes of real enjoyment. His rope work is well done and liked. The audi- ence took to Mr. Rogers just as quickly as they did to his lassoing. Macart's Monkeys were moved from fourth position to opening the show be- cause of the shortage of acts in one. The "monks" are natural comedians. One lively little fellow kept the house in roars with his quaint antics. A novel trick is shown at the finish. One of the monkeys picks up a small perfectly built two- wheeled safety bicycle, mounts and rides it around the stage several times. It is the first time the trick has been seen, and it was heartily applauded. The Clarence Sisters did nicely with their dancing specialty. They did so well with the only singing number "Miss Kil- larney" that it would probably be advis- able to use at least one more song. Billy Clifford seems to be an established Harlem favorite, and The Wotpert Trio make a good impression. Delmore and Lee closed the show. Dash. HAMMERSTEIN'S. The show at Hammerstein's this week is full of features, headed by William Gould and Valeska Suratt (New Acts). The top-liners are drawing both men and women in the house, while the Burns- Moir "fight pictures," added in haste to the bill on Monday, prove a magnet for the Broadway sporting crowd, filling the theatre in the worst week of the year. William Courtleigh and his company in "Peaches" are not to be overlooked among the attractive numbers. The company re- mains the same, and the Geo. V. Hobart slangy sketch, one of the best comedy pieces of the season, has been improved until now it is nearly faultless. With the players well in their parts, all are giving a smooth running performance, and it brought several curtain calls Tuesday evening. For Lily Lena's first appearance in Hammerstein's she is doing exceptionally well for her position, way down on the program. Miss Lena grows on one; the more often seen the better liked, and were she to remain on this side for a long time the Englishwoman would rival any of her sister countrywomen for popu- larity. This week Miss I>ena is singing two new songs, "She Looks Nice at Night" and "Winnie Began to Wonder." The final verse of "Winnie" would make anyone wonder how many houses it could be sung in over here. Closing with "And the Answer Was" Miss Lena had no cause for worry. Another foreign act which undoubtedly made a hit Tuesdav evening was Lcp Trombettas, purely through the man's comedy efforts. The act on its merits contains nothing, but the Hammerstein audience likes Trombetta's comedy im- mensely. Corinne tppeared "Number .'{." following a singing and dancing turn; also the musical act of Frederick Brothers and Burns. Miss Corinne dots some singing, guitar playing and costume changing, closing her act in velvet knickerbockers. The first song died more peacefully than any song ever heard on the stage, but thereafter the house applauded the singer, but it would be difficult to hazard whether in sincerity or in jest. The "Six English Rockers" repeated the novelty "girl act" with Nellie Floredc still in the lead, singing two verses alone in "one" before the last change, which might be cut to a shorter time, the act going quite well, and the Damm Brothers brought both admiration and plaudits with their acrobatics to close. It's not often as heavily built a man as the be- whiskered brother can turn handsprings and somersaults and si ill retain his poise. Frederick Brothers and Burns gave their enjoyable musical number early, and Dill and Ward opened the show in songs and dances, featuring Miss Ward's "dia- mond dress," a pink affair. Sime. Arthur II. Klierns is not ill, as reported. He is at his home in Chicago this week. Harry Ward and Ralph Edwards will soon be seen in a new act. The manager of the Wintergarten, Ber- lin, cabled the Marinelli New York office the other day he wanted a juggling act recently reviewed in Vauikty, a copy of which, containing the criticism, had just reached him. Charles Bornhaupt, the Marinelli agent, did not comply, having under engagement three American acts of the same character for future exporta- tion.