Variety (Apr 1942)

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Wedne9dax, April 22, 194a LEGItlMAtB SI Barn Drama Despite War iCoBtlnati tron mi* i menUi ,are already plaonliiK to ar- range attendaBW In larger' parties, doubling up In each car to sav« mileage. Although the gasoline situ- ation Is not yet acute, It la expected to become more serious, ao the lame tactics may be tried to meet it. Question of an extra hour of day- light saving, in addition to the hour advancement under the present War Time, is admittedly vital In some locations, like the St trouis Muny Opera; or the Louisville amt>hithe- etre, where performances are given -outdoors, an extra hour of daylight would alittost certainly bring an Im- mediate cancellation of further shows. However, the results would probably not be as serious at loca- tions where performances are given in regulation indoor theatres. N* Freeedent en War Tastes Major uncertainty is the matter of public psychology, toward summer entertainment in war time. There ia no definite precedent to serve as possible indication. Last summer's strawhat busineBS was the most ■profitable on record, but that was before the U. S. had entered the war and when the public mood was ' therefore less serious. First World War oilers no hint of probabilities, as there were no strawbats as such at that time. Number of theatres, located near defense industrial centers, arc ex- pected to draw attendance from that source, but -others far from large communities will probably be harder hit. Some of the latter, such as the venerable Lakewood theatre, Skow- hegan. Me., may not even attempt a season. Others are planning short trial schedules, ' Indication of the lively intei-est of tiie hay impresarios In the coming season was the ilttendance and pro- vocative discussions at last week's first convention of the Summer Stock Managers Assa, at the Algonquin hotel, N. Y. Nearly SO strawhat managcmenta were represented at the two-day session, whU* about 100 people attended the dinner which closed the meeting Thursday nlsht (18). 'During Ihe sessions the various SSMA committees made reports on their work over the past winter. Among the things accomplidied were adjustments In Oie Equity stock reg- ulations, various concessions by agents regarding lowered guarantees for guest stars and managerial con- sultation In casting cit touring units, and standard arrangements With play agents regarding stod rights to plays. Edith Gordon, play agent who op- erated, the Sayvllla (U.) playhouse last summer with Walter Drey, re- vealed that in anticipation 'of-even more profitable business Oils season she has bought the spot outright In- stead of leasing It as before. Milton Stiefel, SSMA president and veteran operator of the Ivoryton (Conn.) playhouse, said ha expects business for the coming summer to be down about 10%, but declared he intends carrying on, regardless of what hap- pens. Ctortle lAwrenoe^a Bam Gertrude Lawrence, guest of honor at the Thursday dinner, disclosed be- fore leaving for her performance in •Lacbr in the Dark,' at the Alvln the- atre, N. that she wHl be actively associated with Arthur Sircom this summer In the management of the Cape playhouse, Dennis, Mass., in the absence of her husband, Richard Aldrich, who is in the navy. Richard Osborne, who operates the Greenwood playhouse, Peak's Island, Me., announced that he is the only strawhatter who has no the or gaso- line worries this summer. He ex- plained that patrons reach the thea- tre by. excursion boat from Portland Instead of by motor, as at most sum- mer spots.' (See roster on iacing page) GUILD PRESSING ATSEXPANSION Theatre Guild and the American Theatre Society are further expand- ing their subscriptions out of town, where they uow have lists in IB stands. Move, while part of a gen- eral plan, was believed to have gathered impetus by the success of Guild shows on the road, tiiat out- fit's plays faring much better out of town this season than on Broadway, particularly In subscription cities. Fact that two or three Guild shows were getting exceptional notices and grosses oft Broadway only to be knocked oft by New York critics. Is beUeved to be the main reason why 'Without Love' Is behi^ kept out of town. Katharine Hepburn starrer l)y Philip Barry is selling out in Bos- ton currently. A sul>scription campaign drive is being made In St Louis. Others that will probably be included are Cleve- land, Indianapolis, St Paul and .Min- neapolis. 'Spring' Legiter to Play 50% Navy ReUef Benefit Half the gross for the May 5 per- formance of Spring Again,' at the Playhouse, N. Y, will be donated to .the.^Navy Relief Fund .by Guthrie McCUntlc, producer of the play, and William A. Brady, owner of the theatre. It will be the first of a number of similar such benefits by Broadway shows. 'Cinderella' for Nabes? .Revival of 'A Kiss for Cinderella,' which closed at the Music Box, N. Y., Saturday (18), after a mild run, may play N. Y. nabe theatres, but Luise Ralner, who made her U. S. stage . debut In the Barrle comedy, Is hesl- wht She regards the Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Windsor, Bronx, as strange places. Houses., are summer pop leglters booked by J. J. Leventhal, who calls his 'string' the Atlantic Coast Cir- cuit NATIONAL, D.C., SOLD HaroBS Helman—Leonard E. Berg- man Continue Its Management The National theatre, Washington, which was ordered sold for the benefit of the A. L. Erlanger cstat«> has been purchased but the same management wHI continue to oper- ate the house. Marcus Heiman and Leoneird E. Bergman head a corpora- tion which has been handling the National and a new. lease was ob- tained said for a term of 10 years. Eddie Plohm contlnfles as house manager. Purchaser of the property was not definitely Identified, but Is said to be the Munsey Trust Co. National was principally owned- by Erlanger's with the estate of Harry Rapley, lat- ter formerly having operated the theatre. NHW. STRAWHAT HAS TKE, UNION 1K0UBLES MUwaukee, AprU 21. With warthne restrictions on tires, the Port Players, who have operated successfully for several summers in suburban Port Washington, werje im- pelled to seek a new location this year in' the Gold Coast village of Shorewood, within the greater Mil- waukee metropollten area. Sched- uled to open June 24 for 11 weeks, but union troubles with which they didn't have to reckon in the hinter- land, have bobbed up to bother them. The Port Players propose to ap- pear in the Shorewood Auditorium under the sponsorship of the Shore- wood board of ^education, and be- lieve that as ah 'ediictalonU proj^ ect' they should not be hampered by imion labor regulations. Stage- hands and musicians unions, how- ever, assert that the sponsorship Is just a gag to dodge overhead expense entailed by the employment of imion men and to obtain an unfair advan- tage over another summer stock project planned for the Pabst the- atre downtown. Shows in Rehearsal Unele Barry'—Bernard (Cliil) Hayman, Ijennie Hatton. •Faneh and Jnlla' ('A Lady For a Night')—Guthrie Mc- CUntlc 'AH's Fair'—Dwight Deere Wl- man, Richard Rogers, Richard Kollmar. The Walking Gentleman' — Albert Lewis, Marion Gering. 'The Strings, My Lord, Are False'—Edward Choate. Alexan- der Kirkland. The Life of BcUly'—Harald Bromley, Day Tuttle. 'Dream Eeho'—^Ben Levlnson. Actors Fond Meeting Annual meeting of the Actors Fund will be held at the Lyceum, N. Y., May 8, et which time officers will be named and '^^ trustees wiU l>e elected for a three-year term. It will be an open meeting, to which William Lyon Phelps, of Yale, and Bob Davis are among those especially invited to attend. Cochran s Revue Socko in Tiyout; Tops Leigh Mark Lo'ndon, April 0. Charles B. Cocnran, who practical- ly retired from, show biz when war was declared, is back with a wham. His first show, 'Big Top,' it Is re- ported by those who were, at the Liverpool opening, is one of the l>est things he has done. First week at Court theatre, where it's in for two weeks, it broke the house record with $12,000, beating the previous record of Vivien Leigh in Shaw's 'Doctor's Dilemma' by $800. Show goes to Manchester for three weeks, with advance sales al- ready exceeding $28,000. It then goes to Leeds for one week, where house is already sold out Trouble of getting theatre in West End has now been overcome, with Cochran having closed deal with Jack Hylton, who has lease of His Majesty's theatre with Assdciated Theatre Properties, for show to open there week of May 4, with Hyltoa's "Lady Behave' closing end' of April after year's run. Tag line on bills will read: 'Jack Hylton presents Charles B. Cochran's revue .' This is first time a CB.C. show has been presented in West End by anyone but the veteran show- man himself. Talent Unions Fight Amendment To N. Y. Employment Agency Law; Equity Proposes Own Casting Office Eqnhy May Revise Roles To Force Managers to Go Throogh With Complamts As a result of the Mary Boland In- cident Equity proposes to change Its regulations iii connection with cases where charges are preferred against Its- members. If the rules are revised, once a manager formally makes complaint of cohtract breach or other Irregularity, he wHl not be permitted to withdraw the charges, as the Guild.did in the matter of Miss Boland. It Is felt that a lot of time and detaU which such cas^s enteil would thus be avoided. Miss Bbland's suspension was lifted last week when she promptly rentitted a $500 fine' imposed by Equity for disobeying 'Its rules. Guild, in withdrawing charges against her, also voided' a claim of $4,000 in damages, but had It origin- ally demanded two weeks' salary ($2,000) the sum could have been collected from the actress. Explained that has been Equity's policy right .along. 'When Miss Boland was temporar- ily suspended pending hearing the charges, tl}e other talent unions did likewise and much correspondence was required. After the Guild with- drew it meant that the other imlons had fo~Be" informeiS, and;- "what with statements put forth by the actress plus those from feUow-players In The Rivals,' a mass of papers, piled up on the case. There is Uttle dol?ut that Miss Bo- land was ill when she walked out on 'The Rivals' In Chicago, despite the general opinion of those In the company .that her disaffection came as the result of the local critics fa- voring Bobby Clark's performance over hers, McClintic's Dno Guthrie McClintic has one play In rehearsal and another which is like- ly to be presented before the end of the season. Latter is an anti- Na2i play, current in London as 'School For Slavery,' which has been renamed to 'Dreamers and Dreamers,' authored by Lajos Biro. Due at Henry ■ Miller's, N. Y., May' 11, 'Punch and Julla,'/starring Jane Cowl. It was formeny called 'A Lady For a Nighf also "Treat Her Gently'. Katharine Cornell, who is Mrs. McClintic, has been' on duty at the Stege Door Canteen, and in addition, will appear in "Candida' at the Shubert, across the street, playing four matinees next week as benefits for the Army and Navy re- lief funds, starting Monday (27). MacMahons to Tour Barns Horace MacMahon and Louise Campbell (Mrs. MacMahon), legtt- film actors, will tour the strawhat theatres this summer. Where suitable parts are available they will appear together. Both are now east, Miss Campbell currently, being featured in 'Guest in the House,' Plymouth, N. Y. Sldiiner, Hanunond Nonimated for Vf ^* Equity Votes June 5 ' Cornelia Otis Skinner and Ruth. Hammond are the ^nominees on the regular ticket for the office of flrsi v.p. of Actors Ekiulty. Election takes place at the annual membership meeting June 6 at the Astor hotel, N. Y. Term Is for one year. Regular nominees for fourth v.p. are Louis Calhern and- Dudley Digges. Selec- tions were -made by the nominating committee and approved yesterday (Tuesday) by the organization's councU. Nominees for the councU, 10 to be elected for terms- of five years, in- clude nka . Chase, Todd Duhcan, Walter Greaza, William Harrlgan, Raymond Massey, Aline MacMahon, Byron McGrath, Theodore Newton, Elliot Nugent "Tom Powers, Donald Randolph, Roy Roberts, H. Ben Smith, Calvin Thomas and Ethel Wilson. Council nominees, one to be elected, for a three-year term, are Jack Sheehan and Joseph Macaulay. For two years, is Alexander Clark. Council nominees, six to be elected, for one year each, are Edith Atwater, Whitner Blssell, fhll Bourrieuf, Alfred Drake^ James '^. La Curto, Brandon Peters, 'Ann Seymour and Edgar Steha TREASURERS pON IN DISPUTE ON ^IZ AGENTS Differences within the Treasurers & Ticket Sellers Union have re- sulted In the meml>ership develop- ing a controversial situation. One argument Is whether two business agents are necessary, a faction say- ing that one Is enough. They are the only paid officers, getting $85 weekly, which is the same figure lK>x'office treasurers get. Jimmy Murphy and Morrie Seaman are the Incumbents, Theatrical Agents & Managers have one business agent J0e~ Grossman, whcr sets the same salaiy. The other question may result In establishing two classes of member- ship, It being contended that the treasurers should, control the ticket men's union, with assistents to haVe secondary standing. How a switoh in the by-laws can be made Is a problem and It Is pohited out that In some jobs a ticket seller may be treasurer In one spot hut may then go into a box office as assistant Nominations for the agents and managers union Indicate that all named will be automatically re- elected June 8, with the exception of vice-presideht, for which post there are two candidates. Saul Abraham was nominated as presi- dent for the fifth term; Oliver M. Sayler and Philip Stevenson .will contest for the vice-presidency; Louis F. Werba will continue as Passage of the Ostertag^London employment agency law amehdment by both branches of the New Yor)c legislature last week Immediately brought a protest from Equity, with the backing of other talent unions, who oppose the measure which; In ' the future, may upset the rules lim- iting the commissions collectable by agents from actors. Equity asked for a hearing before Governor Lehman, who hais the bill for sig- nature. The other groups In the Associated Actors ti Artistes of America are similarly seeking an au- dience in Albany. If the Ulent unions are imsue- cessful in convincing the GAvemor that the bill should not become law. Equity for one proposes establish- ing its own casting department for legit attractions. If the other unions foUow suit it would be a leathal boomerang to agents,- who.are J>frf. lieved to have Inspired the blU. Claimed the legit casters are those who got the nod'of the poUticos while the talent union heads, wer'e looking out of the window. Control Systems At the present time nearly all the telent imions have agent control systems. Equity limits com- missions and the legit casters have been seeking a-basic agreement with Equity for some time. Agents, In. addition to a term pact, wanted Equity to double the commlsh-from 5% to 10%, with the actors' associa- tion- refusing time after time, saying that the ca$tfrs collect more any- how. That hasn't been 'proved def-- tnitely, but one agent was recently given the pitch by Equity for, 'at- tempting* to collect 10%. Agents get 10% from -actors whom they place in pictures, fadlo and VatTeiy fields, with the unions In those jurisdic- tions all having basic agreements fixing maximum commissions, with the talent salesmen. . EquUy considered the'plan qf ts- tabllshlng Its own agency «. number', of time; and "actually-did have- 'a casting depairtment during the ac- tors' strike of 1916. Ofllcen of the association, however,' have felt that if it went Into the agency field then might be Internal dissatisfaction. That Idea Is based on the theory that members ml^t get the idea that feUow players were, favored. Equity declares, however, thai It will net lay down If tha new «n- ployment agency goes on tha statute books and tiiat a fight to keep cojn> missions at 6% will be made. Con- tended that even If the bUl hecomes law, the association has the, rls!ht to- levy the lesser percentege aiod . has legal precedent for Its authority to tell members bow and unddt what - conditions they can woVlt, Artbor Klein, Max Hiirt - Two names have been dropped from Equity's list' of agenttf who are permitted to cast for legit shows. Arthur Klein, who was .grahted - a ' permit several months- ago, failed to pay the required $100 license fee plus the $25 annual 'dues' and tt was revealed that the permit was therefore never ^Issued to him. 'Even if he puts It on the line now there appears some doubt about hinx get- ting the nod from Equity. Max Hart's name Is also, missing, evi- dently for failure to pay the $ZB. fee. He has been virtually Inactive for some time, with few. or no lieglt- placements. Under ' the Ostertae - London . amendment agents will be required to file schedules of fees with tbf Ucense official -supervising «mplQy- - ment agencies. The schedules must be posted for 10 days, to allow for filing of objections, after which the license commissioner can okay or disapprove the amounts of commis- sions. The amendment, carries no maximum stipulations In regard to telent agencies. Representetive Ostertag has for years tried'to ameqd the employ- ment agency law. This Is the first time he has succeeded In having such a bin pass both houses. secretory-treasurer .and Grossman holds over as business agent For the board: Ben Boyar, MOrrls Jacobs, Bill Brennan, 'Victor Samrock (com- pany' managers); ' Nat, Dorfman, Glenn Allvine (press agents); How'- ard Herrick, Forrest Grossman (road managers); Morris Ciystal, Milton Weintraub (Yiddish group).